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A superior ranch riding horse has a free flowing stride, of reasonable length in keeping with his conformation, and covering a reasonable amount of ground as if he was going across the pasture to do a task on the ranch in a timely fashion. Horses should not be a runaway, but more like 'we have a lot to get done today'!  The required manoeuvres are walk, jog, and lope (both directions) the extended trot and extended lope at least one direction as well as stop, back and one change of direction. The optional manoeuvres are sidepass, one or more 360 degree turns, change of lead (simple or flying) walk, jog or lope over poles.  Scoring is on a 0-100 point scale, with 70 denoting an average performance. 


The purpose of working the western rail, is to reward a horse that displays;  natural self-carriage; a ground-covering forward moving stride without excessive speed; rewarding balance; cadence; and ease of use. This class will be judged as a rail class, but individuals working off the rail, will receive equal reward. Passing is permissible, as long as the horse maintains proper cadence and rhythm. The overall manners and responsiveness of the horse in a smooth and correct way will be rewarded. Horses are asked to show at a walk, trot and lope in both directions on the rail. Extended walk, extended trot and extended lope are required in at least one direction. Horses will also be required to back. 


This class will be judged on the performance of the horse over obstacles, with emphasis on manners, response to the rider and quality of movement. Credit will be given to horses negotiating the obstacles with style and some degree of speed, providing correctness is not sacrificed. Horses should receive credit for showing attentiveness to the obstacles and the capability of picking their own way through the course when obstacles allow. As well as willingly responding to the rider's cues on more difficult obstacles.


Ranch Reining measures the ability of the ranch horse to perform basic handling manoeuvres with a natural head carriage, in a forward looking manner. Competitors should not be penalised for reining their horse through the pattern in a reasonable manner. Stops should be hard and deep as if needed to stop and go in the other direction. Spins should be square and done without resistance. Turn arounds should be those of a working horse, correct and job efficient.  The best reined horse should be wilfully guided or controlled, with little or no apparent resistance, and dictated to completely. Smoothness, finesse, attitude, quickness and authority of performing will make the horse/rider team more exciting and pleasing to watch.  Classes require, large fast & small slow circles, run down, stop and roll back, spins left and right, the number of spins varies depending on the pattern, and a back up.  Horses are penalised for long sliding stops and spinning with their head low. The horse should at all times work like a horse managing stock in yards. 


There are three parts to Ranch Cow Work; boxing, fence work and roping or circling. The horse and rider must accomplish all three parts in three minutes.  In Limited Ranch Cow Work, there are four parts; 1; Boxing the cow, 2; Setting up the cow and driving it down the fence to the opposite end of the arena 3; Boxing the cow at the opposite end of the arena 4; Drive the cow back down the fence past the middle marker.  


This class is judged on the ability of the horse to work a cow by separating it from the herd and holding it to demonstrate the horse’s ability to work the cow. A single cow is cut from the herd and the horse must demonstrate its ability to work the cow.


Objective is to cut one or two cows, based on the division, from the herd and work the cow(s) with the assistance of two turn- back riders and two herd holders.

Show Management may supply two herd holders and two turn back riders, or exhibitors may supply their own helpers. If an exhibitor is a herd holder or turn back rider, he or she may use the horse that they are competing on or use a different horse. NB: Announcer to notify when one (1) minute remaining.


Ranch Pleasure is an AQHA "Versatility Ranch" approved class. Please refer to "Ranch Riding", however, the ranch pleasure pattern has far less manoeuvres (approximately 7-8) compared to a ranch riding pattern (approximately 11-13)


Conformation is based on the structural correctness, balance and functional ability of the horse to perform ranch related work. The horses 'form' meaning it's structural correctness and balance, combined with function, meaning it's performance in the cutting, riding working cow and trail classes, establishes the ranch conformation score.  Horses will walk to the judge, one at a time. As you pass the judge, you will then trot off to a cone, turn left and continue trotting around the corner of a second cone and stop facing the direction of the arena you entered in. You will then set up. (Stand your horse square) The judge will look at your horse from all angles. Bear in mind, setting up and presenting your horse properly can add a great deal of appeal.


 The intent of this class is to show the ability of the horse and rider skill of handling cattle as if they were doctoring injured or sick cattle. Cattle should be handled as calmly and slowly as possible. The judge should judge this class as if the cattle belonged to him or her.  Entry does not have to separate their cow from herd and should not receive credit for separation from herd.  When cow is separated from the herd there should be no excessive running or cutting of the cow. The rope must be thrown, and the contestant may throw only two loops. A second rope may be used, but the total number of loops thrown may not exceed two (2).  If a second loop is used it must be recoiled. The Honda on the rope used must be of a factory plastic breakaway design. Each contestant may have the option of using one (1) herd holder.  The herd holder may cross the starting line. The sole duty of the herd holder is to assist in holding the cattle at the working end of the arena. 



 Boxing consists of single cow work (boxing) on the end of the arena. The goal of this class is to introduce the rider to the “boxing” phase of the cow work. Each contestant upon receiving a cow in the arena will hold that cow on the prescribed end of the arena for fifty (50) seconds, demonstrating the ability of the horse and rider to control the cow. It is legal to hold the reins and Romal in one hand (rein hand) while boxing the cow.




 Yearlings and two (2) year old only.   The purpose of this class is to reward quality of movement, manners, expression, attitude and conformation suitable to future performance and the horse is to be judged with its suitability as a future performer under saddle in mind.



Yearlings and two (2) year old only.   Horses are to receive credit for showing attentiveness to the obstacles and the capability of picking their own way through the course when obstacles warrant it, and willingly responding to the handlers cues on more difficult obstacles.

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