Ranching Evolution

A little history and a look at the current offerings in AQHA ranch-horse competition.

No bling. No fancy clothes. Those were the tenets of the first AQHA Versatility Ranch Horse classes that debuted 16 years ago.

Exhibitors were looking for something different from the usual AQHA show classes. So a task force comprised of ranchers, exhibitors, judges and representatives from other ranch horse organizations developed the five-class VRH shows, and at each VRH show, exhibitors competed in ranch riding, ranch trail, ranch cutting, working ranch horse and ranch conformation.

The classes harkened back to a day when an American Quarter Horse would show in halter in the morning and do all of the other classes – cutting, western pleasure, etc. – through the rest of the day. Since then, AQHA has added a hugely popular standalone ranch riding class, as well as AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenges that are open to all AQHA Ranching Heritage-bred horses.

Versatility Ranch Horse

AQHA Versatility Ranch Horse events debuted in 2002. The five-class VRH shows required exhibitors to compete in five classes: ranch riding, ranch trail, ranch cutting, working ranch horse and ranch conformation.

To read more about ranch classes, go to AQHA Daily.

By Becky Newell and Larri Jo Starkey

American Quarter Horse Association
1600 Quarter Horse Drive
Amarillo, TX 79104

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