Photo courtesy of AQHA……

Once you give ranch riding a try, you’ll be hooked! Any breed of horse can have a go at this discipline, as it focuses on movement and responsiveness. It doesn’t require the strenuous sliding stops and spins of reining, which makes it popular for a larger range of horses. However, ranch riding is still highly competitive!

What is Ranch Riding?

These patterned classes test the skill and versatility of the horse and rider. Their performance should reflect that of a real working ranch team. The horse’s abilities and manner are put to the test through a series of maneuvers. They should be forward with working gaits and light contact.

Photo by: Boyd Ranch, LLC

Some Basics

  • The performance is scored from 0 to 100. 70 is considered an average score.
  • There are both required and optional maneuvers that are performed individually.
  • Each gait should be free-flowing and ground covering.
  • There is no time limit.
  • Natural logs are encouraged.
  • Holding and touching the saddle horn is acceptable.
  • Posting at the extended trot is allowed.
  • Flashy accents like silver on tack or hoof polish is discouraged.
  • Trimming the bridle path, fetlocks and facial hair is allowed.

Required and Optional Maneuvers

Riders and their horses will need to perform the walk, trot, and lope both directions. The extended jog and extended lope must be shown in one direction. Stops and a back up are also required.

Optional maneuvers include a side pass, 360 degree turn or more, change of lead, traveling over poles (at walk, trot, or lope), and any other maneuvers a horse would perform on a working ranch.

Penalties in Ranch Riding Classes

Your horse can receive one point, three point, five point, and zero point penalties. Something minor, such as being too slow or out of frame, will yield a one point penalty. A buck or rear can result in five points.

A Sample Pattern

Photo by: AQHA

Who’s ready to saddle up and give it a go?!