Cowboy Class

From the Ranch to the Arena

New for 2023 – The Cowboy Class will be recognized as a sanctioned Category 1 special event, similar to the all-around and spectacular classes. This class introduces working ranch cowboys to the reined cow horse event. For the first time, local affiliates and show producers will be allowed to host these classes at their approved NRCHA events.

“Reined cow horse grew from training methods used on ranches by the Vaqueros. NRCHA has continued to support cross over from working ranch horses and cowboys into our arenas through the Cowboy Clinics and Cowboy Invitational for several years now,” said Anna Morrison, NRCHA executive director. “Establishing the Cowboy Class as an official class in our rulebook was the natural next step to honor and grow our sport’s connection with ranching.”

Eligibility for this class will be limited to individuals working on ranching and livestock operations, and who have earned less than $15,000 in NRCHA Open and Non Pro monies outside of the Cowboy Class.

The rules for the Cowboy Class can be found in the 2023 rule book – 11.1.3.

In 2022, NRCHA opened the Cowboy Class at the Snaffle Bit Futurity to all ranch cowboys and girls and saw 49 entries overall. When asked why the crossover from ranch work to showing or arena work was important to their ranching operation, the prevailing answer was to increase horsemanship and produce good ranch horses.

“Our goal with these ranch horses is to produce the world’s best ranch horse. For us, the horse is a vital component of our everyday operation, from prowling pastures, gathering cattle, sorting pairs while weaning to dragging calves to the fire at branding time, a good equine partner is a necessity. I feel the shift from ranch work to the show arena gives both horse and cowboy a new perspective, broadening skills and techniques while adding the excitement of competition.” — Dr. Glenn Blodgett.

In addition to the Cowboy Class, NRCHA looks forward to organizing its annual Cowboy Clinic in 2023 as well. In 2022, the annual clinic was held at The Four Sixes Ranch in Guthrie, Texas. Clinicians, Todd Crawford, Ben Baldus, Kelby Phillips, Trevor Carter, Jordan Willimas, Terry Riddle and Robert Forst donated their time and shared their knowledge for two days to help improve the horsemanship of 40 interested cowboys. Look for details of the 2023 clinic in the near future.

For questions about the Cowboy Class or Clinic Program, contact

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