Ranch Riding cross entries

I have a nice Paint that I have been showing in some APHA Ranch classes, but he is a decent English horse as well. I really would like to take him in some other classes besides Ranch when I have made the effort to go to a show. Any suggestions?

Just a quick look at the APHA rule book regarding ranch classes:

  1. No horse may cross enter into any other western pleasure or hunter under
    saddle class at the same show
1 Like

Are you showing APHA?

They also offer ranch rail now (ie ranch pleasure). If you show in amateur you can do hunt seat equitation, which is a pattern english class.

You could also try dressage, which isn’t an APHA class but you should be able to do it through PAC, and would fit very well with ranch classes. If you show western dressage you don’t even have to change your equipment or clothes!

As mentioned, APHA shows and most PAC shows have rules about cross entering from ranch into other divisions. I can understand the reasoning. In developing and growing the ranch riding division, they want to emphasize the characteristics of a true “ranch type” horse. It also makes a place for those horses that are athletic, responsive, working horses that just aren’t going to be competitive in other rail classes.

I have the same dilemma as the OP: I’m trying to put some show miles on a young Paint horse, so if I’m hauling 2 hours to a show, I’d like to do more than just a few ranch classes.

So I am doing an open (schooling) show series where I can do both the ranch division and trail classes. It’s a good fit for this particular horse. There would be an uproar, I’m sure, if I tried to do western pleasure or a hunter under saddle class. (Not that my mare would fit in either of those. It would be laughable) :laughing:

Thanks Kelo…I am showing APHA and have shown my gelding in Dressage before, but I am looking for other classes I could do while I am at the APHA show. So far I think I can do trail, Western Horsemanship, and Am English Equitation. The show is a bit of a haul and I would like to maximize the classes I could go into.

We seldom get many competitors in Ranch in my area ( I was the only entry at the last show). I wish the APHA would change the cross entry rules for small shows. I am sure that I was the only entry into the 2 Ranch classes I was able to do, because no one else was willing to suck it up and not enter other classes.

I’m in Arizona and the ranch classes used to be very small here, too. Now they usually have a dozen to 15+ entries. Even the ranch reining class fills.

It used to be that the ranch classes were a place where the horses that couldn’t do a decent pleasure lope would end up. Now people-- especially older ammies— are buying not-quite-stellar reiners and doing the APHA ranch division. So it’s getting pretty competitive, at least out here.

I am on the East coast of Canada and the shows and population are small.

Well, why not enter him in English?

I show AQHA so I’m not sure how similar the rules are to APHA, but for the post that Tree made, AQHA is the same in that if you do the ranch classes you cannot enter WP or HUS. But you can enter Hunt Seat Equitation!!! So I do that. I was super proud this summer when my barrel horse / ranch horse went in and WON one of the HSE classes. So awesome! He is so well-rounded and just does whatever I ask.

Depending on the ranch classes offered, I might also do reining at shows. I don’t expect to pin real well at those b/c my horses don’t do real sliding stops and are spins are real fast, but we can still do a nice correct pattern and I figure we might as well while we are there anyway. But this past year, they did have Ranch Reining (which I did) at the show and therefore could not enter the regular Reining class because of the cross entry rules. So just check the APHA rule book on what you can or can’t cross enter when doing the classes.

1 Like

You could show in trail at the same show? My daughter did this in AQHA, just putting miles on her 3yo ranch/reining bred mare. Even showed her in a halter class so there would be enough people for the top finishers to get points. :slight_smile:

Yes, I was thinking trail too. The classes I have seen look better suited to a western pleasure going horse…the poles are very close for loping, but it would be something to practise and work towards.I wish the APHA show here would do Ranch Trail…maybe I need to get more involved with the club and advocate for it :slight_smile:

I think this rule is pretty ridiculous, and makes it seem like they are protecting the ranch division from horses that are more versatile.

The ranch divisions around here are… dicey at best. I know they aren’t allowed any silver on the saddle, but man it would be great if they could brush their horses before they come, and get their tack clean.

Again, speaking for around here - it’s a division for the horses that would not be competitive anywhere else, hence the need for protection.

It’s too bad the rule still stands. Protection for the Ranch horse makes no sense here…there aren’t any to protect :slight_smile: I know one of our delegates went to the convention last year to see if this rule could be changed, but there was a definite NO from those with a “pony in this race”.

Around here the ranch horse shows/classes are filled with horses that are real ranch horses that get “taken to town” so the crossover rule makes sense.

1 Like

Actually, I think they are trying to protect the ranch division from becoming another class where dragging your nose & crawling along is acceptable. don’t want expensive WP/trail horses coming in and getting pinned w/ completely inappropriate movement because they have a name/reputation behind them.


I agree. I went to a QH show right as the ranch classes were approved and happened to be sitting behind where the judges and their scribes sat when they came back from the lunch break. A girl rode in on obviously a western all-around/pleasure horse. And crawled through the ranch riding pattern.

One judge said to his scribe, in an annoyed tone, “what is she doing in this class? She is wasting our time.”

They separated the divisions to give the “ranchy” horses who are free movers without all the silver and bling a place to compete. And now that division is usually the largest in the shows.


I love the class. It is a good class for horses that aren’t specialists & it is a fun class to ride.
My current horse is a large appendix that I do the RR & over fences classes on. He can place well, because he is willing to move out & does good transitions etc, even though he isn’t the typcial little cowhorse.

1 Like

That’s because most horses aren’t specialized enough to go against the specialty bred WP horses. Your run of the mill horse isn’t competitive there, so they go in the “catch all” class : the ranch horse.

If I wanted to show my TB in an english HUS saddle class, then go into a ranch class - why shouldn’t I be able to do that? If I can do the pattern, why would I be prohibited from doing that?

If you have good judges, it shouldn’t matter if a WP horse is in the class. If they’re looking for bigger freer movement (“freer” keeping in mind a lot of WP horses can do both WP and HUS so that’s a joke), then they need to pin that. Not prohibit a horse from entering the class because it’s too specialized - if the real ranch horse is what they’re looking for, then there should be no reason why a real ranch horse wouldn’t place above a “hack” WP horse.

For comparison, there’s nothing prohibiting cross entries the other way. Why is that?

It makes it look like a participation trophy class. Only the “rejects” allowed. And if you watch some of the “championships”, with riders clinging to the horn during the “extended trot” …

There is no reason why a WP or HUS horse can’t cross over into this discipline, unless they’re trying to protect their “clientele”. … which they are…

And, correct me if I’m wrong, do I see a Clinton Anderson brand on this horse?

So this horse was trained to the nines for reining (you can tell by that spin…), yet there he is in the ranch class. Perhaps that type of cross entry should be prohibited too?

Who cares if there’s a bunch of rejects from other classes in the ranch class?
At least they found a place. Most cutter/cowhorse/reiner rejects end up as a ranch horse or go to the roping or barrel pen anyhow.
And because I really don’t know, where does the WP rejects end up?

I agree the judge should pin to the class description but we’ve found it doesn’t always work that way and the class evolves. I don’t care if I show against the WP people but I get why they are keeping them out for now. I’m not there to win I’m there to school. Granted I’m not showing AQHA because I’m not going to pay the fees but they generally use the crossover rule on the local weekend shows.

Edited to add…the “hanging on horn”, is used in the south western states cowboying. Standing in the stirrups off the horses back while trotting out in a saddle that typically sets you back on your pockets.
Up here, not so much, we post.

Those cowboys better hope they don’t have to handle a rope while trotting out then, not enough hands. :slight_smile: