Jerri Herrington

Jerri Herrington rides Rio, the horse that Herrington says helped get her interested in the Versatility Ranch Horse competitions.

HEREFORD — Rockin JP Ranch in Hereford is hosting a Versatility Ranch Horse competition Saturday, an event organized by the Huachuca Saddle Club.

Versatility competitions promote a horse’s athletic ability as well as the rider’s horsemanship skills through six judged classes, said Jerri Herrington, president of the Huachuca Saddle Club and the competition organizer.

“We normally have six of these versatility events every year, but were not able to hold our first two this year because of the coronavirus,” Herrington said. “These competitions have really taken off in our area in the last 10 years because people can compete with their backyard horses and do well. The ranch riding patterns are fun and competitors really enjoy working cattle.”

Competitors are judged in cutting, working cow, reining, ranch riding, ranch trail and conformation.

“Ranch riding is a pattern class that most people get hooked on,” Herrington said. “It’s a lot of fun because people cheer for each other and the whole atmosphere is much friendlier than regular horse shows. At our local show, we have shotgun penning for our cow class, which is also very popular.”

In the shotgun penning class, the horse and rider are presented with a herd of nine cows and are assigned a specific cow to cut from the herd. The competitor is tasked with driving the cow to the other end of the arena and then pusing it into an open pen. The horse-rider teams are timed and from start to finish, are given 90 seconds to complete the cutting exercise. Saturday’s show will start with the shotgun penning class at 8 a.m.

Rockin JP owners Joe and Patty Scelso are known for their hospitality and willingness to accommodate different competitions on their property.

Herrington and her horse Flint have qualified for the Versatility Ranch Horse world championship show five different years and have competed in two of the championship events.

“The championships are held at the Lazy E Ranch in Guthrie, Oklahoma,” Herrington said. “This year, two other friends of mine from this area have qualified for the world championships, which are usually held in June, but that competition was canceled because of COVID.”

Spectators are welcome to attend the competition and cheer on their favorite contestants. Admissions is free.

For information, call Herrington at 520-559-6878.

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