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Western Riding Competition

Competition Events

  Here, we will introduce the different events of competition currently being conducted in Japan.  You can see these events at competition events hosted by the Japan Western Riding Association (JWRA) or the Japan Reigning Horse Association (JRHA).

Western Horsemanship
An event where the basic skills western riding skills of a rider are judged.  You must display a high level of skill in a short period of time and course, and is a lot more difficult then it appears.
The main event of western competition.  Born of chasing wild and wily cattle.  You must perform along a course utilizing the entire arena, displaying dynamic moves unique to western competition such as the sliding stop.
Western Pleasure
An event judging the obedience of the horse, and the smoothness of the ride. 
Trail Class
Crossing mock bridges and passing through gates, this the most western-like event.
Look for the fancy dressed rider and dressed-up horse in this event.  You might call it the horse version of a dog show.
Barrel Racing
A fun, speedy event, with the objective of circling barrels in the shortest time.  Mainly a woman's event at rodeos, there are also competitions for this event only which are competed in by both men and women.
Poll Bending
Another speedy event, competitors zig zag through polls like a ski slalom for time. 


There is also another type of competition known as Western Riding, but perhaps due to the difficulty, it is not offered in Japan.

Due to the difficulty of getting cattle to use, you do not see the below competitions offered in Japan either, but they are all very popular in the U.S.

The objective of this event is to cutout a specified calf from the herd, and move in a manner that prevents the calf from escaping.  It is a wonder how the horse can move in such a manner to block the calf's every move.  Dynamic moves such as the rollback or the sliding stop may be exhibited during this event.  A well trained Cutting Horse can be very expensive, being sold for tens of thousands of dollars, sometimes even the millions of dollars.
Working Cow Horse
Chasing one calf on horseback, the objective is to make the calf follow a pre-specified path.
Team Penning
Working as a team, two riders compete for the shortest time it takes to cut three specified head from the herd, and then chase them into a pen.


Competitions are organized into different classes for each event according to experience and level of skill.

Open Open to all competitors, regardless of class.  You could say this is the professional level class.
Armature For those riders not quite ready for the open class.
Rookie Beginner's class.
Green For those riders just barely starting out.

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