angle-left Ranch Riding and Ranch Trail Tips

Ranch Riding and Ranch Trail Tips

AQHA Professional Horsemen advise during the VRH clinics at 2019 Zoetis AQHA Versatility Ranch Horse World Championships.

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On the evening before the Zoetis AQHA Versatility Ranch Horse World Championships, held June 18-23 at Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Oklahoma, exhibitors gathered for two educational Ride the Pattern clinics, hosted by AQHA Professional Horsemen.

At the VRH clinics, AQHA Professional Horsewomen Marilyn and Jaime Peters hosted the ranch riding clinic, and AQHA Professional Horseman Rick Chayer hosted the trail clinic. 

During the clinics, donations were accepted from attendees, with the money going to help fund the AQHA Professional Horseman Crisis Fund, which was created to help professionals in time of need. 

Despite all of the questions from exhibitors, “Show the horse you have,” was the common answer from the judges and trail course designers. While the judges did offer do’s for plusing maneuvers and don’ts for minusing maneuvers, it was clear that the judges and show staff want exhibitors to enjoy the courses and show them what their horses can do.

The Professional Horsemen emphasized that the judges are looking for a horse that they would want to go ride out on the ranch. 

Ranch Riding Tips – AQHA Professional Horsewoman Marilyn Peters

  • Pay attention to your arena – this pattern loops back on itself, so make sure you ride to the dimensions of the arena.
  • Extend the trot as boldly as your horse is capable of.
  • If you take a walk or jog step into the extended trot, there is a little leeway, but if you over-exaggerate, that could be a penalty. Do what your horse is capable of doing.
  • When you’re doing the regular trot, you should be sitting, not posting. Only stand or post during the extended trot. 
  • When you have completed the 360-degree turn, you can either hesitate or lope off – either one is fine.
  • In extensions of gait, judges are looking for an actual physical extension from the horse – for the horse to lift itself and extend its legs out – not just for the legs to move faster.

Ranch Trail Trail – AQHA Professional Horseman Rick Chayer

  • Have it laid in your mind on how you want to handle each obstacle and move on ready for the next obstacle. You only get one chance.
  • When crossing the log on Trail Course 1: There’s no penalty if you trot over or jump it.
  • Make sure you take a full dally when you pull the steer out of the water.
  • As you drag the steer in a circle, you can go either direction and move at a walk or trot, but the greatest degree of difficulty is turning so the rope is across the horse’s hip (in this case, a counterclockwise circle) and moving at a trot. However, if you break gait from the trot while dragging the steer, it will be a deduction of maneuver.
  • When you leave the skull, which is where the rope for the steer is hanging, you want to leave at a long trot. Show your horses at a long trot.
  • To get the highest maneuver score in trail, you need to put the reins over the saddle and have the horse self-load into the trailer.

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