<P>RANCH HORSE JOURNAL JUNE 2016 31 falling out of lead or breaking gait. We like how this horse handled the rider and didnt change his attitude. He just went on about his business. Alex: The horse is a good mover, guides well through the square corners in both directions. He never loses his forward motion and makes a nice transition into the right lead lope. Lead Change, Lope Terry: The horse showed us he could change leads, and then slowed down to a comfortable gait and let the rider adjust. A way high degree of difficulty in that to change leads then immediately slow down. Maybe every ranch horse in the world cant do that, but its nice to have one that can and youre not fighting with him. It shows his willingness to go fast or go slow. Alex: Good lead change, guides well around the corner back to the far wall. Stop and Back Terry: We just want the horse to stop without fighting the rider. We dont need to see a sliding stop. We do want a ranch horse to back up without fighting his face. If I have a cow roped, I want the horse to back up without fighting me. We are looking for a horse that yields to the bridle. Also, remember theres just as much cadence at a backup as there is any other gait. I watch the resistance in the face and legs. I want my legs to continue until the rider says stop. We dont want a horse to open his mouth because opening a mouth is resistance. Alex: The horse stops adequately and backs straight with a closed mouth. Final Thoughts Terry: There wasnt a spin in this pattern, but if there were a spin, I want my ranch horse to turn around. He does not have to spin like a reining horse. He just has to be willingly guided around. Therefore, a lot of people are misinterpreting, because they think if they spin really fast, they will get a higher score and they wont. I reward ranch horses that turn around pleasantly. I treat him as well as a horse that blazes a spin. I want to be clear in what we want in a ranch horse. I dont want people to quit showing, but I want them to be aware that there is a process and a way to judging these horses. Finesse, attitude, pleasing to watch and quality of movement. Any time a horse deviates from those four things, there is going to be a lowering of the score. Alex: Overall, she came into the arena showing to win and kept that attitude and presentation throughout the entire run. The type of equipment used is the riders choice. We call it ranch riding and in certain parts of the country, the cowboys and cowgirls use split reins. In other parts of the country, they ride in more traditional vaquero equipment. We accept either as legal equipment. Its just the performance of the horse were judging. However the rider wants to present the horse is their choice. On the ranch, you may have cattle or sheep in the pen. She got right up there and took a chance of hitting the gate, but there was nothing that could get out if it really was a pen of animals. The horse had a lot of finesse and a good attitude. She showed a high degree of difficulty with no stopping or starting. She opened and closed it and went on about her business. Alex: She lopes up to the gate, stops and immediately goes through the gate, the horse shows to be very handy and maneuvers that obstacle exceptionally well. Sidepass Log and Walk Over Logs Terry: I want a horse to yield to the leg. The higher degree of difficulty is to move the rear and front at the same time. A lot of times in these events, people will let the horse wander with the shoulder and the rear end follows later. A rider who can move them at the same time has more control and a higher degree of difficulty and gets a higher score. A lot of the exhib- itors I see cant sidepass very well. Thats a place a lot of riders could improve their score if they would learn to sidepass their horse without their front end leading the sidepass. There are no penalties for hitting a log, but there is maneu- ver score reduction. She did get up over her horse, but her horse didnt put his nose on the ground. This is not a trail class. I want the horse aware there is a log in front of him. He needs to be aware of his surroundings but he doesnt need to look like a show trail horse. We dont want that on the ranch. Alex: Her sidepass was square, and her horse walked over the logs well. When walking over logs, the horse needs to pick up his feet and try to hit the middle of the space as much as pos- sible. I think anyone who has ridden a horse knows when they walk up to some obstacle, whether its water, logs, a bridge, whatever, most horses want to put their head down, because they have no depth perception. When they put their head down, the horse can see what they are stepping over, so they are more likely to have a clean step over. You can see in Tricias run, the horse doesnt drop his head down on the log, but he obvi- ously lowers his head. It should appear natural, not forced. Trot Corners, Lope, Extended Lope Terry: The serpen- tine shows the maneuverability of the ranch horse and also represents the fact that you are not fighting with your horse. The worst thing in the world is when you spend more time fighting with your horse to get him to guide around. This horse never changed his cadence when he trot- ted through there. This horse was very willing to guide. The impressive part of this horse is he never changed his attitude; he never changed his gait. 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