You may be new to the sport and not familiar with the different disciplines, here is a brief overview:
Barrel Racing (Barrels): An exciting race the clock in which the exhibitor follows a course consisting of three barrels in a triangular “cloverleaf” pattern.
Competitive Trail Rides: Are long distance races of 15 to 40 miles in length which take place in one day.
Cross Country: Is usually part of the three day event in which the horse and rider must trot, gallop and jump a variety of obstacles in a timed event. Horses are carefully monitored in this event by veterinarians for fitness to continue.
Cowboy Mounted Shooting: Is a relatively new sport which consists of riders using a special .45 caliber pistol to hit a series targets in a timed event.
Cutting: Pits an American Quarter Horse against a cow in a battle of wills. Horse and rider must move quietly into a herd of cattle, cut one cow from the herd, drive it to the center of the arena and “hold” it away from the herd.
Dressage: Is defined by the International Equestrian Federation as “the highest expression of horse training.”
* Combined Driving Event (CDE) - carriage driving competition based on 3-day-eventing with a dressage test, marathon section with obstacles ("hazards"), and a cones course, which involves quickly navigating a course of traffic cone pairs without hitting a cone. Typically held over a 2 or 3 day period.
* Horse Driving Trial (HDT) - a simplified Combined Driving Event, taking place on one or two days instead of a CDEs usual two or three days. The marathon sections are typically shorter and there are fewer hazards than at a CDE.
* Arena Driving Trial (ADT) - a daylong, three-phase event including the dressage phase, the hazards phase and the cones phase, which are held in the same arena. There is no marathon section.
* Continuous Drive-a one-day driving event where the driver completes 3-5 different competitive activities with a short rest in between. The event organizers can choose from several competitive activities such as dressage, cones, marathon, reinsmanship, etc.
Endurance Riding: A controlled long distance race of 50 to 100 miles while stopping periodically for a veterinarian check.
Eventing: An event comprised of dressage, show jumping and cross-country. Most eventing is done over a three day period, one day for each event.
Harness Racing: A form of horse racing in which the horses must maintain a specific gait through the entire course. They usually pull a two wheeled cart called a sulky.
Horse Racing: A popular sport with a long history. Most flat track races vary in length from a quarter of a mile to distances over a mile.
Ranch Horse: The ranch horse competitions are designed for western stock quarter type breeds, whether ridden on the ranch, on the trail or in the show pen.
Reining: Reining is a judged event designed to show the athletic ability of the western type stock horse in a show arena. The horse is required to perform a number of spins, stops, rollbacks, lead changes and circles at the lope.
Roping: A class that tests a horse’s ability to follow a calf or steer at great speed, giving the rider the best opportunity to catch the calf or steer.
Show Jumping: (Also known as stadium jumping) is a course of obstacles by which each horse and rider must negotiate cleanly in an allotted amount of time.
Steeplechase: A form of racing which gets its name from early races in which orientation of the course was marked by church steeples.
Team Penning: A timed event in which a team of three riders must select three specifically numbered head of cattle from a herd and pen them at the other end of the arena within 90 seconds.
Western Pleasure: Contestants compete simultaneously, traveling the perimeter of the arena, and at the discretion of the judge, is asked to walk, jog, lope and reverse the direction of the horse.