I’m stoked about the upcoming year and the possibility of showing in this cool new class, ranch pleasure. It’s technically been around for a while, but has recently been added to the AQHA roster. It was added in 2012, but only as open classes, and in 2013 they expanded the class to youth, amateur, and select amateur. This year, due to all the class’s popularity, they are offering junior and senior distinctions in the open classes, also level 1 for youth and amateur. AQHA has even ratcheted up the points needed to qualify for the world shows. All of this excites me because it shows how quickly the class is becoming popular, and now is the time to act and get in on the action.
I’ve been struggling with finding the right class for Hot Rod and I to compete in, and this seems to fit the bill. I love the western riding and I won’t give up on that dream, but this is perfect for where we are right now. The class encourages horses to move in a more forward-moving way, as if on a working ranch. Rein contact is a must, and the horse’s topline isn’t nearly as flat as the western pleasure classes. It is a pattern class with a number of maneuvers your horse is judged on, including a side-pass, turns, lead changes, extended trots and lopes, and passing over logs. There are five approved AQHA patterns for 2014. This seems so much more interesting than just a regular pleasure class!
To give you an idea of what it looks like, here is the winner at the 2012 world show: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7XfhckFS80
The class is also different in rider attire and the horse’s turnout. Riders wear clothes similar to what you would wear on a ranch, such as a button-up shirt, jeans, and chaps. A good, well-shaped hat is a must. Horses are not supposed to clipped, have hoof polish, or have banded manes. Silver is also discouraged on tack, so I have traded in my Crates all-purpose saddle (with silver), for a Dale Chavez lady reiner. I’m committed!
The only problem is, it is hard to come by at open shows here in Oklahoma. It is offered at the big breed shows, but if I want to start off smaller I’m going to have a hard time finding an outlet. In my search for shows, I have stumbled upon a really interesting association called the Oklahoma Stock Horse Association. They specialize in only a few stock type classes, including the ranch pleasure. Though they are a bit far from me, I’m still willing to visit their shows.
All I need is a lead change and we’re ready to go! 🙂