MEMBERSHIP AND SANCTION SHOW REQUIREMENTS
The new year begins on the Sunday following the second Saturday in May and runs through the second Saturday in May of the following year when the RHAA finals are held. Memberships are valid for one year from date of application. All members will receive copies of the RHAA newsletter, a membership card to be presented at all shows, and a set of rules upon receipt of the yearly dues. Members are responsible for submitting any change of address and contact numbers to the RHAA office in a timely manner in order to maintain current records.
All contestants and horse owners must be RHAA members prior to competing in all sanctioned RHAA events unless contestant purchases a permit the day of the show. Each contestant is required to show a current year’s membership card and competition license at each show. Corporate Ranch memberships must designate all riders’ names, addresses, and phone numbers. The corporate membership is unlimited as to the number of riders, provided all riders are full time employees of the ranch and meet all eligibility requirements. The corporate ranch membership is not extended to minor children or spouses living in the household as they are not full-time employees.
MINOR CHILDREN & SPOUSES OF FULL TIME RANCH EMPLOYEES
Minor children (under the age of 18 and/or enrolled in high school) and/or spouses of full-time employees under a corporate ranch membership will be eligible to show horses owned by the ranch provided the employee is included on the corporate membership and the horse has a valid competition license. The minor child and/or spouse must, however, obtain their own RHAA membership to be eligible to compete.
Day permits will be available at all shows. If a contestant prefers to purchase a permit instead of a membership in order to enter any competition, a fee of $35 must be submitted along with a completed permit application before contestant will be allowed to enter any class. Horse ownership rules apply relevant to class entered. When the contestant has entered two separate shows and purchased two day permits, he/she will be issued an annual membership valid from date of purchase of second permit and become a full member.
A competition license is required on all horses to be shown throughout the competition year by a card holding member. An application for the competition license is to be submitted at the time of application for an RHAA membership, along with a copy of the front and back of the current registration certificate in the current owner’s name, and a competition license must be on file in the RHAA office prior to entering any approved competition. The competition license is required to be furnished to show secretaries at all shows entered throughout the year for verification of ownership and age, with the exception of riders competing under a day permit, in which case, proof of current ownership must be presented upon entry. The application fee for the competition license is $15 per horse and is valid for the lifetime of the horse. Upon change of ownership, the original license must be submitted to the RHAA office with the appropriate $15 transfer fee and transfer request. Upon receipt of application for competition license, the RHAA will assign a competition license number and a certificate will be issued to each horse. In the event the license is lost or destroyed, a request for duplicate must be submitted to the RHAA office along with a $15 fee. For computation purposes, the Date Transfer Recorded on the registration papers will be the date used to determine the six-month ownership of the horse in the Ranch Hand, Junior, and Senior classes.
Any RHAA member who is delinquent in fees of any kind concerning RHAA events, or falsifies any documents pertaining to their eligibility or their RHAA membership, will be held in suspension and ineligible to compete in any RHAA event until such fees are paid in full.
Any unsportsmanlike conduct or attempt to influence a judge’s decision will result in a warning for the first offense. A second warning will result in suspension of membership and a $100 fine. If a member becomes physically aggressive with any RHAA officer, director, secretary, show staff, or judge, the member will be suspended from RHAA and receive a $250 fine.
SHOW SANCTIONING REQUIREMENTS
In order for a local ranch horse competition to be approved to qualify its winning contestants for advancement to the RHAA National Finals, the outlined minimum criteria must be followed and the event must be approved by a signed sanction agreement which is to be submitted to the RHAA office no less than thirty days prior to competition. All necessary forms (judges’ cards, competition results, membership applications) will be furnished by the RHAA to the sanctioning show committee, and only RHAA forms must be submitted at the conclusion of all events.
OPEN TO THE WORLD COMPETITION
The local competition must be open to the world. Reasonable entry deadlines are obviously allowed. In an otherwise closed ranch rodeo, the ranch horse competition event still must be open to the world. Entries may only be limited due to time constraints. During the year, classes offered will be the Wrangler, Cowboy, Ranch Hand, Junior, and Senior classes in order for contestants to compete with other RHAA members of similar skill levels. All RHAA National Finals qualifiers must have a current membership to be eligible to compete at the Finals in each of their qualifying classes.
RHAA SANCTION FEE
A $10.00 per horse sanction fee must be delivered to the RHAA office along with the event results by the sponsoring organization following the event. The Sanctioning Agreement signed by the show committee constitutes the payment of a sanction fee regardless of the outcome of the show, (i.e. whether the class was a qualifying class, # of entries etc.) as well as the use of RHAA approved forms only.
Local competition results must be reported in writing certified by the event director or secretary, to the RHAA office immediately following the conclusion of the show (not to exceed five days). In the event of back to back shows, the RHAA may request placing and earning information to be submitted either by fax or by email within 2 business days of the event. Items required to be forwarded to the RHAA office are as follows: the completed RHAA competition form (indicating number of entries, class, riders’ names, horse’s registered name, placing, and pay out, in order of final placing), sanctioning fee, and judges’ sheets, as well as any new memberships and fees collected.
At least two judges are required in all shows which had in excess of fifty entries at the prior year’s competition. Two judges are recommended at all competitions. Judges’ names must be submitted to the RHAA at least two weeks prior to the show. Only RHAA certified, card carrying judges must be used at all competitions. Judges must hold a current RHAA membership and must have attended at least one RHAA Judge’s seminar within the previous two years as required by RHAA. Judges must be provided with a current copy of the rules and RHAA judge’s card at the time of competition and be familiar with the judging criteria. One judge must be provided a whistle or a flag in the event a run must be halted to allow for new cattle. It is important that judges do not sit together or confer during scoring. Judges should sit outside the arena of competition, preferably one judge on each side of the arena so they will be judging different views of the competition. Judges must use a uniform score sheet supplied by the RHAA. All score sheets must be forwarded to RHAA after the competition.
This is an entry level class for any RHAA member who has won no more than $500 in any RHAA sanctioned event. A person that starts the year in the Wrangler class may finish the year in the Wrangler class regardless of how much money the contestant wins in that year. No monies won in the Wrangler class will count against lifetime earnings used to determine eligibility in the Cowboy and Ranch Hand classes. Wrangler winnings will not be included to determine the year-end high money award.
Professional horse trainers are ineligible for the Wrangler class. Contestants with Open earnings in the NRCHA, NCHA, ACHA or NRHA or Open points in AQHA or APHA in the working cow horse, cutting or reining classes are ineligible to compete in the Wrangler class. It is the responsibility of the contestant to keep up with their eligibility for the Wrangler class. Any RHAA member that enters the Wrangler class fraudulently, faces disciplinary action that can include suspension of membership. The RHAA office will make every effort to ensure that updated information is available to all members. The RHAA board of directors reserves the right to reclassify any contestant that they feel is violating the intention of the Wrangler class. Rules to enter this class are: 1) the rider must be an RHAA member who owns the horse being shown; however, there is no time limit on ownership for this class, and/or; 2) the horse must have a valid competition license. If rider is not a current RHAA member, the rider may compete under a day permit. No competition license is required when showing under a day permit, but rider MUST show proof of ownership.
Contestants are required to rope the cow in the Wrangler class. The rein rule applies unless showing a junior horse.
Anyone who is an RHAA member and has not won more than $1500 in any RHAA sanctioned event can enter this class. A person that starts the year in the Cowboy class may finish the year in the Cowboy class regardless of how much money the contestant wins in that year. Professional horse trainers are not eligible for the Cowboy class. Contestants with Open earnings in the NRCHA, NCHA, ACHA or NRHA or Open points in AQHA or APHA in the working cow horse, cutting or reining classes are ineligible to compete in the Cowboy class. It is the responsibility of the contestant to keep up with their eligibility for the Cowboy class. If a contestant enters after they have earned out of the Cowboy class they will forfeit that qualifying spot in the finals and the next contestant will be moved up. Any RHAA member that enters the Cowboy class fraudulently faces disciplinary action that can include suspension of membership. The RHAA office will make every effort to ensure that updated information is available to all members. The RHAA board of directors reserves the right to reclassify any contestant that they feel is violating the intention of the Cowboy class. This class is a qualifying class for the RHAA National Finals. Rules to enter this class are: 1) the RHAA member must own the horse being shown. There is no time limit on ownership for this class, and/or; 2) the RHAA member must be a fulltime employee of the owner of the horse prior to competing in this event; and 3) the horse must have a valid competition license. If rider is not a current RHAA member, the rider may compete under a day permit. The rein rule applies unless showing a junior horse.
RANCH HAND CLASS
This class is for RHAA members with less than $3500 lifetime earnings in any RHAA sanctioned event. Professional trainers and members with NRCHA Open earnings, NCHA Open earnings, NRHA Open Earnings, ACHA Open Earnings or AQHA, APHA Open Points in Reining, Cutting or Working Cow Horse within the previous ten years are ineligible to compete in this class subject to review by the board. The RHAA reserves the right to move any member out of the Ranch Hand class that violates the intent of this class. This class is designed as an intermediate division for riders advancing out of the Cowboy class. Rules to enter this class are: 1) the RHAA member must own the horse being shown for at least six months as indicated by the Date Transfer Recorded on the competition license, and/or; 2) the RHAA member must be a fulltime employee of the owner of the horse prior to competing in this event; and 3) the horse must have a valid competition license. If rider is not a current RHAA member, the rider may compete under a day permit. The rein rule applies unless showing a junior horse.
A Junior horse is defined as being five (5) years old or younger as of the first Sunday following the RHAA finals and may compete in the Junior Class until the completion of the RHAA finals at the conclusion of the current RHAA fiscal year. The burden of proof for a Junior horse status is on the contestant through presentation of a current competition license. It is up to the event director or secretary of the show to view these documents before allowing any contestant to enter. It is with the understanding that the integrity and professionalism of the competition is of utmost importance and should be carried out by the local show committee. In the Junior division, horses may be ridden with a ring snaffle or a hackamore with two hands without penalty. Rules to enter this class are: 1) the RHAA member must own the horse being shown for at least six months as indicated by the Date Transfer Recorded on the competition license; and/or; 2) the RHAA member must be a fulltime employee of the owner of the horse prior to competing in this event; and 3) the horse must have a valid competition license. If rider is not a current RHAA member, the rider may compete under a day permit. The rein rule applies unless showing a junior horse.
A Senior horse is defined as an aged horse no longer eligible for the Junior division. Horses in this age group will be exhibited one handed in the bridle. (shanked curb bit) Junior horses may be shown in the Senior class but must adhere to Senior class requirements, provided it is not a combined class. In the event the Junior and Senior class is combined, a Junior horse may be shown two handed in a two handed bridle, such as a ring snaffle or a hackamore. There will be a penalty for showing any horse two handed in a shanked bit. There will be a five (5) point penalty per judge per violation of showing the horse two handed at any time during the judging. Rules to enter this class are: 1) the RHAA member must own the horse being shown for at least six months as indicated by the Date Transfer Recorded on the competition license; and/or; 2) the RHAA member must be a fulltime employee of the owner of the horse prior to competing in this event; and 3) the horse must have a valid competition license. If rider is not a current RHAA member, the rider may compete under a day permit. The rein rule applies unless showing a junior horse.
QUALIFYING CLASS SIZE
The total number of horses in the competition must be 6 or more. The minimum qualifying class size must be 4 horses for Senior and Junior classes, with an additional qualifier for each 4 horses entered. The minimum qualifying class size must be 5 horses in the Wrangler class, 6 horses for the Ranch Hand class, and 8 horses for the Cowboy class, with an additional qualifier for each 5 horses entered in each of these classes. A Junior horse may enter both Junior and Senior divisions. In order to fill a class to fulfill the qualifying requirements, the Junior and Senior horses may be combined into one class. The judges should know which horses are Junior horses and also that a Junior horse may be ridden two-handed with a two handed bridle. Prizes may be awarded for top Junior and Senior horse; however, payouts cannot be kept separate. A horse that is qualified in a combined class must show at the finals in its age division. A Junior horse that qualifies in a combined class will show in the Junior semi-finals. The Cowboy and Ranch Hand classes may not be combined in order to meet qualification requirements.
All contestant’s horses must have been owned by the current owner or rider for six months prior to the competition entered, with the exception of the Cowboy and Wrangler classes, which has no time restraint for ownership. The horse cannot be an AQHA leased horse. The RHAA recognizes horses owned in a partnership and they may be shown so long as they meet the RHAA requirements for the class they will be shown in. This means that a registered horse must be in both parties’ names or in the name of the partnership, and proof of the partnership must be provided. The horse in partnership must have been owned in partnership for six months prior to the first event entered. A horse owned in partnership that will be shown in the Cowboy class must be in both parties’ names. The burden of proof for ownership is upon the owner/contestant and it is up to each individual event director or secretary to approve the qualification.
If the rider of the horse is not the owner, but is instead an employee of the ranch-owner of the horse, then the employee must be a full-time employee of the ranch doing general ranch work and must have worked on this ranch prior to the competition entered. A signed statement from the employer will sustain this, stating that this employee receives wages as a main source of income from the ranch and works on this ranch on a full time basis. In the Cowboy and Wrangler classes, the contestant must-1) own the horse being shown (there is no time limit on this ownership for this class), and/or; 2) the RHAA member must be a fulltime employee of the owner of the horse prior to competing in this event. In the Ranch Hand, Junior and Senior classes, horses must have been owned for six months from the date of transfer as recorded on the registration papers. The show must submit proof of ownership and/or employment when requested. This proof must accompany the show results, along with the sanctioning fee. In the event that proof of employment must be provided, documentation will be submitted to Kelly Gill. Kelly Gill is RHAA legal counsel and all information will be confidential. A family member may ride another family member’s horse provided it is a member of the immediate family. This is defined as the spouse or immediate blood offspring or spouses of immediate blood offspring.
A first time violation of the ownership rule will result in a $500.00 fine and a six-month suspension from member privileges of the RHAA. A second violation by the same member will result in an additional $500.00 fine and a one-year suspension. A third violation will result in a third $500.00 fine plus an additional one-year suspension, or at the discretion of the RHAA Board of Directors, a possible lifetime suspension from any RHAA activities or membership.
AGE OF CONTESTANTS
There is no age restriction, although a requirement of eighteen years or older is encouraged for liability reasons. Many arena rules or insurance policies may prohibit minor contestants. A comprehensive, written release should be obtained from all minor contestants, executed by an adult parent or guardian.
Professional horse trainers are not disqualified as contestants so long as they are otherwise qualified to compete by RHAA rules. Professional trainers are prohibited in the Cowboy and Ranch Hand classes.
NUMBER OF CATTLE PER CONTESTANTS
Although not a restriction, it is recommended that the local competition be prepared to maintain cattle numbers equaling at least one and one-half cows per contestant, rounded to the next number. To the greatest extent possible, seek uniformity in size, disposition, and breed in your cattle and cull prior to the competition for unfavorable cattle candidates. Cattle weighing 400 to 600 lbs. are recommended. In instances of mixed cattle, mulies and cattle having large horns, (horns too big to prevent a rope from coming off), the see through rule will be lifted for that class, or the entire show, then the three legal head catches apply. Legal head catches are defined as slick horns, half head, or around neck. Horns, half head and leg is not a legal catch.
RHAA SUGGESTED PAYOUT
The last placing contestant should at least receive his/her entry fee back. A minimum of 50% of each entry fee must be paid back to class winners.
|1-10||2 or 3||60%, 40% or
50%, 30%, 20%
|11-20||4||40%, 30%, 20%, 10%|
|21-30||5||30%, 25%, 20%, 15%, 10%|
|31-40||6||29%, 24%, 19%, 14%, 9%, 5%|
1) Dress Code: Boots, hat and long sleeves are required, anything beyond that such as leggings, chinks, etc., is optional
2) Saddles: The horse must be ridden with a western or stock saddle.
3) Horse Shoes: Any shoes are legal.
4) Two handed bridles, such as ring snaffles and hackamores, may be ridden two-handed in the Junior division only. A horse may be ridden in a two rein and the bosal may be of any size with no iron or metal of any kind. A two rein horse must be ridden one-handed. Reins on a shanked bit must be held in one hand with no more than one finger between the reins. Romal reins must be held full-fisted.
5) Bridles and Bits: Any bit is legal provided nothing extends below the bars of the bit. A bridle is defined as curbed, shanked bit. Chain bits are legal provided there is no gag or slide. Contestants will not be allowed to use any device that gives him/her undue control over the horse such as:
- Tie Downs
- Mechanical Hackamores, Quick Stops, etc.
- Nothing may be around the horse’s nose
- Gag Bits
- Wire on the Curb Device or any part of the Bit or Headstall.
- Bits must be free of mechanical device
- Nothing extending below the bars of the bits
A judge may ask any contestant to drop a bridle after a run is completed. Judges will check one bridle at random from each class at each competition. Any horse observed with a pink or bloody mouth will be disqualified.
HORSES ADVANCING TOWARD FINALS
All qualifiers (same horse/rider combination) must have attended at least two RHAA sanctioned events to be eligible to enter the RHAA finals. Entry is not restricted to the same qualified class to meet the two-show requirement. All qualifiers must have a current RHAA membership. The RHAA National Finals will be consist of qualifiers from each of the Wrangler class, Cowboy class, Ranch Hand class, Junior class, and Senior class. Horses will compete in the class in which they qualified. The number of horses qualifying for advancement toward the finals, which may include regionals and semi-finals, depending on the number of horses involved, will depend upon the aggregate number of horses entered in the local competition. The breakdown is as follows:
# Entries # Qualifiers
# Entries # Qualifiers
RANCH HAND CLASS
# Entries # Qualifiers
JUNIOR & SENIOR CLASSES
# Entries # Qualifiers
If any of the winning horses from any local sanctioned competition have previously qualified for the finals, then the next highest point scoring horse, or horses, shall advance to the finals. For instance, if a local sanctioned competition has 20 horses in the junior or senior class, following the chart above, 3 horses would qualify to advance to the finals. If the first and second place winner in this local sanctioned competition had previously qualified to advance to the finals for the RHAA, then the third and fourth and fifth highest point scoring horses would qualify to advance toward the finals under this example, providing the class had 20 in it. If there is a tie for the last advancing place, then both horses will advance to the finals. This advancement of additional horses to the finals does not, however, affect the local competition or the prize money or winners of the local competition in any way. The RHAA office will determine who qualifies for advancement following this formula from each competition.
RULES AND GUIDELINES FOR RANCH HORSE COMPETITIONS
This is a timed event. Each rider’s time will begin when he/she enters the arena and the contestant will have five (5) minutes to complete his/her task in an average size arena. If you have an extremely large arena, you may increase the time to six (6) minutes. The announcer for the event calls out a 2-minute warning (“2 minutes remaining”) when the contestant reaches this point in his/her run. It is also called out again when he/she reaches only 1 minute left (“1 minute remaining”) and then, of course, when his/her time has been exhausted, the announcer will call “Time” and the run will be over. The contestant is judged on the segments of his/her run that was completed prior to the calling of “Time”.
No abuse of horses or abuse of cattle will be tolerated during any RHAA competition. In the event, the rider deviates from any judged segment of the competition and displays unsportsmanlike training of horse or cow, he will be asked to leave the arena and shall be disqualified from the class.
This contest consists of three (3) divisions all performed as one event, or competition, within a five (5) minute time span. The normal flow of the event for the contestant is that he/she enters the arena and performs the reined work portion, then moves straight into the cow-working segment (at this time contestant signals for only one animal to be turned out into the arena for the contestant to work and rope), and then straight into the roping segment.
In the event of a tie, the judges will use the scores on the judges’ score card from the first portion of the cow work and proceed from that point to break the tie. Dry work will be the last segment utilized to break any ties. This will save time and prevent contestants from having to show their horses again.
The awarding of a contestant’s rerun is the sole decision of Judge No. 1. At each show, judges will be designated as Judge No. 1, Judge No. 2, and/or Judge No. 3. This will be decided upon prior to the start of competition. Judge No. 1 will call for a rerun to the secretary and the clock will stop. Uses of a whistle, walkie talkie’s, short waive radios or waving a white flag is good for this signal. A new animal will be turned out to the contestant, thirty (30) seconds will be added to his time and he will complete his competition from where he left off in the original time-frame allotted, i.e. (the clock was stopped when the judge called for a rerun, now the contestant will start form that point and go forward until he reaches the 5-minute limit). A rerun animal is only given if he is unworkable or leaves the arena working floor. Unworkable is defined as an animal that, for any reason, does not let the contestant exhibit his/her horse at all. Examples of this are animals that immediately fight the contestant’s horse or enter the arena and simply refuse to move. Awarding a new animal to a contestant is the sole discretion of the designated judge and is only intended in the event of an unworkable animal. Under no circumstances will a rerun be awarded if it is the contestant’s fault that the animal is tired, out of air, run down, or overworked to the point he doesn’t care to move, etc. Judges please keep this in mind – we are also judging the cowboy’s ability to recognize these things and adjust his run accordingly. This is a ranch horse and cowboy event designed to replicate how they work together out on the range.