Ranch Horse Versatility Fans Wanted

SUBMITTED BY JAN ROSE

The newly-formed Alberta Ranch Horse Versatility Association is seeking new members.

President Russ McKenzie says the ARHVA is organized like its counterpart in Saskatchewan, organized two years ago. Currently, there are 12 members in Central Alberta from Entwistle to Two Hills. They are under the auspices of the American Quarter Horse Association and follow its rules.

Membership is not restricted to owners of Quarter Horses, but open to any breed from stock to purebred, McKenzie explains. The purpose is to promote better horses and to give people a new venue.

There are five classifications in the association:

Ranch Riding is rail-type class that showcases a horse’s movement at the walk, trot and lope. Stops, back-ups and turns are also demonstrated. In some shows all horses are in the arena simultaneously with the judge calling for a gait. In others, horse and rider are alone following a prescribed pattern. Horses are judged on obedience, transitions, purity of gait, and correct leads.

Ranch Trail is a six-obstacle course that a working horse might encounter in regular work. Horses work at a walk, trot and lope while following a pattern. Working a gate is a mandatory obstacle, and dragging a log. Also mandatory is dismounting, unbridling, and re-bridling.

Ranch Cutting uses a small herd of cattle released into the arena and a specific cow’s number is called. Horse and rider have 2.5 minutes to locate the cow, cut it from the herd and prevent it from returning to the herd, then penning the animal at the arena’s opposite end. Turn-back riders help keep the herd from interfering with cutting and keeping the cattle at the end of the arena. Riders aren’t penalized for aiding their horse by reining. But the horse should display some natural herding instinct and working the cow on its own.

Working Ranch Horse category is comprised of a reining pattern, working a single cow, and roping a cow. The rider has six minutes to complete the task.

Ranch Conformation is a halter class held at day’s end. Horses enter the arena singly. The horse is trotted to a cone, turned left and lined up parallel to the wall for a judge’s inspection. Horses are judged as to their suitability to ranch work, their breed standard. Stock-type horses are more desirable then draft, race horses or racers. Sexes are judged together.

Further information can be obtained by telephoning (403) 746-5631 or by email: lazyrmranchhorses@hotmail.com.