By Patty Wilber
Recently, in the horse show world, there has been an explosion of Ranch Horse classes. They are a lot of fun. Here are some reasons.
1. You can wear chinks instead of chaps. I love my chinks! I had some custom made by Judith McCollum, and they are attractive, but even better is that you can walk around without having to fold up the bottom or trip over the fringe!
2.You can enter all the ranch classes and never have to change your clothes. That may seem silly, but I once was at a show where I had to have FIVE different outfits. I really don’t like to change my clothes, especially when we are talking midsummer in the windowless
sweatbox tackroom of my stock trailer.
3. Lots of different types of horses, moving in a variety of ways, can be successful at the Ranch Horse classes.
The classes are Ranch Trail, Ranch Riding (a pattern class), Ranch Rail (ride around the arena at the different gaits, but not too slow), and Ranch Conformation (horse is judged on its build). I have not yet tried Ranch Conformation, but for Appaloosas, it has to be after the riding classes, (and the horse has to have been in at least one of the riding classes), and I guess you just pull the saddle and get judged, sweat marks and all…
I have a video (thanks Siri K., my friend, not a phone app!) of Indy doing a good job in a Walk-Trot Ranch Trail class at the New Mexico Buckskin’s show last Saturday. I didn’t get video of the walk trot lope pattern, and we didn’t do a such good job on that one, so not sure I’d be showing it in public anyway!
Ranch Trail has different obstacles (e.g. throw a rope, drag a log, dismount, remount, ground tie) than “regular” trail classes and the patterns are not usually as tight. The poles are sometimes natural logs instead of painted poles.