In ranch riding classes, the horse is shown individually in pattern work and is judged on the precision of the pattern maneuvers and the horse’s movements.
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. The horse should not be a runaway but move like “we have a lot to do today”. Western pleasure type movement will be disqualified.
As for rein length, the rider should have light rein contact. Draped reins will be penalised.
A few notes on horse presentation and equipment:
- Tail extensions are not allowed.
- The horse’s mane cannot be braided or branded. A good length mane is encouraged but not an excessively long one.
- The horse’s hooves cannot have black polish.
- Silver plating on saddles and bridles is discouraged and should only be conchos of 2 inch size.
- Clipping the inside of the horse’s ear is not allowed.
- Riders are encouraged the use a breast collar and/or a rear cinch.
As for rider presentation, they should not wear any bling on their show clothes. The show clothing should be well-fitted and workman-like. Chaps are not required for the class but can be worn. However, chinks are quite popular to wear for the class.
Some other notes about ranch riding:
- The use of natural logs in the class.
- The exhibitor may post at the trot.
- The exhibitor may touch or hold the saddle horn.
- There is a growing trend for riders to be standing in their stirrups for the extended trot.
Maneuvers to Practice
Riders will be penalised for having their horse over bridled like the reining horse, draped reins and being too slow per gait. Horses should carry their head naturally and looking forward through the bridle. Transitions are extensive in ranch riding, so the riders practiced transitions from the extended lope to extended trot etc., the side pass and turnarounds, as well as riding over natural logs and practicing the lead change. Pausing between maneouvers attracts penalties as horses should flow smoothly from one maneouver to the next. The lead changes can be flying or simple (in the simple, the lead change must be within three strides or less).
NOTE: ARH is open to all breeds and saddles can be western or half breed.