Classes - Events - Disciplines

Reining

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Reining became the most popular event in the western industry in continental Europe in the last two decades. Belgium acquired a broad series of achievements and milestones, thanks to our world champs Bernard Fonck and Ann Fonck-Poels. Cira Baeck left a quite personal equine footprint on the planet as one of our top reining-riders and trainers. In non-pro the highly inspiring Piet Mestdagh accomplished an extraordinary series of trophies and milestones. His enthusiasm created unique opportunities. In Belgium, reining has a massive amount of fans and participants, beginners, youth riders, grand semi-pro riders and an exclusive world top. And for who is new to this sport; reining is derived from ranch work as a 'dry' event without cattle. It is considered as the western counterpart of classic dressage.

Ranch Riding

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Ranch Riding is a relatively new event for stock horses, shown in plain ranch tack and apparel. It's a combination of equine control and dialogue in a varied event including manoeuvres and obstacles to express the ability to control a horse in relax, working context. 

This class has become extremely popular because of its plain non-glitter character offering working cowboys and cowgirls as versatile young and older riders to show a horse within its rich abilities and highly workable disposition.  

Showmanship at Halter

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This class is all about mastering a horse at halter. No saddle, no tack, just the horseman / horse lady, a (classy) halter and the art of working a horse at hand.

This event is often included at all-round performance shows and is practiced by horsemen of all ages and levels.  Beginners, youth, amateurs up to top notch open classes. Showmanship at halter has become very popular in Europe in the late eighties and still is a big cornerstone at an allround show.

Western Pleasure

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Western Pleasure is derived form a Sunday activity by mainly ladies, dressing up their horses and themselves expressing the 'Pleasure to Ride'. Their horses were and are their pride and treasure, also today in the show-arena. A slow highly virtuoso body-control in all three the gaits by horses that have been trained to deliver with high precision and collection.

This used to be a highly popular event in the allround performance industry.

Trail

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The ultimate precision in an arena full of obstacles. This is control in an event of high precision. Trail has become extremely popular at allround performance shows.  

Hunter Under Saddle

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Yes, this is a western class. It's judged based on the horse's motion, conformation and last their manners. The type of Quarter horse indeed may refer to hunter Thoroughbred horses like we find them on historical paintings. Indeed, the belly line shows a clear distance from the ground and the horse has a 'leggy' appearance. In the movements, a smooth longer stride without too much of knee-action and a floating landing of the feet on the arena-soil. The Hunter classes became very popular in Europe by the end of the nineties and later on. Among the Hunter classes we also have hunt seat equitation, hunter hack and others.

Cutting

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Cutting is the state of the art class in cattle work. Rider and horse get into the herd, select a bovine and separate it from the herd in a way, the horse seamlessly operates on its own within the boundaries of his 'assignment'. The horse reads the cow and interacts with its moves trying to get passed the horse. 

The cow sense of cutting horses is almost a 'predator' characteristic, observing the cow and in interacting highly agile and acrobatic as a... cat. A lot of horse names in cutting refer to this 'cat' aspect. Scarce in Europe because of its higher price tag requiring training and showing with well selected cattle. 

Team Penning

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Three riders and their horses work the cattle indicated by the judge by their number-tags, into a pen in the arena. This is a timed event that requires teamwork, cow sense of the horse, cow-feeling by the cowboys and sometimes some luck in regards to the position of the cows to be isolated and driven into the pen.

This class has grow immensely in Belgium. Also the level of competition and quality of horses have both increased tremendously. This evolution has been highly influenced by the De Wette Family (Namur), that cut into the team penning industry like a hot knife into butter. Jean-Michel (father), Lola (daughter), Tristan (Son) and the other relatives formed teams that won an endless series of trophies, awards, titles and championships. The European Championship title is currently on the family's shelf of top victories.  

Ranch Sorting

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Ranch sorting is a western class that evolved from the common ranch work of separating cattle into pens for branding, doctoring, or transport. Ranch Sorting is an event that pits a team of two riders against the clock. Teamwork is the key with both riders working in harmony to cut out the correct cattle and drive them to the pen while keeping the wrong numbered cattle back. There are several variations of ranch sorting with one, two or three riders on the team, but all require sorting the cattle from one pen to the other in the correct order.

Working Cow Horse

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Also called reined cow horse. This consists of two parts. First the dry work that may be compared with a reining pattern. Then the cow comes in the game. Here the Herding part kicks in first. Rider and horse first 'box' the cow at the shortest fence line of the area. Afterwards comes 'Fencework'; the cow gets fenced at the long side of the arena.  

Breakaway roping

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This is a variation of calf roping where a calf is roped. Once the rope is around the calf's neck, the roper signals the horse to stop suddenly. The rope is tied to the saddle horn with a string. When the calf hits the end of the rope, the rope is pulled tight and the string breaks. The breaking of the string marks the end of the run. The rope usually has a small white flag at the end that makes the moment the rope breaks more easily seen by the timer. The fastest run wins.

Many More Classes

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An American Quarter Horse is by definition a versatile horse with a highly workable character and history. As a consequence of the versatility, we oversee a wide range of classes and events. Inspired? Visit a show or talk to to a trainer for instance.