• USEF Network Reminder, if you missed last weekend's @platinumperf /USEF Talent Search Finals East, all the phases are on demand: http://t.co/rWn0vVDgFb 10/8/2015 4:27:26 PM
  • USEF Network .@Noelle_Floyd You are correct, our bad! 10/8/2015 1:43:18 PM
  • USEF Network We will have the @nsbits /USEF Junior Jumping Championship and Pessoa/USEF Medal Final available to watch on-demand early next week 10/7/2015 5:04:58 PM
  • USEF Network @cnnsport chatted with Laura Sumrall about her winning freestyle reining performance to Frozen's 'Let it Go': http://t.co/2HQGd21Zw0 10/6/2015 4:10:05 PM
  • USEF Network .@PicChick1 The top 10 results were just live streamed. Top 4 in order: Tori, McKayla, Hunter, TJ. Will post complete results ASAP 10/4/2015 2:42:38 PM
  • USEF Network .@PicChick1 We streamed all the way through the awards. If you missed it we will have it all available on demand early next week. 10/4/2015 2:41:16 PM
  • USEF Network We have posted the 4 rides from the final round of the ride-off on our Facebook page for anyone that missed it: https://t.co/vW5x7JMsgd 10/4/2015 2:36:30 PM
  • USEF Network Leading Trainer: Andre Dignelli 10/4/2015 2:32:42 PM
  • USEF Network Grapa Trophy (Best Horse) winner: Skyfall owned by Linda Langmeier 10/4/2015 2:31:23 PM
  • USEF Network Talent Search Finals East 2015 Champion: Tori Colvin riding Avalanche 10/4/2015 2:24:43 PM

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The discipline of Western is as broad in spectrum as the vast plains of the Old West from which it originates. There are a multitude of classes from which to choose, from Western pleasure to trail to working cow horse; yet all classes share the same heritage in the working ranch horse of America’s past. Horses are shown in Western stock saddles, often trimmed in silver, and riders don familiar-looking Western attire[...] (although it can be somewhat more reminiscent of the cowboys and cowgirls of TV fame than that of the working ranch hand’s simple and plain clothing). Still, the roots are there. The leather chaps originally designed to protect a cowboy’s legs while riding and working and also to keep his clothing from tangling with the tumbleweed, bramble and other brush encountered on the trail, are still worn in today’s show ring. And, of course, the iconic broad-brimmed cowboy hat remains relatively unchanged from its 1800s predecessor.

The duties of the modern competition Western horse also remind us of the daily tasks required of a working ranch horse. From picking his way through a timber-covered or thickly-brushed countryside— as demonstrated today by the modern trail horse’s precise maneuvering through an intricately-structured course of obstacles— to swiftly maneuvering and corralling a wayward steer or calf at branding time— as demonstrated by the modern day working cow horse as he deftly sorts a steer from the herd and then drives it through several compulsory moves in a timed run. Although the American stock breeds (Quarter Horses, Paints, etc.) have long been considered favorites for this discipline, there are Western classes custom-tailored for virtually every breed. And, since there’s a little cowboy in all of us, no one will have any trouble finding a class suited to his or her specific interests or level of riding. The thrill of the Old West is alive and well in the equestrian discipline of Western.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Are junior exhibitors allowed to show stallions in the Western Division?

    According to WS101, stallions are prohibited in junior exhibitor classes. However, a junior exhibitor may show a stallion in an open or amateur class if eligible.

  • Do I have to wear a necktie in my Western Pleasure class?

    In the open western division neckties are not required attire (see WS104.2). However, if the class is restricted to a certain breed it may be required. It would be best to refer to the appropriate rule within your breed division.

  • May I use a hackamore on my five-year-old gelding?

    According to WS105.4, hackamores are permitted in any class on a junior horse five years old and under.

  • Are romal rein converters legal?

    It would depend on the design. Any rein design or other device which increases the effective length and thereby the leverage of the shank of a standard western bit is prohibited. According to WS105.2, if the design does not increase the effective length of the shank, then it would be acceptable. If there is any doubt, consult the steward at the competition.

  • How much can reins weigh?

    We do not have a maximum amount for the weight of the reins. However, if the judge feels that the weight of the reins increases the leverage of the shank then the horse can be penalized, in accordance with WS105.2.

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Staff Contact

Western questions? You can email or call Jennifer Mellenkamp, Western Director. You can also go to the Staff Directory for a more detailed list of numbers.

859 225 6955

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