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Class Specifications

Ranch Riding


Ranch Riding is a pattern class where each horse and rider team performs the pattern individually. There is no rail work – only pattern. The following description is from the USEF Ranch Riding section of the rulebook, Subchapter WS- Ranch Riding Section. This description includes pattern elements, attire/equipment, gaits, and penalties. The purpose of the ranch riding class is to measure the ability of the horse to be a pleasure to ride while being used as a means of conveyance from performing one ranch task to another. The horse should reflect the versatility, attitude and movement of a working ranch horse riding outside the confines of an arena. The horse should be well-trained, relaxed, quiet, soft and cadenced at all gaits. The ideal ranch horse will travel with forward movement and demonstrate an obvious lengthening of stride at extended gaits. The horse can be ridden with light contact or on a relatively loose rein
without requiring undue restraint, but not show on a full drape of reins. The overall manners and responsiveness of the ranch riding horse to make timely transitions in a smooth and correct manner, as well as the quality of the movement are of primary considerations. The ideal ranch riding horse shall have a natural head carriage at each gait.

Ranch Rail Pleasure


The purpose of the ranch rail pleasure class is to measure the ability of the horse to be a pleasure to ride while being used as a means of conveyance from one ranch task to another and should reflect the versatility, attitude, and movement of a working horse. The horse should be well-broke, quiet, and willing to perform for the rider. The horse should be ridden with light contact and without requiring undue restraint. The horse should be responsive to the rider and make timely transitions in a smooth and correct manner. The horse should be quiet in the bridle and yield to contact from the rein. The ideal ranch horse should carry his/her head in a natural position comfortable for the individual at each gait. In all gaits, movements of the ranch rail pleasure horse should simulate a horse needing to cover long distances softly and quietly, like that of a working ranch horse. This class should show the horse’s ability to work at a forward working speed while under control by the rider. The overall manners and responsiveness of the horse while performing the maneuver requirements and the horse’s quality of movement are the primary consideration. This class is intended as a rail class but individuals working off the rail will not be penalized.

Ranch Trail


The Ranch Trail class should test the horse’s ability to cope with situations encountered while being ridden through a pattern of obstacles generally found during the course of everyday ranch work. The horse/rider team is judged on the correctness, efficiency and pattern accuracy with which the obstacles are negotiated, and the attitude and mannerisms exhibited by the horse. Judging emphasis is on identifying the well broke, responsive, and well-mannered horse which can correctly navigate and negotiate the course. The ideal ranch trail horse should have a natural appearance from head to tail in all maneuvers.



The purpose of this class is to bring forth the versatility in both the ranch horse and exhibitor, in the task of performing the designated pattern constructed of both Ranch Trail obstacles and Ranch Riding maneuvers. Obstacles and maneuvers are to be judged to the standards written in Ranch Trail and Ranch Riding in each part of the patterns that pertains to these classes.

Field/Sport Hunter FAQ

What classes are offered in this division?

There are currently four classes in this division.  Working Hunter Under Saddle, a rail class, Working Hunt Seat equitation, a pattern class no jump, Handy hunter, pattern class with obstacles and a jump,  a Working Hunter class of jumps only, no rail.


What is the difference between the Working hunter under saddle and the Country Hunter Under Saddle?

The main difference in these classes is the frame of the horse.  The Working hunter will have a lower more forward headset and less motion while executing the walk, extended walk, trot, extended trot, canter and extended canter.  The true Working hunter should be a horse that can go forward in the hunt field with style, courage and manners.


What equipment is used for a Working Hunter?

A working hunter will be shown in a traditional Hunt seat saddle (no saddle seat saddles or dressage saddles), Hunter type snaffle or Pelham bridle with cavesson noseband. Kimberwicke, snaffle or pelham bit is allowed.  The curb must not exceed 4”.  No protective boots or wraps are allowed.  Martingales, standing or running are not permitted with the exception of standing martingale in Working hunter over fences. Converters on Pelhams and Kimberwicke bits not permitted.  Full cheek snaffles must have appropriate keepers.  Breast collar is permitted.


How should a Working hunter be groomed?

The horse should be clean and brushed.  Clipping of the muzzle, ears and bridle path is acceptable.  Horses may have a braided or unbraided mane and tail.   It is recommended that longer manes be braided while shorter manes may be left unbraided.  Tail switches are allowed.  Tails may be braided. “Banging” or cutting of the bottom of the tail is acceptable.


What gaits are required in this division?

Walk, extended walk, trot, extended trot, canter and extended canter.  The extended canter should be an obvious lengthening of stride from the canter but NEVER a full- on run or race.  Excessive speed at the extended canter is to be penalized.


How should a working Hunter carry himself?

A working hunter should display a natural head position for the individual with an attentive expression.  A working hunter should be penalized for being over bridled (behind the bit), a very high necked, hinged head carriage or an exceptionally low head carriage.  A rider should have light contact with the reins.  An overly tight rein or an exceptionally loose rein is to be penalized.  A working hunter should be self-carried without undue restraint from his rider.  Excessive motion is not point earning while the ability to move forward and cover appropriate ground is point earning.  Good manners are imperative.


What is the dress code for the working Hunter?

The dress for this division is conservative.  A short, dark colored coat (navy, black, brown or dark green) closed collar shirt with a tie, stock tie or choker, tan, khaki or rust breeches, tall dress or field boots, dark colored protective head gear or hunt cap.  No rhinestone adornment of boots, helmet, choker, coat or jacket is allowed. No brocades, raised patterns or glossy/metallic/shiny materials shall be worn. ASTM/SEI approved helmet with harness is required for all over fences classes.


What maneuvers might be in an equitation pattern?

An equitation pattern will have a variety of maneuvers including gait transitions, turns on the haunches or forehand, halt, back and sidepass.  Riders will work individually and may be asked to work on the rail one or both directions.



What is the Handy hunter class?

Handy hunter entries will be asked to jump a pattern posted 30 minutes prior to class with at least one jumping effort.  A rail portion will immediately follow with all horses in the class participating at the walk, extended walk, trot, extended trot, canter and extended canter.  Judging will include two scores, one over fences and one rail score added together to determine the winner. The score will be 70% over fence and 30% rail. Suggested fence height will be 18”-2’3”.


What is a Working Hunter class?

Working hunter is a full Hunter course of jumps with no rail work.   A minimum of 4 jumps with 8 efforts is optimal.  Jump heights and courses should be made available at least 30 min. prior to start of class. Suggested fence height is 2’-2’3” and can be higher depending on the entries in the class.

Academy Division


Coming Soon

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