Celebrate the working horseThose in the area looking to show off their ranch horse in a competition will have an opportunity to do so.
Those in the area looking to show off their ranch horse in a competition will have an opportunity to do so.
About 15 competitors have already signed up for the Dakota Classic Ranch Horse Competition, slated to be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 15, at the All-Seasons Arena in Bowman.
“This is a totally new ranch horse competition,” said Joe Hickel, co-owner of Double J Horse Sales, the company hosting the event.
Hickel said the event was planned a day ahead of the Double J Horse Sale, slated for Sunday, May 16 so that consignors could attend and show off their horses, though the show on Saturday is open to all horses, for sale or not.
“We decided to start this competition to promote more of the working horse,” Hickel said. “Nowadays what makes a good ranch horse I think personally is just the fact that they’re still using them. To me a good ranch horse is one that’s been seasoned, maybe a bit older, and one that’s had daily use on the ranch.”
Three divisions are planned: Open, ladies and youth. Individuals will be judged in three classes: Ranch trail, ranch reining and working ranch horse.
Hickel said there are a few other areas that have held ranch horse competitions, adding he believes this type of competition is becoming more popular in other parts of the country.
“It’s kind of getting back to the basics,” Hickel said. “(Years ago) The horse had to have a job; it wasn’t just to be pretty. In our rules, we actually have it written that we prefer people to not show in fancy tack.
“They don’t need to be chromed and silvered up; we want them to show in kind of their everyday clothes so to speak. We want it to be low-key to the point of, we don’t want people to feel like they have to come with this polished up show horse.”
Deb Black of Piedmont, S.D., who will compete in the Bowman show, said she thinks ranch horse competitions are fun and she has been involved with them for about three years.
“These ranch horse competitions are just great because anybody can get in them, any age, any breed of horse, any background,” Black said. “The people are awesome. It just brings back a lot of the heritage that we have with working horses on cattle.”
Hickel said anyone interested in signing up to compete can do so on the day of the competition. Rules and regulations can be found at www.doublejhorsesales.com.