17 Jul 2011

Western Horse Show Terminology – The Basics

It has come to my attention that this website has a decidedly English discipline slant, largely because I’ve always ridden English and I try to stick with what I know.

You Asked For It

In response to several requests, I put together this terminology glossary for western shows.

Help is Always Appreciated

Here’s hoping that my western readers will correct any mistakes and remind me of anything important that I’m missing.

Universal Western Lingo

Backing must be done quickly, in a perfectly straight line and with no hesitation.
Back Cinch
A second girth on the western saddle used to keep the saddle from tipping during quick maneuvers.
Flying Change
When a horse changes their lead with both front and hind legs in mid-stride.
Head Set
Refers to the height and angle of the horses head while in motion.
A slow trot that has a two-beat gait as diagonal legs hit the ground at simultaneously.
A slow canter that has a three-beat gait and can have a right or a left lead.
Neck Rein
Turning a horse by applying pressure from the reins on one side of the neck or the other.
Stock Seat
A generic term used to describe most disciplines of western riding.
Tom Thumb
A Pelham bit used on western bridles.
Tie down
Used to control the position of the horses head while riding. (Also called martingale)
A style of riding characterized by a larger saddle with a pommel and a horn.

Western Classes

A class which judges how well a horse has been cleaned up for the show.
A class in which the horse and rider cut (or separate) one cow from a heard. Scoring is based on the teams ability to anticipate cow movements and keep them away from the herd.
Cutting horse and rider
Image from katiew
A class which judges the animal by their confirmation & movement based on official breed standards.
Halter horse
Image from keitlry-fletcher
A class which judges the rider on their seat, position and poise as they complete a predetermined pattern.
A class which is judged on the horse as they go through their gaits on the rail. Horses are judged on their manners, disposition and smoothness of gaits.
Western horse and rider
Image from aarrgh
A class which puts horse and rider through a series of patterns designed to mimic a herding horse at work. Scoring is based on the perfection of each movement.
Western horse and rider
Image from bjasper8
A class in which horse and rider jump after a released cow on cue, chase the cow, rope it and bring it to the floor. Scoring is based on maneuvering and time.
More Roping Terminology
Western horse and rider
Image from TeecNosPos
A class which judges the handlers ability to show their horse in-hand.
A class which puts horse and rider through a series of obstacles designed to test agility, manners and teamwork.
Western horse and rider
Image from pamzpix

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