I just saw that a local saddle club is doing a 1st annual Ranch Horse Competition at the end of the month and I am super excited to try it out!
I've never done a Ranch Horse Competition before so I have a few questions.
1) I do not have any show chaps of any kind, except I do have leather chinks. Would this be acceptable for a RHC or am I better off just wearing my bare jeans? I would wear the chinks if you got them.
2) I am assuming the gate obstacle is handled just like in a Competitive Trail Class. Most of the ranch horse shows I have been to the gate obstacle has been a rope between two posts or jump standards. But be prepared to having to use the entry gate of the arena for your gate obstacle.
3) I assume I have to pack my own rope for the dummy roping. I don't actually own a roping saddle (nor do I actually rope .... this is just for fun!), and I only have my barrel saddle, so I'd probably have to jimmy rig something to make it "look nice" to have my rope tied to my saddle. I would pack your own rope if you have one. (you can practice roping a bucket off your horse before the show if you don't have a dummy). I think someone mentioned above, I just skimmed, sorry I will go back and read, take a thin piece of leather maybe 1/3 wide and 1' long. Cut a slit on each end so that you can slide it over your horn but not to big so it can't come up over it trotting around. Put one end over your horn and wrap it around your coils as many times needed(3 or4 usually) and then pop the other end over the horn to secure it.
4) For the reining pattern, my horse can do flying lead changes but the pattern doesn't state that. I'd assume I'd be docked if I do that. So what's the most proper way to do a simple lead change? Do one stride of a trot? Do a couple trotting strides?? Since they are using a junior pattern I am thinking they are allowing a simple change but if you can do flying lead changes I would.
5) When I ask him my horse to drop his bit, is there any special "technique" to this? (I know of the "proper" technique to dismount, but not sure about taking off the bridle.) I would do it like taking a bridle off, If I am riding with split reins I move the reins up the neck closer to the poll so I have control or a handle if he steps away, undo my throatlatch, pull it off over the ears, have him spit it the bit out in my hand to display to the judge but I still keep hold of the top of the headstall with my arm up over my head so I can quickly rebridle and exit.
6) For loading into the trailer, is it more correct to lead your horse onto the trailer, or more correct to "send" them onto the trailer? I have done it both ways.
7) For the conformation class afterward, can I use a silver show halter or is that too fancy for a RHC? Also, I normally put protective sport boots on my horse's legs for any reining pattern, but it will make his white socks dirty for the conformation class. Although I guess I could rinse him off in-between if I have time ..... but there's a chance I could be the last senior to go and have to quick unsaddle and come back for the confo class. Most ranch horse classes frown upon the use of excessive silver. I have used a nice, well fitting rope halter or a plain leather halter. I seen horses at a big AQHA Ranch Versatility Show in Dallas shown in the conformation class with still wet saddle marks because they were the last in the dry work before the conformation class. If you got time- clean him up, if not I think the judges understand.
8) Any other tips you can give me for a RHC? I see some folks really foul up the log drag portion. Practice dragging at home first. When you dally- do NOT look at your horn, you should know where it's at. And dally counter clockwise. Make sure you dally at a good length so it is not 30 ft behind you but not so close that the log bangs the back of his legs. Do not just take off at 9-0 not looking behind you, learn to ride using your peripheral vision, looking to make sure your horse is straight, rein hand in the middle, and looking to see what your log is doing. It is supposed to be simulating necking and dragging a calf. When you get past your marker with the log, face your horse to the log keeping your rope tight, ride forward slightly to give your rope some slack while popping your dallies straight up off the horn, not undallying, clockwise. It sounds like you just have to drag in a straight line, so I won't go into having to drag around obstacles. Have fun! I love ranch horse shows!
--10 minute time limit
to complete entire pattern. All competitors will have 3 attempts only at each obstacle on the pattern and then will be asked to move to next obstacle on pattern.
--After each group has completed their pattern, the entire age group will re-enter the arena unsaddled for a judged confirmation class. If you are competing on more than one horse, please have the additional horse/horses ready for the confirmation class and inform the judge of the additional horses so we can allow time for you to bring the additional horse into the arena to be judged. Pattern for Seniors
Open gate, walk through and close gate
Drag log from one cone to the next cone
Carry bucket from one barrel to another
Dummy Roping on horseback (three loops)
Complete reining pattern—we will be using ND 4H Reining pattern # 1
Ride over to trailer
Drop bit and re-bridle
Pick up all four feet
Load in trailer and unload