How to Compete in a Working Cow Horse Event

Working cow horse is a competition in which horses are used to work a cow in a live arena. Horses have to perform different moves, which include turning the cow in a specified manner, circling it and performing a reining pattern. This is the reason why this competition is also known as reined cow horse. The horses, which are used for these events are called cow horses, stock horses or reined horses. There are three basic parts of each competition, through which riders and horses are judged. These are herd work, fence work and reining pattern.

In order to deliver the goods in a competition, the horses have to show brilliant timing, accuracy and their ability to respond.


  • 1

    Select the horse for the competition

    The first step towards taking part in a working cow horse event is to select the horse you want to ride. Most riders prefer quarter horses for such events but there are many who opt for Morgans, Appaloosas, Paints and Arabians.

    If you want to perform well, it is highly recommended that you choose a cow horse that is between 14.2 and 15.1 hands.

  • 2

    Get all the details about the event

    Before you start practicing for the event, it is important to know all the technical details about it. All the rules and regulations should be on your fingertips. As mentioned above, most of the times there are three events in a competition. Therefore, you should prepare equally well for fence work, herd work and reining.

  • 3

    Practice hard

    In order to master the art of working cow horses, you need to practice hard for months. Remember that other competitors in the event will also come prepared and you will have to be at the top of your game to give them a tough time. It is only through practice that you will be able to develop coordination with the horse and understand different moves.

    You need to practice separately for herd work, reining and fence work as they require different skills.

  • 4

    Work on your personal fitness

    Horse riding requires a high fitness level because of the pressure exerted on your back, thighs, shoulders and arms. You can enhance your chances of doing well in a working cow horse event by improving your fitness and strengthening your muscles.

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