Contestants compete simultaneously, traveling the perimeter of the arena, and at the discretion of the judge, are asked to walk, jog, lope and reverse the direction of the horse. Horses are evaluated on quality of movement while staying quiet and calm, traveling on a loose rein.
Judges the abilities of the horse to change leads precisely, easily and simultaneously, using both hind and front legs. Following one of the patterns consisting of a log and a series of pylons, the horse and rider must change gaits – from a walk to a jog or a lope – throughout the course. Reward is given to the horse that changes fluidly and precisely between the middle of the pylons within the pattern.
Designed to test the horsemanship abilities of youth and amateur riders using western tack. Divided into two sections, riders first follow a prescribed pattern of maneuvers at a walk, trot or lope. When pattern-part is finished exhibitors ride as a group around the perimeter of the arena, like in Western Pleasure. Judging focuses on the rider’s body position, seat in the saddle and ability to control the horse.
The trail class tests the maneuverability of the horse through an obstacle course. Mandatory obstacles include one in which the rider will open, pass through and close a gate. Scoring is based on the horse’s willingness, ease and grace in negotiating the course. The other two mandatory obstacles are riding over at least four logs or poles and one backing obstacle.
Ranch Riding (formerly known as Ranch Horse Pleasure) (Note that Ranch Riding is not a Year-End award class)
The ranch riding horse should simulate a horse riding outside the confines of an arena and reflect the versatility, attitude and movement of a working horse. The class is judged on the horse’s ability to work at a forward, working speed while performing the required and optional maneuvers. The required maneuvers are the walk, jog and lope (both directions), the extended trot and extended lope at least one direction as well as stops, back and one change of direction. The optional maneuvers are sidepass; turns of 360 degrees or more; change of lead (simple or flying); walk, jog or lope over poles or other reasonable maneuvers a ranch horse could perform. Scoring is on a 0-100 point scale with 70 denoting an average performance.