Ranch riding is challenging because it requires you to learn how to adjust under the pressure of competition. Whether you’re an experienced rider new to show, or you have a well-trained horse and want to get started competing, there is always something new to learn and improve upon.
Here are a few things you should know before you show in ranch riding!
Master Basic Maneuvers
A typical ranch riding pattern will include these gaits:
- Extended walk
- Extended Trot
You’ll go through all the gaits as you work your pattern solo in the arena. A typical run includes more walking, trotting, and extended trotting than loping. You want to focus on that extended trot transition, from a lope to an extended trot. It’s a good maneuver, and that extended trot can positively impact your score!
Get Familiar with Your Landmarks
Knowing your landmarks is probably the most important part of nailing a ranch riding show. Find the center of your arena, find the quarter mark, and find points that help you know where you’ll be performing parts of your pattern.
Once you know those landmarks, you can go through your pattern at the gait required. You want to ensure you know where you are going to turn, where you want to make your next transition, if and where the pattern calls for you to go through the middle of the arena, or if you must go on a diagonal. As you look at the pattern, try to identify the landmarks to define each part.
Adjust Your Mindset
Pretend you are out riding on the ranch. Don’t fixate on a missed marker or transition. This is your time to showcase your horse. If you practice well at home, going into the show pen should be a little bit easier as a rider, even if your horse is more unpredictable.
One of the hardest things to recover from in the show pen is drawing a blank during your go. Just be sure to continue showing, even if you’re struggling. You don’t want to show disappointment or frustration to the judge. If you made a mistake, move on to the next maneuver. Exuding stress and worry can transfer to your horse, making the experience uncomfortable and stressful for them.
At Cutter Classic, we have the products you and your horse need for a successful and comfortable ranch riding show. We offer various types of saddle pads and blankets to meet the unique needs of each horse.