11 Ranch Riding Patterns for Practice

Practice these AQHA ranch riding patterns to get a leg up on your competition.

Many ranch riding patterns give you the chance to show off your horse’s ground-covering stride at the extended trot . Journal photo.

As the saying goes, practice makes perfect, and practice for ranch riding can easily be done in the everyday life of a working horse. Gate work, maneuvering logs and practicing good horsemanship are all integral pieces of the ranch riding puzzle.

Make sure that you’re well-versed in all of the maneuvers and obstacles that you may face in AQHA ranch riding classes with these 11 patterns. From youth to open classes, you’re sure to be prepared the next time you enter the show pen.

2012 Battle in the Saddle

  • 12 maneuvers
  • Exhibitor is tested on navigating log obstacle after entering in gate.
  • Horse and rider must exit the arena at a walk to end the pattern.

2016 AQHA Select World Championship Show (Prelims)

  • 13 maneuvers
  • Exhibitor is tested on a 360 degree turn in both directions and a lead change.
  • Horse and rider must exhibit strong horsemanship and attention to detail with several serpentines and straight lines.

2014 AQHA Select World Show (Prelims)

  • 11 maneuvers
  • Exhibitor is tested on maneuvering log obstacle and utilizing the arena floor.
  • Horse and rider must stop, turn 360 degrees in each direction, and back two horse lengths at the end of the pattern.

2015 AQHA World Championship Show (Junior and Senior Prelims)

  • 13 maneuvers
  • Exhibitor is tested on side-passing and control at the lope.
  • Horse and rider must maintain focus even in the presence of cattle.

2014 AQHA World Show (Junior and Senior Prelims)

  • 12 maneuvers
  • Exhibitor is tested on quick, precise transition from lope to lead change.
  • Horse and rider must perform simple maneuvers with precision.

2016 AQHA Select World Show (Finals)

  • 16 maneuvers
  • Exhibitor is tested on log work and rollback into the lope.
  • The rider must have their bearings to successfully complete this pattern; precision is key with diagonal lines, serpentines and square corners.

2014 AQHA Select World Show (Finals)

  • 14 maneuvers
  • Exhibitor is tested on back-to-back gate and sidepassing obstacles.
  • Horse and rider must stop and back two horse lengths to end the pattern.

2015 AQHA World Show (Junior and Senior Finals)

  • 11 maneuvers
  • Exhibitor is tested on precision with simple maneuvers.
  • Horse and rider must use the space to best exhibit their abilities.

2015 AQHA World Show (Amateur Finals)

  • 13 maneuvers
  • Exhibitor is tested on handling a gate obstacle.
  • Horse and rider must change leads at the lope and stop and back to end the pattern.

2014 AQHA World Show (Junior and Senior Finals)

  • 16 maneuvers
  • Notable obstacles include a gate, log sidepass and walking over four logs. This pattern challenges horse and rider to remain focused despite thanks to its length.

2013 AQHYA World Championship Show (Finals)

  • 14 maneuvers
  • Exhibitor is tested on 360-degree circle in each direction and lope departure.
  • Horse and rider must sidepass across first log and walk across the remainder of the obstacle.

For the five ranch riding patterns featured in the AQHA Official Handbook of Rules and Regulations, visit www.aqha.com/patterns. And for more patterns to practice, visit AQHA’s Horse Show Patterns board on Pinterest.