General Rules

Rodeo Cowboys

1. Principles in the Show Ring
2. Complaint Procedure
3. Dress
4. Penalties
5. Tack
6. Rein Position
7. The Ground Tie
8. Grading System

1. Principles in the Show Ring

A judge's obligation is purely to the competitors while they are in the show ring.  Once they are outside the arena, the judge should not address any comments about the competitors' performance unless the person involved solicits such comment.  Competitors should not comment inside the show ring on any requests or decisions made by the judge.  A judge should not enter into any correspondence about any rider's or horse's particular performance unless he is asked to by the person in question.

(Do remember that by entering a show you have invited the judge's opinion).


If a horse or rider fails to complete a class or a horse quits the ring or is otherwise out of control in the judge’s opinion, then it shall be disqualified.

A judge or games referee is obliged to observe and inspect each horse as it enters the arena, to ensure as far as is possible that the horse is in a fit condition to compete, and that the tack is correctly fitted and in sound condition, conforming with the BRCA rules for the event.  The judge or referee should also check that the competitor is correctly turned out.  A judge, referee or show organiser should periodically check the condition of horses tack and turnout during the course of a showing day.

A judge, referee or show organiser may caution and, if necessary, disqualify any competitor who abuses their horse. Should a judge, referee or show organiser wish to expel a horse from the ring or showground for any reason, e.g. lameness, then it should be done only as a result of a joint decision between the judge/referee and the show organiser.

Once results are handed to the steward for announcing, and rosettes given, they cannot be changed.

Age limit - Youth riders: Youths are deemed to be 21 years and under.

Age limit - Horses: Three-year-olds from 1st July – Showmanship and Pleasure classes only.

In all other classes, horses and ponies must be at least 4 years old.

2. Complaint Procedure

Only a competitor taking part in that class can lodge a complaint as a result of an infringement of rules.  Those wishing to make a complaint at a show must do so in writing on the showground within one hour of the class ending, and hand the complaint to the Show Secretary together with a deposit of £10.  This sum shall be forfeited if the complaint is dismissed.  If an objection is overruled at the time of the show, but is found to be valid at a later date on appeal by Council, then the deposit shall be refunded.

3. Dress

In halter and ridden classes, it is mandatory to wear appropriate Western attire in clean show condition.  YOUTHS AGED 14 AND UNDER – IT IS MANDATORY TO WEAR A HARD HAT TO RECENT BSI STANDARDS IN ALL RIDDEN CLASSES. (Cover with Stetson optional).

The hat should be a Stetson style hat in felt or straw and must be on the competitor’s head when they enter the arena.  It should not be worn on the back of the head or hanging down the back on a string.  Any other type of headgear will be considered improper.  All adult competitors are permitted to wear safety headgear to recent BSI Standards underneath an appropriate Stetson style hat in any mounted classes.  If Show organisers decide to insist on the wearing of hard hats, the fact should be well publicised prior to the show and stated on the schedule.  Western style trousers, suit or jeans, plain or coloured western style shirt with long button down or short sleeves (depending on the weather).  Western boots.

Optional – Any kind of western tie or neck scarf, jacket, waistcoat, chaps, gloves and spurs (MISUSE OF SPURS WILL BE SEVERELY PENALISED).

4. Penalties

Loss of Stetson hat whilst competing in any show or cattle class will result in a 5 point penalty.  Loss of Stetson in mounted games will result in 1 second being added to competitor’s time.  Competitors hands should be clear of the horse and saddle.  Spurs shall not be used forward of the cinch.

5. Tack

Any type of Western saddle in good order and clean show condition to be used in conjunction with saddle blanket or pad.  (Silver or buck-stitched saddles will not be given preference over a good working saddle).  If a flank cinch is used it must be connected to the front cinch.  Saddles with full double rigging must be used with a flank cinch.  The only closed reins that are permitted are mecate with bosal bridle, roping reins and California style reins with Rommel.  Texas style split reins are also permitted.

Optional equipment
Rope or riata, breast collar, hobbles and protective boots are permitted.

Prohibited Tack
No crops, quirts, whips, bats or abuse with spurs or rein ends.

Bits and Bridles
Any humane bit or bridle may be used, but any misuse will be severely penalised.

6. How the Reins Should be Held

California Style
The Rommel must be held in the free hand.
Rommel Reins
California Style with a Rommel - The reins should enter the bottom of the hand with the Rommel leaving over the base of the thumb.  The Rommel must be held in the opposite hand over the thigh.  No fingers are allowed between the reins.

Texas Style
The free hand should not touch the reins, saddle or horse.
Splits Reins
Texas Style with split reins - The reins should enter over the index finger and leave through the bottom of the hand.  The index finger may be positioned between the reins as illustrated.  This is the only finger that is allowed to come between the reins. The tail ends of the reins should drop to the same side as the reining hand, for example, if you are right-handed, you will probably hold the reins in your left hand with the tail ends of the reins dropping down to the left side of your horse.

7. The Ground Tie

If Texas style split reins are used, both reins should be dropped to the floor.  If California style closed reins with a Rommel are used, hobbles are mandatory and should be attached to the saddle before entering the arena.  If roping reins are used, unclip one end from the bit and drop to the floor or use hobbles if preferred.  If a bosal is used with a fiadore the tie rope of the mecate should be dropped to the floor.  If a bosal without fiadore is used, hobbles are mandatory and should be attached to the saddle before entering the arena.

8. Grading System

Grading will be for a horse/rider combination, graded A B C D in each class of competition on a points system.  Everyone starts with a D grade, the more experienced horse/rider combinations will be up-graded more quickly than novice combinations, leaving most competitors to compete against others of a similar standard.
Advantages are:
A chance to gain points in your own level
Encourage fair competition
A chance to upgrade with some experience
A chance to beat those of a higher grade
Rosettes awarded within your grade
End of year high points trophies in each grade

Points are awarded as follows:-
First: 6 points,  second: 5 points,  third: 4 points,  fourth: 3 points, fifth: 2 points,  sixth: 1 point.

For example, first place overall gives you 6 points and 6 points in your grade, giving you a possible 12 points in each class you win.  Coming second would give you 5 points overall, but if you were first in your grade you would get 6 grade points, making a total of 11 points in that class.  Third place would give you 4 points overall, but if you were second in your grade you would get 5 grade points, totalling 9 points.



All material Copyright ©British Rodeo Cowboys Association 2012