All-Around Ranch Horse

Rodeo Cowboys

1. General Rules
2. Ranch Conformation
3. Ranch Riding
4. Ranch Trail
5. Ranch Cutting
6. Working Ranch Horse

1. General Rules

This can be run as individual classes or as one complete competition.

  1. Each competitor must have current individual membership of the BRCA.

  2. No horses, less than 4 years of age may be exhibited.

  3. No hoof polish.

  4. No braided or banded manes or tail extensions.

  5. Trimming inside ears is discouraged.

  6. Trimming bridle path is allowed, also trimming of fetlocks or excessive (long) facial hair.

  7. A good working outfit should count over silver equipment. Silver on bridles and saddles is discouraged.

1.1. Rules for Tack and Equipment

When tacked, back cinches, breast collars and lariats are mandatory.

1.2. Points

  1. BRCA points will be awarded based on the final placing of all eligible horses. To be eligible for points for the All Around Ranch Horse class, one horse/rider combination must enter all five classes.  Credits will be applied per class according to the placing received based on the number of horses competing in that particular class.  Horses competing and placing in the top nine will be awarded one credit for each horse or competitor placing below them, plus one

    additional credit, not to exceed nine credits for first place.  Credits received in each class will be totalled.  After totalling credits, the horse receiving the highest number of credits will be placed first in the All Around Ranch class.  The horse receiving the second highest will be placed second in the All Around Ranch class and so on.

  2. Ties in the final placing for the All Around Ranch class will be broken by the highest placing horse in the Working Ranch Horse class.

2. Ranch Conformation

The Ranch conformation class will be based on balance, structural correctness of breed and sex characteristics, and degree of muscling with balance being the most important.  Horses are to be shown in a good working halter (rope, braided, nylon or plain leather).  The classes will be divided by sex.  Horses will be walked up to the judge one at a time.  As the horse approaches, the judge will step to the right to enable the horse to trot straight to a cone placed 50 feet away.  At the cone, the horse will continue trotting, turn to the left and trot toward the left wall or fence of the arena.  After trotting, horses will be lined up head to tail for individual inspection by the judge.  The judge shall inspect each horse from both sides, front and rear.

3. Ranch Riding

This class shows the horse’s ability to move at a working speed with a rider.  Horses will be shown at three gaits - walk, jog, and lope - in each direction of the arena.  Horses will also be asked to reverse away from the rail, to stop, and back.  The judge must ask for a working trot and working lope at least one direction of the ring.  A horse will be given credit for travelling with his head held in a normal position, ears alert and moving at a natural speed for the gait requested.  Credit will also be given for making a smooth transition between the gaits, for keeping the correct lead, and for maintaining the gait requested until the judge requests a change.

Horse must show good control by varying speed in each gait.

Finalists may be worked individually at the discretion of the judge.  Judges are encouraged to work competitors thoroughly, if time permits.

4. Ranch Trail

This class contains a course with a minimum of six obstacles and is designed to show a horse’s ability and willingness to perform several tasks that might be asked of him during the course of a normal day’s ranch work.  Whenever possible, realistic or natural obstacles are encouraged.  Also, the course is encouraged to be set outside of an arena using the natural terrain of the land whenever possible.  The horse will be judged on three gaits - walk, jog and lope - performed between six obstacles to be determined when the judge chooses the pattern.  A horse will be rewarded with higher credit for performing these gaits on the correct lead and with an alert attitude.

Horses to be shown at a ground-covering walk, working jog and lope.  The horse should perform with a reasonably loose rein that maintains contact with the horse.  A distance of at least 30 feet is mandatory between obstacles to evaluate the horse’s way of going at each gait.

Six obstacles will be used, three of which are mandatory and eight that are optional.  Combinations of two or more obstacles are permissible.  If three combinations of two obstacles are used, there must be sufficient distance between one of the combinations to allow the horse to perform two gaits.  All obstacles must meet the approval of the judge.

Mandatory Obstacles
  1. Opening, passing through, and closing the gate. Use a gate that will not endanger horse or rider.

  2. Roping Dummy – This obstacle is used to show the willingness of the horse to have a rope thrown from its back. The judge will give credit to the horse that stands quietly while the competitor makes the swing and throws at the Roping Dummy. Shying from the rope will be penalized, but missing the Dummy will be a 5 point penalty. Rope from behind the Dummy only.

  3. Log drag – Horse must be willing to drag a log for a short distance, either in a straight line or around a set pattern. Rope should be dallied around the saddle horn and not tied hard and fast.

Optional Obstacles
  1. Water hazard – The horse should show willingness to cross a small ditch or shallow pond (or simulated water obstacle).

  2. Hobble or ground tie (competitor’s option) – The horse shall remain in place while the rider dismounts and performs a normal ranch task such as moving a rail, moving a bale of hay, etc.

  3. Put on and remove own slicker – slicker should be attached to saddle when entering the class and returned to saddle.

  4. Remove, carry and replace item – Requires competitor to carry or remove an item that is used everyday on horseback such as mail from a mailbox, sack, rope, etc.

  5. Bridge – Horse shows willingness to walk across obstacle designed to simulate a bridge.

  6. Crossing obstacle – While mounted the horse would walk over obstacle no more than 18” in height.

  7. Ride over at least four logs – Walking only if laid at odd angles. Laid flat and in measured distances, the measuring point should be the path the horse would be expected to take.

  8. Jog overs        2’6” to 3’6”
    Lope overs     6’ to 7’

  9. Trailer – Competitor must open the door of the trailer fully for the safety of the horse.  Horse must load and unload easily without hesitation from a normal covered stock trailer.  The competitor has the choice of entering the trailer with the horse.  Credit will be given to the horse that loads and unloads willingly.

A judge has the right and duty to alter the course in any manner or remove any obstacle deemed unsafe.  All courses and obstacles are to be constructed with safety in mind so as to eliminate any possible accidents.  It is permissible to change rein hand to work an obstacle.  Any competitor that does not complete the course correctly cannot place over another that performs the course correctly

5. Ranch Cutting

A single numbered cow is cut from the herd and the horse must demonstrate its ability to work the cow.  When satisfied that the horse has proven its cutting ability, the horse and rider must then pen the cow at the far end of the arena.
  1. Minimum number of cattle in the herd will be ten.

  2. Objective will be to cut one designated cow from the herd and work the cow with the assistance of two turn backs.

  3. Cattle to be located at one end of the arena.  A pen with wing will be located on either side fence near the far end of the arena.  Wing will stretch to the inside of the arena (see diagrams) a marker will be placed in the arena with a variable distance of twenty to forty feet from the side of the arena and corner of the pen.

  4. All cattle will be clearly marked with numbers. Cutters will draw for cattle.

  5. There is a three-minute time limit.  A whistle will be blown at the 90 second point in the run to let the competitor know that half the allowed time has expired.  Time will begin when a competitor crosses a time line just prior to entering the herd.  The cow’s number is then called.  The competitor will then quietly separate his/her numbered cow from the herd.

  6. When the competitor is satisfied that the horse has proven its cutting ability, under his/her instruction, the two herd holders will move out of position to the sides of the arena and allow the competitor to drive the cow past them.  The competitor must drive the cow between the marker and corner of the pen and continue to drive the cow into the pen.  Only the cow needs to follow the course.

  7. A competitor will be penalized if he/she fails to pen the cow before the end of three minutes, or if the cow returns to the herd.

  8. A competitor that does not perform all of the required elements cannot be placed over a competitor that completes all the required elements of the class.


This class will be judged on the horse’s performance and natural ability.

Horses will not be penalised for reining during the cutting portion, but should display their natural cattle working ability.

If time and number of cattle permit, the judge may, at his discretion, award new cattle to enable the competitor to show his horse’s ability on the cow, based on the following criteria:

1. The cow won’t or can’t run.
2. The cow won’t leave the end of the arena.
3. The cow is blind or won’t yield to the horse.
4. The cow leaves the arena.

Ranch Cutting 1

Ranch Cutting 2

6. Working Ranch Horse

This class combines the reining ability and cow sense of the horse and will be judged on horse’s ability, cow sense, and smoothness.  Each competitor will perform individually, first completing the reining pattern, and then driving and roping one allocated cow.
  1. Each competitor will be allowed a maximum of 8 minutes to complete the class.  At the 6 minute mark there will be a two-minute warning whistle.  When the 8 minute time limit has expired, the competitor will be required to exit the arena.

  2. Each horse will be led into the ring saddled.  After entering the arena, the competitor must remove the bit completely from the horse’s mouth and re-bridle.  The competitor must then ground tie the horse and pick up all four of the horse’s feet.

  3. The competitor will then mount the horse and begin performing his pattern.

  4. Working Ranch Horse Pattern 1

    Working Ranch Horse 1

    Working Ranch Horse Pattern 1

    1. Begin at the centre. Complete 2 circles to the right, of moderate size and speed.

    2. Complete 2 circles to the left, of moderate size and speed.

    3. Begin a circle to the right. Go to the end of the arena without breaking gait.

    4. Run down the centre of the arena, and do a sliding stop.

    5. Hesitate, then roll back to the left.

    6. Run down the centre of the arena, and do a sliding stop.

    7. Hesitate, then roll back to the right.

    8. Begin a run down the centre of the arena, past the centre, and do a sliding stop.

    9. Back to the centre, or at least 10 feet.

    10. Let horse settle.

    11. Do 2 spins to the right.

    12. Do 2 spins to the left.

    13. Hesitate to show completion of pattern and approach the judge.

    Working Ranch Horse Pattern 2

    Working Ranch Horse 2

    Working Ranch Horse Pattern 2

    1. Lope down right hand side to far end of arena. Stop, and rollback to the right.

    2. Lope to other end of arena. Stop, and rollback to the left.

    3. Continue to centre of arena.

    4. Lope small, slow circle to the left.

    5. Lope small, medium speed circle to the right.

    6. Lope large, fast circle to the left.

    7. Lope large, fast circle to the right.

    8. Change leads, and continue down the left side of the arena.

    9. Stop and back 10 to 15 feet.

    10. Do 1 spin to the right or left.

    11. Do 1 spin in opposite direction.

    12. Hesitate, to show completion of pattern.

  5. After the competitor has completed his reining pattern, he will call for the cow to be turned into the arena. Upon receiving the cow, the competitor shall hold the cow at the prescribed end of the arena for 10 seconds to demonstrate the ability of the horse to contain the cow at that end. After a reasonable amount of time, the competitor shall take the cow down the fence, making at least one turn each way on the fence. The competitor must then rope the head of the cow. A ‘break away’ rope is mandatory. A miss incurs a 5 point penalty.

  6. A competitor who completes all the requirements of the class must be placed over another competitor who fails to complete the requirements.

  7. If time and number of cattle permit, the judge may, at his discretion, award new cattle to enable the competitor to show his horse’s ability on the cow, based on the following criteria:
              1. The cow won’t or can’t run.
              2. The cow won’t leave the end of the arena.
              3. The cow is blind or won’t yield to the horse.
              4. The cow leaves the arena.

A judge may add or subtract parts of the class according to the numbers of competitors.



All material Copyright ©British Rodeo Cowboys Association 2012