Western Sports

You may love the western sports if you want to compete in fast paced, timed events. Cutting, Team Penning, Pole Bending, Cowboy Mounted Shooting along with the rodeo sports such as Steer Wrestling, Calf Roping and Barrel Racing are all done while riding western. 

  • These sports all originate from the western way of life where ranch chores and working cattle was the norm.

Team Roping

In team roping, a pair of riders race to catch and tie down a calf together running at full speed. One rider attempts to catch the horn or head (the Header), and the other the legs (The Heeler). Learn more about this sport here.


In Cutting you’ll be assigned a cow to keep from rejoining the herd. The horse does some impressive leaps back and forth in time with the cow, keeping him from rejoining the herd. You can learn more at this website.

Team Penning

Team Penning is where three horse and rider combinations are assigned specific cows to separate from the herd and to herd those cows into a pen. This is a timed event and they can’t touch the animals. Go to the Team Penning website for more information.

Barrel Racing

In Barrel racing you run around  three barrels in a specified cloverleaf pattern. The fastest time wins. You are disqualified if you knock a barrel down, run the pattern wrong or fall off your horse. This western horseback riding sport has exciting fast galloping and super tight turns at high speeds!

Pole Bending

Pole bending is a series of evenly spaced poles that the horse and rider weave through quickly. It is also timed.
See the association page here.

Cowboy Mounted Shooting

This is one of the fastest growing western sports. It involves running a specified course, which should typically take 15-35 seconds, and shooting a special blank ammunition at balloons. It is a game of speed, but accuracy is typically more important. Want to find out more about cowboy mounted shooting? Check out the official website.

Want to learn more about the other disciplines you can try while riding in this style? Go check out this page.

Run on over from western sports to the index page with step by step tutorials