What makes a Versatility Ranch Horse?
The Golden States Versatility Ranch Horse Association has an ideal horse in mind. As we go forward, in our judging and our training, our goal is to remain true to this ideal, even as we may work together with other organizations.
A truly versatile ranch horse is an animal of any breed that can capably and efficiently complete the tasks required of it on a working cattle ranch. The best of these horses is quiet, attentive, and obedient in nature, while remaining highly athletic. The best of these horses works naturally from its hind quarters, whether with a cow or performing other tasks. This includes the ability to slide stop, rollback, and spin. The best of these horses is balanced and between the reins, with the more finished horses being ridden one-handed and in a bridle. As a result, these horses can accurately change leads, stay balanced, and go forward at a variety of speeds. The best of these horses is a graceful and efficient mover with good length of stride and much adjustability. A ranch horse should never move in a manner that is highly stylized or would detract from his ability to complete ranch tasks. The best of these horses can transition precisely up and down through the gaits, from any gait to any gait, even while traveling through terrain outside of the arena. The best of these horses can quietly and safely negotiate any obstacles that it may encounter on the ranch, including gates of differing configurations, dragging items with a rope, or passing over obstacles on the ground. The best of these horses performs these tasks while remaining alert, aware, careful, and relaxed, always able to stand quietly whenever it is required.
A truly versatile ranch horse is completely comfortable and capable with cattle. This horse can separate a single cow from a herd and hold it away from that herd with a minimum of guidance. The best of these horses can “read” that cow and help the rider to complete the task efficiently, even if some guidance is required. A truly versatile ranch horse can also control and direct a single cow. While working from its hindquarters and with the use of a fence, that horse should be able to hold that cow in a space, send that cow in any direction, and cause the cow to change directions.
A truly versatile ranch horse is a rope horse. The best of these horses is confident with the rope around him in all manners, whether it is being swung, coiled, thrown, or dragged. These best of these horses will accurately track a cow at any speed, placing and keeping the rider in the best position to make an efficient catch. The best of these horses then has the strength and ability to use his body to stop the cow after the rider has dallied, quietly holding the cow.