Ranch Horse Association of America
One of the very special events associated with the Ranch Rodeo is the Ranch Horse Competition. Watching the real cowboy and the real ranch horse work together is an opportunity to see a connection between horse and rider that is found nowhere else.
The Ranch Horse Competition has been a part of this Ranch Rodeo weekend since the very beginning. The sponsoring Ranch Horse Association of America (rhaa.org) was formed in the late 1998 as a means of showcasing the special relationship between actual working horses and actual working cowboys. The RHAA sanctions local working ranch horse competitions, provides a uniform set of rules, qualifies working ranch horse competition judges and promotes uniformity and consistency in judging. The RHAA seeks to accomplish these goals while maintaining traditional Western influence with historic Western sportsmanship and a cowboy ethic. The working cowboy relies on the horse and the relationship/partnership they have formed to do his job. That working partnership is a wonder to watch.
The RHAA National Finals are held each year in conjunction with the Western Heritage Classic in Abilene. Riders qualify for the finals by placing well at an RHAA-approved show during the year. Classes are divided into Youth, Box Drive Box Drive, Wrangler, Cowboy, Ranch Hand, Junior and Senior.
Like the Youth competition, there is a five minute time frame and the work is divided into 3 segments. In the 1st segment, the cowboy is doing a pattern that shows off the maneuvers that his horse does best---rollbacks, lead changes, circles, stops and backups.
Then the 2nd segment begins when the cowboy calls for the cow and and the horse will hold it on one end of the arena and then take it down the side of the arena and back to show that the horse is in control.
In the final segment, they show their roping skills. They rope the cow around the neck and get it stopped and drag it where it needs to be.
The cowboy and horse are penalized for any kind of inhumane treatment.
For additional information including entry information, call Kyle Peebles at 432-631-5715.