Working Cow Horse

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Working cow horse classes demonstrate the horse's ability to control a cow. An athletic animal with good cow sense, he must be able to hold, drive, rate, turn, contain and dominate a cow.

Working Cow Horse. Corey Cushing on Smart Boon. Photo Primo Morales/NRCHA

When the competition begins, the horse must hold a cow at the prescribed end of the arena for a sufficient time to demonstrate his ability to "box" the cow.

After a reasonable amount of time the contestant runs the cow down the side of the arena and turns it along the arena wall at least once in each direction. This is known as turning on the fence.

Finally, the contestant takes the cow to an open part of the arena and circle it cow at least once in each direction. This is known as circling up.

The judge takes into consideration the size of the arena, the condition of the ground, and the disposition of the cattle when evaluating each work. If ground, arena, and/or weather conditions are deemed unfavorable by exhibitors, they may elect to alter the required cattle work for safety reasons.

The working cow horse is scored on a scale of 60 to 80, with 70 considered an average work.

Discipline Association: National Reined Cow Horse Association

Information provided by the United States Equestrian Federation