A Judge’s Perspective: Ranch Riding

AQHA Judge Karen Watters dissects the 2016 AQHA senior ranch riding world championship pattern.

Whizzle For My Spook and AQHA Professional Horsewoman Debra Cooper came out on top at the 2016 Lucas Oil AQHA World Championship Show in senior ranch riding.

In the video above, Karen Watters, who judged the finals at the 2016 Lucas Oil World, dissects Debra’s winning run. Watch Debra’s winning run, scroll down to view the pattern and read why the AQHA judges found this go worthy of a gold trophy.

1. Trot

Watters: “The horse comes in bright with a lot of expression.”

2. Extended trot through shrubs

“He moves right up into a very nice, extended trot [and] negotiates the bushes in a nice way.”

3. Left-lead lope

“Picks up nicely into [his] left lead; again nice, bright expression. Soft, very nice mover; moves straight through his entire body down into the transition to the trot.”

4. Extended trot

“Maintains his cadence through the tight turn up into the extended trot. Again, bright expression, great mover. Very pleasing to watch, very pleasing to ride.”

5. Walk

“Nice, soft, forward-moving walk. Again, with the same expression he has had through the entire class.”

6. Right-lead lope

“Picks up into the right lead and moves forward straight down to the transition to the trot.”

7. Trot

“Again, maintains his cadence in the turn [and] picks up into the left-lead extended lope.”

8. Extended lope

“This maneuver was a correct maneuver.”

9. Change leads, continue extended lope, collect to a lope

“[He] pushed on the bridle a bit through the lead change and came down into the collection. This was the only spot in the pattern that the horse was a zero maneuver for me.”

10. Trot

“He came down to the trot nice and trotted right up to the gate.”

11. Left-hand push gate into pen

“Moves forward as asked. Again, in the bridle, soft. [He’s] aware of the cattle. [She] keeps the gate open just enough for the horse to pass but not for the cattle to get through.”

12. Walk over poles

“The horse negotiates the logs carefully, safely. Again, same expression, aware of his surroundings, no interruption in his pace.”

13. Right-hand push gate out of pen

“Up to the right-hand gate. Again, protecting the opening of the gate. Closes it and softly moves into the walk.”

14. Walk

“Again, a forward-moving walk. Still a nice, bright expression.”

15. 360 right, 360 left, back

“The horse does not finish the 360 to the left. However, with a plus half, a zero and a plus half back, [it’s] just a zero maneuver. A very nice run.”