National Reined Cow Horse Association Derby Returns to Paso Robles
Herd work, rein work and fence work competition set for June 10-15
1,200 visitors expected to boost local economy by $4.6 million
The nation’s top triathletes converge at the Paso Robles Event Center next Monday, June 10 – Saturday, June 15, for six thrilling days of competition. This triathlon’s events: herd work, rein work and fence work. No, it’s not your typical triathlon, nor is it your typical horse show: It’s the National Reined Cow Horse Association Derby! With a total estimated payout in excess of $457,000, the Derby Open Champion comes home approximately $32,000 richer.
Horses entered in the Derby are 4- and 5-year-olds, shown in a snaffle bit or hackamore in three different disciplines – herd work, rein work and cow work. The herd work, or cutting, comes first, followed by the reining pattern in the rein work. The signature cow work, often called fence work, is where the horse holds, or boxes, the cow at the end of the arena, then turns it on the fence and finally circles it both ways in the arena. The highest scoring horses in the preliminary round of competition return for the clean-slate finals on Saturday, June 15.
The NRCHA Derby is fun for exhibitors and spectators alike, and the public is encouraged to attend. Admission is free. Other activities during the week include the Holy Cow Performance Horses Open Bridle Spectacular, with a purse of more than $100,000; a pet costume contest; vendor shopping and evening receptions with food and drink.
Paso Robles has been the NRCHA Derby’s home for a number of years. The event brings an estimated 1,200 visitors to the area annually, injecting $4.6 million into the local economy.
Reined cow horse competition has its roots in the traditional California Vaquero method of training, which was developed in the 1700s. During that time, the Spanish cowboys, or “vaqueros,” relied on their equine partners to handle long cattle drives from Mexico into California, and to help them in daily ranch chores, which included roping, sorting and doctoring the cows. The vaquero training method is a meticulous process that takes years to complete. Young horses are started in a mild snaffle bit, and then progress to the hackamore, then the two-rein, and finally the bridle. The National Reined Cow Horse Association is dedicated to preserving the history and tradition of the reined cow horse, and sharing this exciting sport with the public.
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