The Montana 4-H Working Ranch Horse project is a heritage-based, activity-rich program designed to pass on to today’s youth the traditional practices of safe livestock handling from horseback. This is not a rodeo project, but instead a practical and exciting opportunity for youth to use horses for handling, sorting and moving cattle. 

This project also teaches mounted roping skills as a humane  and useful livestock handling tool as well as branding techniques, housing and care of cattle and horses. Like all 4-H projects, Working Ranch Horse members will develop the qualities of leadership and responsibility that come with being engaged in 4-H. In today’s world, managing cattle from horseback is a disappearing tradition. Ranches are increasingly automated, using four-wheelers and other machines instead of horses. Many of the skills once learned for necessity are being lost. The 4-H Working Ranch Horse program is designed to teach and preserve age-old skills and traditions.

4-H Working Ranch Horse classes form the core of the competition. Versatility Ranch Horse classes are optional but may be added to enhance the event. 

Event Information

General Rules

Member Eligibility

Horse Ownership Policy



Attire and Equipment

4-H Working Ranch Horse

Skills and Scoring

Knowledge Test

Roping- Heading & Heeling

Sorting Cattle

Ranch Riding or Working Cow Horse Patterns

Versatility Ranch Horse

Skills and Scoring

Ranch Horse Pleasure

Ranch Horse Reining

Working Cow Horse

Ranch Horse Trail


Download the Working Ranch Horse Finals rules (PDF)