By Catherine Carmena-Daylong
| The Texas chapter of the National
Foundation Quarter Horse Association wants YOU! Our club has the best
thing going since gel pads and you aren’t there! How do I know you
aren’t there? Because I was there and you weren’t.
Do you like to cut and sort cattle? Will your horse stop and turn
around for you? Will he go over a tarp on the ground? Can you
handle a rope? Well, tune up Ole Trusty and come join us for great
camaraderie, and a fun weekend with your horse.
This is what you need: A horse registered with NFQHA (See www.nfqha.com
for details), tack with no silver (we are grassroots and “ranchy” – the
one with the most silver does not win), a NFQHA Rule book to learn a few
patterns (comes with membership), and a friendly, supportive attitude for
How does the NFQHA shows differ from AQHA shows? I guess the
word “Ranchy” sums it up. To me the big goal is to win the Ranch
Versatility competition. This competition is based on your scores
from 5 classes:
Ranch Cutting – it is a reined cutting event – “throwing your horse away”
as you would a finished NCHA cutter will get you DQ’d. As with working
on a ranch the goal is to keep the calf separated from the herd.
Therefore keeping your hand in working position is mandatory. The
big difference in this Ranch cutting class is that after you demonstrate
your horse’s ability to hold a calf, you then must pen it! Yes, take
the little unwilling bugger down the fence and put it in a pen. So
this class combines a little working cow horse and penning skills as well
Ranch Reining – very similar patterns to NRHA and AQHA except again
its “ranchy”. Your horse is not required to slide 40 feet – in fact
it is strongly discouraged since if you did that during everyday ranch work
you would loose working advantage over the cow. A successful stop in
this competition is one where your horse is soft and willing to stop – right
away, waiting quietly for his next instructions. “Settling” your horse
is just as important as the big stop since NFQHA promotes the quiet, level
headed working horse.
Ranch Trail – this class differs from regular AQHA trail classes in several
ways: you must demonstrate that your horse is not rope shy.
You don’t necessarily have to catch anything (thank goodness!) – just show
that your horse is quiet when you swing a rope over his head and that you
can drag something (i.e. a log) behind him. We also cross tarps, bridges,
open and close gates, carry slickers, rattley bags and other potential
“horse eating” objects. Again this class is to demonstrate a quiet
Ranch Riding – this class is all about transitions. You memorize
a pattern and at certain cones you change gaits. Maybe it’s an upward
transition, for example from a walk to a lope, or perhaps it is a downward
transition (a trot to a walk). All of the NFQHA classes discourage
the horse from dropping his head below the wither, and DQ horses that are
behind the vertical. Also the successful horse will move freely and
naturally – no funny lopes here.
Roans, Buckskins, Palominos and
Duns (including grullas) can participate in the Color class. The rules
favor the “no chrome” horse. Black legs, dark hooves receive higher
scores than stockings, blazes, etc. NFQHA encourages the natural
horse, so please do not clip those ears and muzzles – we like em fuzzy!
Last event is a Timed Agility pattern – This class is usually the last
class of the day. We are generally all tired by this time and ready
to unsaddle – for some reason this is where most of the whooping and laughing
comes into play in support for your competitors. Since it is a timed
event, almost anything goes! The first obstacle to the left is a
regular barrel, so you zip around it. Next, where the 2nd barrel usually
sits is a “keyhole” (an alley) made of poles. So you run into the
alley, do a rollback and come back out of the alley. Last obstacle
is a series of poles – just like in pole bending. It is set up where
the last barrel usually sits. So you weave through those and head
home! It is a really fun pattern and the one where my horse
and I have improved the most over the last couple of years.
There are many other classes outside of the Ranch Versatility classes.
We have just added a Color class and a Conformation class to our In Hand
Trail class series.
Your young horses will benefit from the In Hand Trail classes.
There are age divisions for yearlings, 2 year olds and 3 and over.
Practice forehand turns, haunch turns and sidepasses from the ground for
this class. Like the Ranch Trail class you may be asked to carry
a noisy slicker or the like, cross bridges, tarps, or trot poles in hand
for this class.
Other classes include: Cow Work, Team Sorting, Team Penning,
Barrel Racing, Pole Bending, Key Race, Steer Daubing, Dally Team Roping,
Heading, Heeling, Specialty Cutting and Western Riding. Doing the
best in as many of these classes as you can will earn you the High Point
prize. Some shows offer saddles for this prize.
Also different groupings of these classes into Jackpots can earn you
some money to offset your entry fees.
In all, the Texas Foundation Quarter Horse Club is a wonderful place
to get your horse exposed to the show arena. It is a very enjoyable
environment for competitors of all ages and skill levels. We invite
you to join us! Our next meeting is June 17, 2006 at C & J BBQ
located at1010 South Texas Ave, Bryan, Texas. We will start at 6:30pm
Our next show is December 2nd & 3rd, 2006 at Washington County
Fairgrounds in Brenham, Texas. I hope to see you there!
For more information you can contact Catherine Daylong at 830-426-3388
or visit www.txfqhc.com.