Ranch Horse Classes
WSVRHA offers Five (5) classes in each division; Ranch Riding, Ranch Trail, Ranch Reined Work, Ranch Cow Work and Ranch Cutting. Exhibitors may enter any one or all of the classes in the Division in which they are qualified to participate.
RANCH CUTTING classes are judged on the ability of the horse and rider to cut a single cow by separating it from the herd and holding it, with the assistance of two turn-back riders and two herd holders. Credit will be given to those horses who demonstrate excellence in their herd work, driving and setting the cow up to cut, working in the center of the arena, and degree of difficulty of the cow drawn.
All riders must work two cows in this manner within a two minute time limit and will be required to legally “quit” each cow, but are not required to work the full two minutes.
Walk Trot riders will have two minutes to to cut two cows. Riders will demonstrate their ability to drive a single cow out of the herd and set it up for the cut. They will “tag off” once the cow is out of the herd and set up for the cut.
REINED WORK – is a judged event designed to show the athletic ability of the Versatility Ranch Horse in the confines of a show arena. The best reined horse should be willingly guided or controlled with little or no apparent resistance and should respond to the rider’s subtle cues.
Any one of WSVRHA approved patterns may be used, each contestant will perform the required pattern individually.
Event managers may choose to run Reined Work concurrent with Cow Work; in this case after completing the pattern the rider will signal to the cow boss that he/she is ready for a cow to be released into the arena.
RANCH COW WORK – this class demonstrates the cow sense and roping ability of the horse and rider. Each contestant will perform individually by working a cow. All riders will box first; Open, Advanced Amateur and Advanced Youth riders will then take the cow down the fence with a turn in both directions and complete the run by tracking, roping and stopping the cow.
NOTE: Advanced Amateurs and Advance Youth riders have the option of roping and stopping the cow or circling the cow. Open riders must rope and stop the cow (no option for circling).
Limited Amateur and Limited Youth riders have
1 minute and 45 seconds to demonstrate their ability to control the cow by boxing, driving the cow down the fence to the opposite end of the arena, boxing again and finally driving the cow back down the fence past the center. No expectation of turning the cow on the fence.
Intermediate Amateur and Intermediate Youth riders are in a “stepping up” division and will call for the cow, box on the receiving end, drive the cow through the corner past the mid marker and stop straight (turning the cow on the fence is a deduction). At this point the rider will build a loop, track the cow while swinging rope and once in correct roping position they have two options 1) to stop straight without throwing the loop or 2) using a breakaway rope, and only one loop, attempt to rope the cow. No penalty for not catching. Each Contestant has 2 minutes to complete the cow work.
Novice Amateur and Novice Youth riders will have 50 seconds to demonstrate their ability to control the cow by boxing at one end of the arena, work is complete when time is up.
Walk Trot riders will have 50 seconds to track, drive rate and influence a turn in each direction showing an understanding of how to control a cow, work is complete when time is up.
RANCH TRAIL – consists of a course with no more than (9) and no less than (6) obstacles. Required elements include; working a gate, walk, trot, lope, log drag and a “rope handling” element. All elements are designed to show a horse’s ability and willingness to perform tasks that might be asked of him during the course of a normal day’s ranch work.
The horse will be judged on his performance over the obstacles with emphasis on manners, response to the rider and quality of movement. Credit will be given to horses negotiating the obstacles smoothly, with style and without delay and for showing attentiveness to the obstacles with the capability of picking their own way through the course. Light contact should be rewarded and the horse shall not be shown on a full drape of reins. Horses with artificial appearance over obstacles should be penalized.
While on the line of travel between obstacles the horse’s head and neck should be in a relaxed, natural position. His poll level with or slightly above his withers and not be overly flexed at the poll, giving an unnatural appearance or be excessively nosed out in a resistant stance. He should have a bright attentive expression with his ears alert.
RANCH RIDING – patterns will be designed to evaluate the Horse and Rider’s ability to execute a set of maneuvers with precision and smoothness that should simulate that of a working ranch horse outside the confines of an arena.
A good Versatility Ranch Horse has a free flowing stride of reasonable length in keeping with his conformation. He should be able to smoothly cover ground with little effort at a working speed while under control. Light contact should be rewarded and the horse shall not be shown on a full drape of reins. When asked to extend, he should move out with the same flowing motion. Maximum credit should be given to the balanced, and willing horse that gives the appearance of being a pleasure to ride.
The horse’s head and neck should be in a relaxed natural position his poll level with or slightly above his withers. He should not be overly flexed at the poll, in an unnatural position or be excessively nosed out, in a resistant stance. He should have a bright attentive expression with his ears alert.
WSVRHA offers (8) divisions for our riders. (3) Youth Divisions, an Open Division, (4) Amateur Divisions and a combined Adult/Youth Walk Trot. We have designed our Amateur Divisions to be a step by step program that will allow a novice rider to start from the beginning and as the rider gains and develops horsemanship skills they will be able to advance to the next level.
Open Division – The Open Division is open to any professional or non-professional member in good standing with any horse regardless of past winnings. In the Ranch Cow Work class this division will box the cow, drive it down the fence completing a turn in both directions and then rope and stop the cow. The Cutting class will consist of cutting two cows in a two minute time limited. Can be run concurrent with AQHA Open
Limited Open Sub Division – This division will be offered in 2021 as a subdivision of the Open for individuals with moderate to no showing experience who have taken money for starting colts; been paid to ride the ranch horses not owned by them; given basic riding lessons or local clinics for pay; or by other circumstances that make them ineligible for Amateur or Non-Pro status but are not experienced professional trainers in western performance disciplines. Any age horse may be ridden, and there are no horse ownership restrictions.
Novice Amateur: is reserved for individuals of any age with limited riding and showing experience who wish to learn more about showing in WSVRHA at a beginner’s pace. There are eligibility restrictions on this division. Ranch Cow Work will consist of boxing only. In the cutting class competitors will cut a single cow out of the herd and demonstrate ability to hold the cow away from the herd in a 90 second time limit.
Novice Youth: Riders 18 and under, class rules are the same as Novice Amateur.
Intermediate Amateur– Intermediate Amateur is open to any member that qualifies as an Amateur competitor with no restrictions to earnings. This division is a “stepping up” class for those riders that do not have enough experience to make turns on the fence or rope and stop a cow but are ready to start stepping up to the challenge. Working Ranch Horse will involve a modified version of the Cow Work class, the competitor will box the cow, rate the cow through the corner and then stop straight when the horse and cow have passed the center marker. It will also test the horse and riders skill with rope handling, rating while swinging a rope and stopping straight. The intermediate rider also has the option to throw the loop with a break-away hondo and will not incur penalties or added credit for the attempt.
Intermediate Youth: Riders 18 and under, class rules are the same as Intermediate Amateur.
Limited Amateur– Exhibitors who qualify as Amateur riders are eligible to ride in this division. The Limited division is designed for riders that due to personal preference, do not want to ride in a division that requires turning on the fence or roping a cow. Riders may choose to ride in this division based on limitations of either the horse or the rider. Limited riders will box on one end of the arena, drive the cow through the corner to the opposite end of the arena, box it again and then drive it through the corner down the same fence past center within a minute and a forty five second time limit. The cutting class will consist of cutting two cows with a two minute time limit. Can be run concurrent with AQHA Limited Amateur.
Limited Youth – Riders 18 and under class rules are the same as Limited Amateur. Can be run concurrent with AQHA Limited Youth.
Advanced Amateur – This Division is open to any member that qualifies as an Amateur competitor regardless of earnings with any horse. In the Ranch Cow Work class this division will box the cow, drive it down the fence completing a turn in both directions. The rider may choose to complete the run by either roping and stopping the cow or by circling the cow. The Cutting class will consist of cutting two cows in a two minute time limited.
Can be run concurrent with AQHA Amateur.
This division of ranch horse competition is for Adult or Youth riders who wish to experience showing their ranch horses at an introductory level. This division was created for beginner riders to have a place to start and will be governed by the general rules of the WSVRHA Handbook EXCEPT as noted in the Walk Trot Section.
There is no expectation of loping, patterns have been modified to eliminate loping and substitute with trotting and extended trotting. Cutting and Cow Work classes have modified requirements.