Adding Ranch Horse Pleasure to a Western Pleasure Show . . .

Because I complained about a lack of pleasure (non-contesting shows) at our 4-H club last year, this year I am in charge of creating (and running) one of the new pleasure shows. On the show bill, I have all the usual classes: halter, showmanship, English and Western pleasure, horsemanship (equitation for the English peeps) and then at the end of the show, I added a class of Ranch Horse Pleasure and a reining class to be held before a barrel and pole class --I am hoping to keep attendance high by having two gaming classes at the end --and MAYBE some of the gaming kids will try reining or Ranch horse just for kicks.

Here’s the question: I strongly believe that Ranch Horse Pleasure is a good class for contest riders to consider --to encourage them to enter, I wanted to offer $100 added money cash back (largest pay out of the show) --other “open” classes have $25 or $50 added money pay back --but I wanted Ranch Horse Pleasure to STAND OUT and attract lots of riders. Being the type that puts my money where my mouth is, I offered to put up the $100 added money and have the class sponsored by my Foxglove Farm.

And I have been told NO! -I CAN do a $25 or $50 cash back for Ranch Horse Pleasure --but not $100 “because people will be really mad about it and they’ll know you are just trying to make them try a ranch horse class.”

Yes --obviously! But so what? I think if more kids tried it, they’d like it (Pattern class score based on “ranch horse” standards --no banding, no fake tails, no hoof black, no clipping necessary, jeans and shirt with sleeves and helmet --ride two handed or one, change hands if you want to, snaffle or curb or whatever --all good).

Can someone enlighten me on why I shouldn’t add $100 to the pot for a class I support? And yes I have a kid who will be in the class, and she might even win the class, but that’s because she DOES ranch horse and would like other kids to do it too --so what (again) --it’s an open class --anyone can enter . . .

It is one class out of 33 --if that makes a difference . . . am I missing something here or is the Show Committee (who put me in charge of this) being weird?


I think you’re just going to have to go with my standard fallback explanation: People are crazy. :slight_smile:

Well, are you going to have a judge qualified to judge both regular pleasure and ranch horse?
Are you going to allow cross entry form the regular pleasure classes?
Makes more sense to offer a novice type pleasure class
I have friends that do Ranch horse versatility
Here is the page for the Alberta Ranch horse Versatility Riding part, with the way it is judged.
If you have that class , you will need to provide whoever is judging, with the rules for that class., which does not include switching hands!

Ranch horse please does not mean anything goes, unless you are inventing a new class

all Ranch Horse Classes, horses will be shown in a
western saddle and appropriate bridle, snaffle bit or
hackamore for the duration of the class. Silver equipment
will not count over a good working outfit. Horses 5 yrs old
and younger may be shown in a snaffle bit, hackamore,
curb bit, half-breed or spade bit. Horses 6 yrs and older
may only be shown in a curb bit, half-breed or spade bit.
When a curb is used a curb strap or curb chain is required,
it must be at least one-half inch in width and lie flat against
the jaw of the horse. Curb chains cannot be tied to the
bit with string or cord. A broken strap

You can click on the link and read the entire rules

Wouldn’t $50 do the same thing? I’m with you -Ranch Pleasure looks like real riding and I’d love it to catch on. I believe in your agenda, but make it a little more subtle.

Or you can find a wicked awesome exhibition rider to wow the heck out of everyone!


You still have to go by Ranch horse competition rules, which follows bit rules, among other things
I think it might be a good idea, but you have to then have that class judged like a ranch horse pleasure class, as there are standards, and Ranch horse does not mean, anything goes, far as bits, and bit rules, among other things
If you want a class where just anything goes, then call it some kind of novice/ green horse class

I am with KIloBright in that you might have an issue finding a judge that knows how to judge the Ranch class and the Reining, as well as the open show classes.

You may also want to just make it a misc class with simplified rules, otherwise kids that also want to do showmanship (and have the hoof black) can’t do this class.

Keep the peace, and drop your sponsorship to $50. Doesn’t seem worth arguing about.

I would caution you about sponsoring or adding money to a class that one of your own kids might win. I know that is not your reasoning but people will say that you are doing it for just your kids. I know that is not fair but it will happen.

I would instead spread your sponsorship across all of the classes. To promote participation provide awards or other incentives for the highest placings combined (average) in both a speed and a pleasure class.

I agree I think Ranch Pleasure (AQHA rules) would be great class for many 4-Hers who do not think they have a pleasure horse.
Anyone who judges by AQHA rules should be able to judge both reining and ranch pleasure.
I would suggest using green rules for reining.

Won’t all the Western Pleasure riders enter the Ranch class also, especially if you offer more money?

Maybe instead of doing $100 for the Ranch class, can you do a special award for the rider who accumulates the most points in Ranch + Speed (or any other combo), as well as the cash for the Ranch class?

i don’t think the issue really is about the added money, but by having someone know how to judge by Ranch horse versatility rules, as that organization has rules like any other show organization
Your point on just calling it Ranch horse, and then saying anything gos, like two hand on a curb, no bit rules,a s to age, switching hands etc, does not make it a Ranch horse pleasure class
WHy not just have that novice class I mentioned, as that is the type of class that will keep those experienced western pleasure riders out of it, plus those classes do have things like exemption from regular standard rules, which seems to be your goal, and not just the way the horse goes ,or dress.
I see no reason that you couldn’t add money to a novice pleasure class

I will make sure that the judge is qualified in Ranch Horse judging as well as the English and Western judging --already have a list of names of judges who are qualified in both.

From what I understand (and I could be wrong) two hands are allowed with a snaffle, not with a curb.

As far as money-back for ranch horse --I’m finding sponsors for all the cash back classes, (there are 10 added money classes ranging from $25-50. There are other sponsors than me kicking in the added money) just felt like Ranch Horse Pleasure was my idea, so I should sponsor that one.

The only difference between my show and the AQHA ranch horse rules is that I WOULD allow WP riders to cross enter Ranch Horse Pleasure because I think it would be good to see that the WP horses DON’T win Ranch Horse Pleasure --and second, the more kids who enter, the more kids might like it. My kid left WP to ride ranch horse because she said it was more fun --maybe some others will too. BUT --the judge may not allow cross entry --and I may have to rethink that decision . . .

As to sponsoring classes my own kid wins --that’s been happening to many of us in the riding club for years. 30 years ago I built jumps and pushed for over fence classes --and I sponsored all of them until other people took it over, then they sponsored the classes --same with dressage --there was no dressage in our county until I (personally --just me and my kids) put on dressage clinics and sponsored classes. Yep, my kids won a bunch of them, but so did other people’s kids. Now it’s a pretty lively group. My point is that by offering BIG BUCKs I hoped to attract gaming riders to try Ranch Horse. There are only about 10 kids who tried it at the show last year, and my kid is the only one who actually shows in it regularly.

On the show bill, I put Ranch Horse Pleasure as the class before contesting starts, hoping that if someone’s in the saddle and sees --hey, I could win some $ -he or she might try the Ranch Horse Class . . .

As for a Novice Pleasure class --there’s a whopping lot of difference between Ranch Horse and Western Pleasure. Many of the gaming kids LEFT WP because it was “no fun” --ranch horse adds (I think) the fun back in.

Thank you for all your posts --it is truly helpful to see other opinions!


From what I understand (and I could be wrong) two hands are allowed with a snaffle, not with a curb.

Yes, that is standard, but not what I understood from your first post

The only reason I suggested a novice class, because in your original post, you said, changing hands, two hands, without specifying type of bit, were all ‘good’

Now that you are going to use Ranch horse pleasure rules , makes a difference

Far as cross entery, that is the decision of a show committee, and not the judge

Beware though, if you do allow cross entries, you might find a judge chosing a horse you don’t think is moving as a Ranch horse, IF, that horse is more broke, steady than any of the Games horses, thus picking the 'lesser of the two evils"

I think your heart is in the right place, Foxglove, but I kinda agree with the “keep the sponsorship at $50”.

because, (1) RHP will succeed on its own. People want an entry level class but don’t want to make their horse move like WP. Have you seen the entry numbers for RHP around the country? It is HUGE.

And (2) it looks like you’re just funding your kid. Maybe you could do $50 for RHP and $50 for reining.

I bet kids will flock to this class, like everyone else is doing, even without the financial bonus.

Do whatever you want. You are in charge of organizing.

If anyone doesn’t like it, well guess what? They are going to be the one to organize it next year. :wink:

Last year, I went to a horse show where they had everything from English to Western Pleasure to reining and speed events. All the classes were for the end of day points for prizes; you didn’t get any money. EXCEPT the “ranch horse challenge”, “working horse challenge”, and “open barrels”. In those events only, the winner got $100 plus a cut of the $25 entry fees (per person per challenge), and 2nd got $50 and 3rd got $25.

We all loved the events and the extra added money. No one cared that only those events had added money. And there were WP horses in the ranch classes … And they didn’t win those classes.

But its all for fun!!

Like I said, you are organizing the show. Plan it how you want it. If someone doesn’t like it, then they can do it next year. You’ll never make everyone happy.

Decided to follow advice here and keep the added money at $50 --am making doubly sure the judge is qualified in both E-W and Ranch Horse. I have printed the proposed show bill and just need approval to start advertising --the show isn’t until June 13 -but many of the publications have end of February to publish show bills. If I catch a break on the weather --it should be a success --and if it isn’t, it will still be the best show I can manage!


Be careful what you wish for… the RHP is an individual work class, and the first shows in AQHA had 40 entries = takes awhile to run.

Also, you might have the judge speak to the class at the in-gate and tell them what he/she wants to see to score high. AQHA RHP took a full year to sort out the judging between extremes of “Fast Pleasure” or “Slow Reining”.

I think my plan will work, even if I have 40+ ranch horse peeps --Ranch horse is the last class before gaming, and since I am NOT familiar with a gaming type of show, setting up things, the clock, the rules, etc, the entire show will transfer to the people who know what they are doing for the last six classes of barrels and poles. We’ll close entries at that point, and total the books --finish our payouts and be done for the day. I wish Ranch horse would catch on a bit more–keeping fingers crossed! Good idea to have the judge speak!