Beginner Program

Attention Beginner Cowhorse Riders

Find out about the 2021 beginner program here

Who is a beginner?

-Beginner 1: riders must be Non-Pro riders as per the NERCHA rule book and cannot have participated in any sanctioned organization’s class (i.e. NRCHA, AQHA, NRHA, NCHA) prior to or cross-enter into sanctioned organization’s class at any point during the current year. The rider does not need to own the horse. Riders will compete under AQHA bit rules, with the modification that riders can ride one handed or two handed, regardless of the bit, so long as how the rider begins the class is how they stay for the duration of the class. Riders can continue to compete in this division for up to three (3) years so long as they are still eligible according to the above qualifications.

-Beginner 2: riders must be Non-Pro riders as per the NERCHA rule book and cannot have earned more than $100 or 2.0 points in any sanctioned organization’s cow class (or combination of classes) as of January 1st of the current year. Riders cannot have participated in any down the fence classes prior to, nor can they cross-enter into any down the fence classes at any point during the current year. The rider does not need to own the horse. Riders will compete under AQHA bit rules—one-handed for curb bits and two-handed for a snaffle bit and hackamore, following age of horse rules (see page 181 -SHW509.1.1 through to SHW510 in the AQHA Official Handbook of Rules and Regulations). Riders can continue to compete in this division for up to three years so long as they are still eligible according to the above qualifications. (Note: showing in ‘Beginner 1’ at the same time as ‘Beginner 2’ counts toward one of those three years in both divisions).

Beginner Classes

Have you always wanted to try cutting but are not sure how to go about it? Come on out to either the ‘Beginner 1’ and ‘Beginner 2’ cutting classes. The rider will demonstrate the ability of the horse to work a cow by separating it from the herd and holding it to demonstrate the horse’s ability to work the cow during the 2 minutes and 30 seconds (2 minutes and no deep cut required for ‘Beginner 1’ riders). There will be other riders there who will help turn back and assist you through the maneuvers in the pen. Have you wanted to try cow horse but are not sure you have the maneuvers quite down? The NERCHA is now offering a modified reining pattern in the ‘Beginner 1 Boxing’. Riders will do 1 ½ spins in both directions instead of the 2 ½ or 3 ½ as listed in the NRCHA patterns. Riders will also perform simple lead changes instead of flying lead changes. The reined work will be followed by 50 seconds of boxing the cow along the short wall. Riders competing in the ‘Beginner 2 Boxing’ will perform the complete reining pattern as listed in the NRCHA patterns, followed by 50 seconds of boxing the cow along the short wall. For a full listing of rules for all of the beginner classes, please refer to NERCHA rule book.

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