June 17, 2005 -- The Magnificent 7 All-Around Stock Horse Championship is a test of talent for both horse and rider. Sponsored by Horse & Rider magazine, with special event sanctioning by the National Reined Cow Horse Association, it draws the nation's top horse and rider teams to the Western States Horse Expo each year in Sacramento, Calif.
This year, Ron Emmons on Roo Star walked away with the coveted title of All-Around Stock Horse Champion on June 10 with an impressive score of 589--a whopping 16 1/2 points ahead of reserve champion Jon Roeser on Chex Out This Remedy, who scored 572 1/2. Emmons earned $25,000 and a sterling silver, gold and diamond belt buckle.
Eighteen competitors took part in the preliminary elimination go-round on June 9 with six riders and seven horses moving on to the final round. Other cow horse luminaries in the final placings were Bob Avila on Spark Master (third), Emmons on his second horse, Tangys Classy Boy (fourth), Jake Gorrell on Cuttin Diamonds (fifth), Mark Luis on Fussy Jay Bar (sixth) and John Ward on Double R. Wrightway (seventh).
This unique competition consists of four events performed with one horse: herd work, reining, steer stopping and cow work. Herd work is basically cutting: one cow is split from the herd and kept separated. The horse is judged on its athletic movement and ability to work the cow. Reining work is the western version of dressage, judged on one designated pattern for all contestants, with specific movements including spectacular sliding stops and whirlwind 360-degree spins.
In steer stopping, riders must "stop" the cow by roping and turning him toward the horse. They are judged on rate of speed to the steer and the horses' ability to rate and stop him. Cow work is the final of the four elements. Riders must work with one cow, first keeping it confined at one end of the arena. Next they run the cow down the fence and pass it, forcing it to change direction, then run it back down the fence line again, turning the cow one more time. In the final segment of cow work, rider and horse must run the cow in a complete circle to the right, then switch directions and run a full circle to the left.