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Cattle Events

Learn more about cattle events, or western disciplines involving cattle, such as cutting, barrel racing, roping, team roping, cattle boxing, sorting, etc. Many of the events trace their roots back to ranch work with cattle, and they make up today's modern rodeo. Although rodeos can have a large variety of events, the following are the most popular with horses.

  • Cutting involves a horse's natural ability to "read" a cow in order to cut it out of a herd during competition.
  • Calf and steer roping involves the rider roping the calf or steer while mounted, and in tie-down roping, he quickly dismounts and ties three legs together in a timed event. Breakaway roping does not involve tying the calf's legs.
  • Team roping (aka, heading and heeling) involves two mounted ropers. One ropes the head of the cow and the other ropes the hind feet in the quickest time possible.
  • Cow horse boxing is an event that involves a reining pattern and working a single cow.
  • Cattle sorting competitors must sort a numbered cow out of the herd. However, how the sorting is done depends on if it is team sorting or ranch sorting.
  • Team penning requires sorting three cattle with the same number out of a herd and across a finish line.

If you haven’t worked cattle before, you may envision the fast moves seen in the movies, like stunt doubles galloping to chase a steer separated from the herd. While the fast-paced rides can be fun, introducing your horse to...
The Appaloosa Horse Club (ApHC) hosted the 2019 World Championship Appaloosa Show at Will Rogers Memorial Center, where nearly 600 of the best horses in the breed were in attendance. This marked 30 consecutive years that the prestigious event...
Preliminary competition is now complete in all ten disciplines at the Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium, presented by Thoroughbred Charities of America. The Kentucky Horse Park saw plenty of action on Thursday, October 3, as barrel racing, dressage, eventing,...
It’s a challenging dance, but cutting is a fun, fast-paced event that not only excites horse and rider, but also fires up a crowd of spectators.Dashing from side to side, Sidney Kahla’s gray gelding athletically keeps the black cow...
Spectators at a Southern California Reined Cow Horse Association show back in May of 2015 witnessed a pretty incredible sight: A well-trained horse working a cow without a rider. The 8-year-old mare, Shine Di Light, parted company with her rider,...
Q: My horse spooks every time he sees a rope when we’re trying to catch cattle. Do you have any pointers? A: Many horses will accept an object as long as it’s at their eye level or below. But...
When it comes to equestrian competition, team penning has it all. It requires speed, precision and teamwork between a group of riders and their horses. If you don't have access to a herd of cattle to give this sport...
In spring 2006, two of HI’s editors, Toni McAllister and Micaela Myers, attended a Galles-Harrel cutting clinic in Menifee, Calif., the home of world champion cutter Leon Harrel and his business partner, cutting competitor Rick Galles of Indy 500...
An ill-fitting saddle can cause training and behavior problems as well as unsoundness in the horse's back. While many riders are aware of the importance of saddle fit, no scientific evaluation of western saddle fit had been published until...
Cutting, reining and working cow horse competitions share many similarities, one of which is the rollback. Whether executed while working a cow or when riding a reining pattern, the rollback is the most efficient way for the horse to...
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