The tournament classes are based on the requirements of ranch work. In today’s high-performance sport, however, a well-trained quarter horse requires a lot more precision, relaxation and gymnastics.

The riders start in 3 divisions:

  • Youth (up to 18 years)
  • Amateur (non-Pro´s)
  • Open

The open professional classes are most often distinguished in the junior ( horses up to 5 years) and senior ( horses over 6 years) classes.



Reining is the tournament discipline, which is prescribed in the rule book of the AQHA, NRHA with so-called pattern – ridden in canter . Most patterns require one and / or several quickly ridden circles with a – at the center of the track – significant tempo change to the slow canter on the small circle. The obedient, relaxed galloping horse and the low assistance are evaluated. There will also be a quiet stop in front of the spins (fast rotation around the inner hind leg), strong reduction, correct exceed of the forelegs and low help in the sliding stop, correctly executed roll backs (180 ° turn) as well as a fast, long and straight backwards.


Here are several obstacles (as they can occur in open terrain) in a set course created. The individual obstacles include, for example: GATE, BRIDGE, various arrangements of BARS to be handled in forward, reverse and sideways. The various tasks should be ridden at a speedy and appropriate gait. There is a deduction for every unnecessary break in gait. Pluses are awarded for style, correct task completion and obedience of the horse. Each individual subtask is evaluated.

Western Pleasure

The word “Pleasure” means pleasure and it should also be fun to ride on a Pleasure horse. The judicial attention is here placed on the three basic lines on the loose reins. It is also a matter of being light-footed and balanced at the hoof stroke, is easy to straighten backwards and stays calm. It is ridden in a group and the individual tasks are announced; it can also require increased trot and canter.

Western Riding

It is ridden according to specified pattern. At the beginning, a rod lying on the ground is crossed in the trot and then canter, whereby the horse should move at an evenly pace. In the course there are markers, which have to be completed with exact canter changes exactly in the middle of the markers. The further task involves consistent stopping from canter and immediately rein back. First and foremost, the fine assistance, the precise execution of the individual test elements as well as the exact canter changes are evaluated.

Ranch Riding

The horses are judged for obedience, softness of transitions, purity of gaits, desired speed, exactness of the This competition is ridden according to a given task (pattern). The horse must be presented in good forward motion in walk, trot and canter. The task also includes easy or flying canter, stop, spin, turn, back up, side pass, or trot over poles. At the judge’s request, in some shows all horses in the arena must be ridden at the same time. The horses are judged for obedience, softness of transitions, purity of gaits, desired speed, exactness of the line.

Western Horsemanship

The judge evaluates the rider’s position and tests the ability of the rider and the horse to perform a prescribed pattern. The class must work at all three gaits at least one direction of the arena. The ideal horsemanship pattern is extremely precise with the rider and the horse working in complete unison, executing each maneuver with subtle aids and cues. The second part of the exam is to ride a “Pleasure”.

Hunter under Saddle

It should be a willing, easy to ride horse with loping gaits in walk, trot and canter. It is required English saddle and bridle and appropriate clothing of the rider.


Horses of the same age and gender are presented in the show halter. The judge assesses the corporality and the horse must have the characteristics typical of the Quarter Horse, Paint Horse and Appaloosa Horse.There are classes for: foals, yearlings, 2-, 3-year-olds and older as well as a subdivision into mares, stallions and geldings.