The Ranching Heritage Challenge highlights the versatility, soundness and willing attitude of American Quarter Horses that are ranch born and raised. First, the goal of the Ranching Heritage Breeders program is to recognize AQHA’s ranching members who have steadfastly continued to maintain the ranching tradition by raising American Quarter Horses for use in working cattle.
Second, through a series of ranch horse competitions, the Ranching Heritage Challenge is intended to increase demand for ranch horses by providing an opportunity for ranches and horse owners to compete in a unique ranch horse competition for a significant purse.
As interest in the program increases, AQHA anticipates having six regional events around the United States – each with a purse in excess of $100,000! These purses will be generated through nominations and sustaining payments for horses in the program and from added money in the form of sponsorships.
Learn about 2014 Ranching Heritage Challenge events.
Ranching Heritage Breeder Qualifications
Foals raised by Ranching Heritage Breeders will be eligible for nomination to the Ranching Heritage Challenge. The Ranching Heritage Challenge will be exclusively for foals bred and nominated by Ranching Heritage Breeders that remain eligible via payments by their owners. By 2014, AQHA anticipates having up to six regional events at stock shows, state fairs, ranch rodeos and other industry events.
Read more about Ranching Heritage Breeders qualifications.
What makes a horse eligible for the Ranching Heritage Challenge?
All foals bred and raised by a Ranching Heritage Breeder will be eligible to be nominated into the Ranching Heritage Challenge. Ranches have the opportunity to nominate weanlings to the program for just $10 before December 31 of its weanling year. Nominations can even be taken along with the foal’s registration papers. Because much of the benefit of the program is adding value to young ranch horses, ranches are encouraged to ensure the horse is nominated and ownership is transferred at the time of sale.
However, as long as the foal is eligible for the program, anyone can nominate and sustain the payments for the horse into the Ranching Heritage Challenge.
Nominate a horse to the Ranching Heritage Challenge.
What is the payment schedule?
Ranching Heritage Challenge enrollments will begin with the 2011 foal crop and the payment schedule will apply to 2011 and subsequent foal crops. All older Ranching Heritage-bred horses will be eligible to compete in events on an entry-fee basis.
Starting with 2011 foals, the penalty for missing a payment is double any missed payments, along with the current year's payment. For example, if a horse is nominated as a yearling, the cost would be $70. ($10 x 2 [the penalty for missed weanling payment] = $20 + $50 [current year's payment]). For the best deal, nominate your weanlings now for only $10.
Nominate a horse to the Ranching Heritage Challenge.
2014 Ranching Heritage Classes and Rules
Working Ranch Horse Class Rules
1. Each contestant will perform individually, first in the reining pattern and then releasing one cow into the arena.
2. Each exhibitor will be allowed a maximum of six minutes to complete the class. At the four-minute mark there will be a two-minute warning whistle. When the six-minute time limit has expired, the exhibitor will be required to exit the arena.
3. The class will be judged in three parts: the reining, the cow work and the roping portion. At the end of the performance, the scores for the three portions will be added together for the final score. Rules for scoring the reining portion are defined in SHW570 of the AQHA Official Handbook.
4. The reining portion will be performed first using the prescribed pattern. Each contestant will perform the required pattern individually and separately.
5. Rules for scoring the cow working portion are defined in SHW570 of the AQHA Official Handbook. After the exhibitor has completed his reining pattern, he will call for the cow to be turned into the arena. Upon receiving the cow, the contestant shall hold the cow on the prescribed end of the arena for sufficient time to demonstrate the ability of the horse to contain the cow on that end. After a reasonable amount of time, the contestant shall take the cow down the fence, making at least one turn each way on the fence. A three (3) point penalty will be assessed for a horse refusing to turn or hanging up on the fence. Judge may blow the whistle at any time to terminate the cow work if in his opinion unsafe or dangerous conditions exist. A score of zero in the cow work segment will be given if the work is not complete at that time. The exhibitor should then continue with the roping segment of the class.
6. Exhibitor must then rope the cow and bring it to a stop. In the roping portion of this class, the horse will be judged on three (3) maneuvers: 1. the ability to trail, 2. the ability to rate, 3. the ability to stop the cow. Additionally, a two-loop run will receive a penalty of three (3) points and a no-catch run will receive a penalty of five (5) points. It is not necessary that the roper
catch for the contestant to receive a score in the roping portion. However, if there is no catch, a five-point penalty must be subtracted from the roping score accumulated prior to the catch (i.e., if a horse trails and rates its cow but no catch is made, or if rider loses his rope after the catch is made, the horse will receive the score it has earned up to the point of the catch minus five points). Any blatant disobedience for a circumstance that is not listed results in a five (5) point penalty, and a horse will be disqualified for excessive schooling at any time in the arena or whipping or hitting the horse with the rope. There is to be no dragging. The exhibitor is allowed only two throws. In order for a catch to be legal, the loop must hold in front of the cow’s shoulders. An amateur exhibitor has the option of circling the cow in the middle of the arena in both directions in lieu of roping; however, circling the cow is considered a lesser degree of difficulty and should be factored into the score.
7. For the entire class – reining, cow work and roping – an average score will be 210 points – 70 points per section. If the contestant fails to attempt any part of the class, he or she will receive a zero for the entire class.
8. Riders may either have their rope tied onto the horn of the saddle, or they may dally.
9. The judge may, at his discretion, award new cattle, to enable the contestant to show his horse’s ability on the cow, based on the following criteria:
10. Working Ranch Horse will offer the following classes with descriptions to follow:
Open for 4 Year Old Horses
a) For 4 year old horses as of January 1 of the competition year.
b) Will follow AQHA equipment rules for junior horses.
Limited Open for 4 Year Old Horses
a) Runs within the open class and will require separate entry fee.
b) No horse may be exhibited in both the open and limited open classes by different riders.
Open for 5&6 Year Old Horses
a) For 5&6 year old horses as of January 1 of the competition year.
b) 5 year old horses are considered junior horses and may be shown according to AQHA junior horse equipment rules. Six year old and older horses are considered senior horses and must be shown according to senior horse equipment rules.
Limited Open for 5&6 Year Old Horses
a) Runs within the open 5&6 and will require separate entry fee.
Amateur Class for 4 Year Old & Older Horses
a) 4 and 5 year old horses are considered junior horses and may be shown according to AQHA junior horse equipment rules. Six year old and older horses are considered senior horses and must be shown according to senior horse equipment rules.
b) Will follow the Working Ranch Horse Heritage Challenge rules with the option of circling rather than roping the cow
Novice Amateur Class for 4 Year Old & Older Horses
c) 4 and 5 year old horses are considered junior horses and may be shown according to AQHA junior horse equipment rules. Six year old and older horses are considered senior horses and must be shown according to senior horse equipment rules.
d) Will follow the Working Ranch Horse Heritage Challenge rules with the option of circling rather than roping the cow.
e) Runs within the Amateur Class and requires a separate entry fee.
Cowboy Class for 4 Year & Older Horses
a) Will run as a separate class and requires its own entry fee.
b) 4 and 5 year old horses are considered junior horses and may be shown according to AQHA junior horse equipment rules. Six year old and older horses are considered senior horses and must be shown according to senior horse equipment rules.
Ranch Horse Pleasure Class Rules
The purpose of Ranch Horse Pleasure is to reflect the horse’s versatility, attitude, and movement of a working horse. The horse’s performance should simulate a horse riding outside the confines of an arena and that of a working ranch horse. This class should show the horse’s ability to work at a forward, working speed while under control by the rider. Light contact should be rewarded and horse shall not be shown on a full drape of reins. The overall manners and responsiveness of the horse while performing the maneuver requirements, and the horse’s quality of movement are the primary considerations.
Ranch Horse Pleasure will be offered as an all age class for open, amateur and youth and for horses three years of age or older.
Ranch Horse Pleasure Class Requirements (Rule SHW417 of AQHA Handbook)
a) Each horse will work individually, performing both required and optional maneuvers, and scored on the basis of 0 to 100, with 70 denoting an average performance.
b) The required maneuvers will include the walk, jog, and lope both directions: and the extended jog and extended lope at least one direction; as well as stops, and back
c) Three optional maneuvers may include a side pass, turns of 360 or more, change of leads (simple or flying), walk, jog, or lope over a pole(s); or some reasonable combination of maneuvers that would be reasonable for a ranch horse to perform.
d) Maneuvers may be arranged in various combinations with final approval by the judge.
e) The overall cadence and performance of gaits should be as those described in GAITS, with an emphasis on forward movement, free-flowing, and ground covering for all gaits. Transitions should be performed where designated, with smoothness and responsiveness.
f) No time limit.
g) One of the suggested AQHA Ranch Horse Pleasure patterns may be used; however a judge may utilize a different pattern as long as all required maneuvers and the three (or more) optional maneuvers are included.
Ranch Horse Pleasure Apparel and Equipment (Rule SHW418 of AQHA Handbook)
a) No hoof polish.
b) No braided or branded manes or tail extensions.
c) Trimming inside ears is discouraged.
d) Trimming bridle path is allowed, also trimming of fetlocks or excessive (long) facial hair.
e) Equipment with silver should not count over a good working outfit. Silver on bridles and saddles is discouraged
Ranch Horse Pleasure Penalties (Rule SHW419 of AQHA Handbook)
One (1) point penalties
Three (3) point penalties
Five (5) point penalties
Placed below horses performing all maneuvers
Zero (0) score
Boxing classes will be offered as an all age class for amateur, novice amateur, youth and novice youth and is for horses three years of age or older.
Boxing consists or a reining pattern and single cow work (boxing) on the end of the arena. Each contestant upon receiving a cow in the arena shall hold that cow on the prescribed end of the arena for 50 seconds, demonstrating the ability of the horse and rider to control the cow. Time shall begin with the gate closes behind the cow after being let into the arena. The announcer or judge will signal the completions of the 50 seconds with a whistle or horn. There shall be no schooling between the completion of the rein work and the cow work, or between cows if a new cow is awarded.
Scoring will be on the basis of 60-80, with 70 denoting an average performance. The same basis of scoring shall apply to both the reined work and the boxing work. In the event of a tie, the entry with the highest cow work will be declared the winner. The judge may blow the whistle at any time to terminate the work. A score of zero will be given if the work is not complete at that time. Each work will be limited to 50 seconds and, the judge may request additional work at his/her option.
a) Amateur and novice amateur class will run concurrently and will require separate entry fees.
b) Youth and novice youth class will run concurrently and will require separate entry fees.
c) For these classes, 5 year old horses are considered junior horses and may be shown according to AQHA junior horse equipment rules. Six year old and older horses are considered senior horses and must be shown according to senior horse equipment rules.
d) The Boxing class will run under AQHA rules SHW510 and 511 found in the AQHA Handbook.
What is the expected pay-out for the event?
The payout will be based on the number of horses nominated and paid into the program for that year. In time, AQHA anticipates having six regional events across the United States – each with a purse in excess of $20,000.
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