Contestants work a predetermined pattern consisting of maneuvers such as changing gaits; travel in a figure-8 pattern; backing up as well as posting on correct diagonal and counter-cantering. The judge may ask for rail work. Exhibitors will travel the perimeter of the arena performing gait changes at the judge’s discretion. Emphasis is placed on ability to sit correctly, hold the correct riding posture and control the horse on a precise pattern.
A preliminary class for English riding disciplines in which the judge evaluates a hunter-type horse on the flat, at a walk, trot and canter. Emphasis is placed on smoothness of gait, free-flowing stride and willingness to perform. Exhibitors must wear traditional English attire.
Evaluates conformation of the horse. Halter classes are divided by age and sex. Horses are shown with a leather halter and are traveled before judges so that lameness and quality of movement can be evaluated. Horses are judged on balance, structural correctness, breed and sex characteristics and degree of muscling. Of these, balance is the most important.
A Handy Hunter class tests skill you and your horse might use during an enjoyable day of foxhunting: short turns, a brisk pace, trot jumps, galloping, dismounting and leading over an obstacle, even opening and shutting a gate from the saddle. In Handy Hunter classes the judge rewards promptness, efficiency, a comfortable, easy manner and risks successfully taken, such as inside turns and "tidy" tracks. It’s an obstacle meets traditional hunter hack 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 side pass; 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.
This class is designed to judge the showmanship skills of the exhibitors. Judges evaluate the grooming and fitting of the horse, and expertise of the exhibitor in presenting the horse. Each exhibitor is required to perform a pattern with emphasis on preciseness of pattern and degree of confidence exhibited by the showman.
The trail class tests the maneuverability of a horse through an obstacle course. Obstacles include one in which the rider will open, pass through and close a gate. The other obstacles that may be included are riding over at least four logs or poles, backing obstacles, and walking over a bridge. Scoring is based on the horse’s willingness, ease and grace in negotiating the course.
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. The judge may ask for rail work. The exhibitors ride as a group around the perimeter of the arena. Judging focuses on the rider’s body position, seat in the saddle and ability to control the horse.
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.