Extra Credit Should Be Given If...
Cattle have nubers on them.
Any imagination in set up and design.
Arena Fencing Required:
Indoor or Outdoor Arena
Types of Fencing Allowed
Painted or Natural
Post and Rail
Post and Plank
Plyboard with Top Rail
Stock Tube Pipe Rail
Interior Arena Wall
No grass base
No rock base
Backboard or Natural Setting:
Team Penning or Ranch Sorting
Team penning is a western equestrian sport that evolved from the common ranch work of separating cattle into pens for branding, doctoring, or transport. A team of three riders on horseback separate three specifically identified cattle from a herd of 30, and put them into a 16' x 24' pen through a 10' opening, at the opposite end of the arena. The cattle are typically yearling beef cattle (mature cows or bulls are not allowed), with numbers affixed to their back, three each wearing a number from 0 through 9. Timing starts once the line judge has dropped his flag as the lead rider's horse crosses the foul line. At that time, the announcer identifies the cattle to be separated by calling out a randomly drawn number or collar color. The riders must cut out the three head that have been nominated, take them to the opposite end of the arena, pen them and call for time. Teamwork is the key with all three riders working in harmony to cut out the correct cattle and drive them to the pen.
RULES OF TEAM PENNING:
(1) A team of three must cut from the herd and pen three
head of cattle with the assigned (same) identity number. The fastest
(2) The numbers and working order will be drawn by the
judge and show management before the start of the contest.
(3) All cattle will be bunched on the cattle side of the
starting line before the time begins.
(4) There shall be two flagmen, one at the entrance to the
pen and one at the start/foul line. The judge must be located at the
start/foul line, and may or may not actually flag the contest at his/her
discretion. There shall be at least two timekeepers. The first timer
shall be the official time and the second timer shall be the back-up
time, in the event the first timer misses the time or his watch fails.
(5) The line flagman will raise the flag to signal when the
arena is ready.
(6) Contestants will be given their cattle penning number
when the line flagman drops his flag as the nose of the first horse crosses
the starting line. Riders are committed once they cross the start line.
(7) Once committed to the cattle, the team is responsible
for their animals. It is the team’s responsibility, before working the
cattle, to pull up and call for a judge’s decision if, in their opinion,
there is an injured or unusable animal in their numbered cattle.
Once the cattle are worked, no excuses are accepted.
(8) A snaffle bit or hackamore may be used no matter
the age of the horse and may be ridden two handed. A curb bit
may be used on any age horse, but must be ridden one handed.
(1) Numbers must be minimum of 6 inches (15cm) tall.
Numbers must be applied to both sides of the animal, high up on its
side, with the top near the midline of the animal’s back between the
shoulder and the hip.
(2) The optimum number of cattle per herd is 30; however,
a maximum of 45 are allowed and a minimum of 21 per herd
is required even if there are less than seven teams. All cattle within a
herd must be numbered in groups of three.
(A) There must be three head of assigned (identical
numbers) cattle per team in the herd as each new team begins a run.
(3) The starting and foul line must be designated by
markers located on the arena fence, and easily viewed by the line
judge and the exhibitors. The foul line shall be between 30 percent
and 35 percent of the arena length from the cattle end of the arena,
and the foul line shall be determined and advertised as such by the
Event Producer. The foul line may be extended by 5 percent for each
10’ beyond 110’ in width, to accommodate bigger, wider arenas.
The entry gate to the pen shall be situated 25 percent of the distance
from the arena back wall, but shall not be less than 55 feet from the
arena back wall.
(1) Show management may use 60, 75, or 90 second
time limits for each division, but must advertise accordingly. Youth
classes will be held using the 90-second time limit.
(2) A warning must be given to the team working the cattle
at 30 seconds, prior to a final time being called.
(3) To call for time, one rider must stand in the gate and
raise a hand for the flag. Flag will drop when the nose of the first
horse enters the gate and the rider calls for time.
(4) Time continues until all unpenned cattle are completely
on the cattle side of the starting line.
(d) Penalties - All penalties incurred will be added to a qualified
run even if the penalty time exceeds time limit.
5 Second Penalty:
•per exhibitor will be assessed if the hat or helmet is not on the
exhibitor’s person until completion of the run.
•will be given if an animal is knocked or cut into the pen after time
•if an animal escapes from the pen, when team is calling for time.
•if animal escapes from the pen, when team is calling for time prior
to the time when all unpenned cattle are on the cattle side of the
starting line. Escaped animal is one with any part of the animal coming
out of the opening of the pen.
•if team calls for time with any wrong numbered cattle in the pen.
•excessive use of a whip, rope, crop, bat or reins anywhere on the
•if more than three (3) head of cattle are across the start/foul line at
the same time. Any part of the fourth animal that crosses the line will
invoke a no time.
•contact with cattle by hands, hats, ropes, bats, romal or any other
equipment. No hazing with whips, hats or ropes allowed. Romals or
reins may be swung or popped on chaps.
Ranch sorting is a timed event class consisting
of two riders with the objective of sorting ten head of cattle
from one pen into another in a designated sequence. The team that
sorts the most cattle in the correct order with the fastest time will be
declared the winner. Points will be awarded based on the number of
teams entered. For every five teams there will be a point awarded to
each of the two winning team members.
RULES OF RANCH SORTING
(a) The basic concept of ranch sorting is that there are ten
numbered cattle, 0-9, and two unnumbered cattle for a total 12 head
at the beginning of a run behind a foul line in an arena with two people
mounted on the other side of the foul line.
(b) Ranch sorting will take place between two pens of approximately
equal size with the Event Producer’s option of working cattle
back and forth or only one way. Two ranch sorting arenas may be
placed side by side with odd numbered teams in one arena and even
numbered teams in the other arena. If cattle are to be worked back
and forth, they need to be moved to the opposite pen and back
before each new herd entering the arena is worked. Recommended
sorting area to be 50’ - 60’ in diameter with no 90 degree corners,
i.e. 60’ round pen or octagonal “stop sign” design.
(c) The start foul line will be recommended as a 12’ - 16’
opening between the two pens.
(d) There will be either a 90, 75, or 60 second clock for each
class, at the option of the Event Producer. The official clock is the electronic
display clock and is required at all sorting shows. The official
time of each run is determined by the amount of time used until all
10 cattle are sorted or the time limit has expired. Time will continue
until all cattle are sorted in the correct order or the time limit is
reached, either of which becomes the official time for that team.
(e) A lap timer is to be used in all sorting classes to break ties
where the cattle count is equal in runs of less than 10 cattle sorted.
The stop watch used for lap time purposes will also be the back-up
timer in the event of a malfunction of the electronic display clock.
Lap times are cumulative in multiple go round events as well as the
number of cattle sorted, but do not replace the official time of each
run. Lap times only come into play when the cattle counts and the
official times are identical.
(f) There will be a minimum of one judge for sorting, to be
positioned evenly with the foul line.
(g) All cattle will be bunched on the cattle side of the gate
within the designated area before the time begins. At the conclusion
of each run, the judge will designate the need to bunch cattle.
(h) The judge will raise the flag to signal when the arena is
ready. The flag will drop when the nose of the first horse crosses the
start/foul line and the announcer will provide the number to be sorted
first. The riders will be given their number instantly. Any delay in
crossing the foul line may result in a “no-time” for the team. With
particular interest, that no one or two cattle are isolated.
(i) All cattle must have approved back numbers; neck numbers
are not acceptable. The cattle are sorted in order. If any part of
a numbered cow crosses the start/foul line prior to its correct order,
then the team receives a no-time. If any part of a sorted cow re-crosses
the start/foul line the team will be disqualified. If any part of any
unnumbered cow crosses the foul line before the tenth cow is cleanly
sorted, it will result in a no-time.
(j) The order of sorting is determined by the picking of a random
number by the announcer/timer and then that cow must be sorted
first. For instance, if 5 is drawn as the first number, 5 is sorted first,
then cow 6 must be sorted, 7, 8, 9, 0, 1 and so on. A cow is considered
sorted when the entire cow is completely across the start/foul line.
(k) If there is a malfunction of the sorting pen or a numbered
cow jumps any fence and either leaves the arena or ends up in the
opposite pen, but did not pass through the gate, it will result in a reride
for that team at the end of the herd, (assuming it was not caused
by roughing of the cattle). In the instance of a re-ride, exhibitors will
receive a full (90, 75 or 60 second) clock, but the exhibitors time
cannot be improved. However, the number of cattle sorted during
the allotted time can be improved. (Example: If a team had five (5)
head in 55 seconds (with a 60 second clock) when the cow jumped
the fence, they would get a re-ride with the full 60 second clock. In
the re-ride, the same team sorted ten (10) head in 50 seconds. Their
official time would be ten (10) head in 55 seconds).
(l) Should a herd be numbered incorrectly or have too many
non-numbered cattle, the team(s) will receive a re-ride at the end of
that set of cattle. If a team is given a number that has already been used
within a given herd, a rerun must be given immediately, using the correct
number within that same herd.
(m) Any unnecessary roughness to cattle or horses or unsportsmanlike
conduct may result in disqualification.
(n) Any excessive use of a whip, rope, crop, bat or reins anywhere
on the horse will be cause for disqualification.
(o) A snaffle bit or hackamore may be used no matter the age
of the horse and may be ridden two handed. A curb bit may be
used on any age horse, but must be ridden one handed.
(n) Exhibitor will be assessed if the hat or helmet is not on the
exhibitor’s person until completion of the run.
Examples of Team Penning or Ranch Sorting:
Adrenna Lynn, shown as a black overo Paint mare, is a Smokin HotChic by Sherry Clayton. Owned and shown by Andrea Robbins. Caption: Team rider and horse are helping to push the last numbered cow (in this case Zero) through the opening as the flag man prepares to signal the completion of the go.
Ruggedly Handsome Hawk, shown as bay tobiano Paint stallion is a Breyer Rugged Painted Lark. Owned by Andrea Robbins. Caption: Two teammates (the third is off camera) push the last of the three required cows with the number eight into the holding pen to complete their round.
Western saddle of any style of reins. But usually a saddle with a second cinch is used to ensure less stress on the horse's loins and back. If a second cinch is used remember to use a rear-cinch connecting strap. Five and under horses show in a bosal or a snaffle bit. Breast collars are often used. Exception is Western Riding where no leg protection is used. Only one hand on the rein unless the bridle is a snaffle or a hackamore bosal.
Optional but Strongly Suggested Tack:
Leg protection is necessary on all four legs and horses wearing it should be given credit over bare legged entries. A standard sliding, rundown or skid boot on the rear fetlocks and
splint boots or bell boots on the front legs are optional appointments
in the following classes; Team penning, cutting, working cow horse,
reining, steer daubing, games and roping. The use of soft leg wraps
will be permitted.
Martingales, gag bits, nosebands, crops or whips, tapaderos, wire curbs or a chin strap under one-half inch wide are forbidden equipment.
Attire is jeans, trousers or pants over western boots, long sleeved shirts, (vest, tie and jacket are also permitted) belt through loop, and western hat. Chaps are required.