Ranch Horse Tests by NAWD

 NAWD's popular Ranch Horse classes celebrate the athletic abilities of the working Ranch Horse combined with the precision developed in Western Dressage. 

julieslaterHave fun with your horse!  Organizations like the AQHA, American Paint Horse Association, and the American Ranch Horse Association are seeing a big increase in entries. The NAWD Ranch Horse program will help you develop your skills from the ground up.

Our program is Unique!

  1. A score and feedback on every movement in the test.
    Taking advantage of the benefits of dressage, we have formulated the tests to score each maneuver tightly. This gives you the opportunity to get a judge's evaluation on each of your horse's skills.
  2. A progressive training system.
    In normal ranch horse classes, you either have a fully trained horse or you don't. We have taken another of dressage's benefits and provided our progressive training system. Starting with walk-trot at Level 1, you can slowly build your horse all the way to turnarounds, rollbacks and flying changes at Level 6.
  3. Directives for every Level.
    Another of dressage's benefits applied to the western discipline. Directives help the novice rider understand what the judge will be looking for at that level.

These tests are taken straight out of the training pages of Dr. Michael Guerini, Julie Slater and Mike Marquez, three trainers with a deep connection to the cowboy community and a long history on the ranch. 

To bridge the gap between traditional western training and modern live shows, we allow the use of the snaffle for any age of horse, but require that you ride with one hand when a curb bit is used. To further take advantage of the benefits that dressage has to offer the western horse, the NAWD Objective Judging System, is used for judging, which is based on the classical training pyramid.  Credit for this concept goes to Andrew McLean, PhD. International Society for Equitation Science.

Ranch Progression:

The goal is brilliant agility and relaxed attentiveness.
But let's start with balanced energy and acceptance of the bridle...

Ranch HorseThese tests are presented in such a way that the horse and rider will benefit from beginning with test 1a before moving on to 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, and 6b. We recommend a score of 65% or greater on each test before horse and rider try the next test. Ranch will be offered for 24-7 virtual testing in 2016 and we will have multiple nationwide virtual shows available.

NEW!  Ranch Horse tests with Diagrams!

Ranch Program Guidelines  
Level 1 Directive - Horse accepts riders aids. Does not need to be "round" or "connected” continually. If a rein cue is given, the horse should respond without tossing head or resisting. Horse should respond to leg cues obediently and with confidence. Relaxation through transitions should be apparent. Test 1a

Test 1b

Level 2 Directive - Horse demonstrates lateral and vertical suppleness. Horse demonstrates self-carriage necessary for the movements for at least 60% of the time. Horse should be relaxed and show steady rhythm and tempo throughout the test. Horse should be soft to the aids. Test 2a

Test 2b

Level 3 Directive - Horse should give to aids softly and respond with alertness and obedience. Horse should accept connection and demonstrate relaxation throughout the test. The connection between horse and rider should be soft and the horse should demonstrate balance and self-carriage. Test 3a

Test 3b

Level 4 Directive - Horse should maintain balance in transitions and be able to shorten and lengthen frame while maintaining a soft connection to the bit. Rhythm and relaxation should be maintained throughout the ride. Impulsion and connection at this level is progressing towards self-carriage that ultimately will help the horse maintain straightness. Test 4a

Test 4b

Level 5 Directive - Horse should have smooth, balanced transitions through all gaits and respond to the lightest and softest of aids. Impulsion should be maintained during the test and the horse and rider should be in balance and harmony for at least 60% of the test. Test 5a

Test 5b

Level 6 Directive - Demonstrates self-carriage throughout the test. Rider and horse should be in complete harmony and balance. Rhythm, Relaxation, Connection, Impulsion, and Straightness should be maintained at the highest level achievable according to the conformation of the horse. Test 6a

Test 6b

Championship Show Test 2016