ARCHA's MISSION STATEMENT
- We aim to be the best at what we are in Alberta, a friendly, supportive organization dedicated to introducing the Western Reined Cow Horse competitor to the show arena.
- We aim to provide professionally run shows balanced between camaraderie and competitiveness.
- We aim to encourage skill development in reining, cutting, stock horse and judging, through a variety of expert guided training experiences.
- We aim to inspire an atmosphere where individuals can compete, have fun, develop relationships and encourage each other to new successes.
One of Canada’s most dynamic and exciting western horse organizations! ARCHA is a group of dedicated people aiming to improve the quality of the western stock horse, and perpetuate the early Spanish – old west – traditions of highly skilled and trained working cow horses. ARCHA promotes cow horse events and enables the arena for showcasing the trained cow horses of the Western horsemen and women. Since 1981, ARCHA has maintained the tradition of showing, promoting, training and breeding of the desirable working cow horse by hosting many competitions in Western Canada. These competitions offer beginner to advanced riders a variety of classes in which to choose from that give the participant a chance to enjoy and compete in an event with people at a similar training level and ability. Thus a horse and rider may compete in as many events as they are qualified to participate in. Each year the ARCHA hosts a number of competitions for the reined cow horse. All ages of horses, all cow horse disciplines and riders of all levels of expertise compete.
There are currently 190 active members within the association made up of youth, adult and senior western equine enthusiasts. Skill levels range from the beginner to the professional.
THE REINED COW HORSE
The Old West created the stock horse, demanding a tough, enduring animal that could go for miles and herd the vast numbers of cattle in a bygone era. Not only was an athletic horse required, but one that could be completely trained in carrying out the everyday tasks of ranch life.
Historically, the Western horse can trace its training to the demanding and exacting discipline of the Spanish Light Cavalry, renowned for its great horsemanship.
Later, this training was adapted by the early Spanish settlers in the Americas, and then modified to suit the rigors of ranch life in the 1800’s. The Vaqueros and Charros were then horsemen that combined with the hundreds of years of breeding excellence into athletic ability and good temperament, which cumulated into an elusive, but critical quality called “cow sense”. The result was a usable and desirable horse that won the West. The foundation for the highly competitive sport of the reined cow horse was established and Quarter Horses are primarily used.
Today, this horse can be used to single out a cow from a herd of cattle and keep it from returning, can also move a cow in any direction at extreme speed, including circles, and controlling its every movement. This talented horse can demonstrate the most intricate and demanding aspects of western dressage in the reining classes. Cow horse trainers today have evolved specific skills and training techniques that increase the professionalism of the sport each year.
The place to find these multi-talented horses now is at the show circuits hosted by the Alberta Reined Cow Horse Association (ARCHA).
What you see at a Reined Cow Horse Show
World class cow horses competing in the following required elements:
Photos Courtesy of Phil and Sherry Menard – PS Video
The entry should separate a number of cattle from the herd without unsettling the rest of the group. Horses should keep their head low and go about the work intently and quietly. The horse should seem to be working on its own, on a loose rein. The cow should not get around the horse and back to the herd.
The horse will work one cow and begin to “box” it at the end of the arena, demonstrating the horse’s ability to hold it on the end until it is allowed to run down the fence. The entry should be in control of the movements of the cow and show that, by making at least one turn down the fence in each direction. The entry finishes by driving the cow in a circle in each direction.
The horse should work through a pattern with little or no resistance, his movements balanced and rhythmic. There should be no noticeable cues from the rider. The horse will complete a set of spins, sliding stops, lead changes, speed changes and circles demonstrating how well trained it is.
Alberta produces many of the finest Cow Horses that command respect across North America. Alberta produces the largest number of horses of any province in Canada; registering annually 45-50% of Canada’s total registered performance horses. Approximately, 640,000 horses generate close to $4 billion in economic activity with over 18 million spectators.
In 2013 up to $150,000 in prize money was won by cow horse competitors at ARCHA events; 1419 entries, 21 producing stallions and over 190 members competed in Western Canada!
Sponsorship of ARCHA will give your company or products direct, repeated exposure to this captive market and its affiliates.
Throughout the show season, ARCHA hosts numerous events in many rural communities and cities throughout Alberta. In addition, a number of premier events occur throughout the year in collaboration with other associations and/or events that feature the Reined Cow Horse – Alberta Snaffle Bit Futurity and Championship Show, Canadian Supreme Show and National Reined Cow Horse Association sanctioned events at the CowTown Derby and at the Calgary Stampede every year. All of which enable positive spillover effects to everyone involved.
Finally, it is realized that in an high-tech era of virtual media where tradition and participatory events are displaced for visual ones, that the heritage of horsemanship and competition is appreciated and perpetuated in a credible live venue because of your involvement. This is the real deal!