2013 Magnificent Seven Winners A Dazzlin Prize & Justin Wright • Photo by K. Higgins

Magnificent Seven Competition Returns to Western States Horse Expo

The Magnificent Seven All Around Stock Horse Competition will return to the Western States Horse Expo in Sacramento, California, June 8-10, 2018, at the Cal-Expo. This event will feature the best riders and horses from all across the country competing in the reined cow-horse competition.

Each rider must demonstrate superior horsemanship skills, nerves of steel, discipline versatility and extreme confidence in their horse as they compete in four events: herd work, rein work, steer stopping and fence work. These events show the incredible athletic ability of the horses and a level of training provided by their rider that is unlike any other equestrian sport. Horses are judged on accuracy, timing and responsiveness, as well as how they handle a single cow and their ability to ride into a herd of cattle and quietly cut a cow from the herd.

Reining, where the riders guide the horses through a precise pattern of circles, spins and stops, is also part of the Magnificent Seven competition. All work is done at the lope (a slow, relaxed version of the horse gait more commonly known worldwide as the canter), or the gallop. Originating from working cattle, reining is often described as a Western form of dressage, as it requires the horse to be responsive and in tune with its rider, whose aids should not be easily seen. The horse is judged on its ability to perform a set pattern of movements.

During the cow work, a single cow is released into the arena. The horse is asked to first hold the cow at one end of the arena (known as “boxing”), then run the cow along the rail of the arena and turn it back without the aid of the fence (known as “fencing”). The horse then maneuvers the cow into the center of the arena and drives it in a tight circle in each direction (known as “circling”). All this must be accomplished before the cow is exhausted. This demonstrates the skill and communication between the horse and the human, as they must work as a team to be successful in this round of the competition.

Also seen in the Magnificent Seven competition is herd work. The herd work portion of the event is similar to cutting, where a single cow is cut from a herd of cattle and prevented from returning to the herd by the intervention of the horse and rider. Speed, timing, athletic ability and horsemanship all must be present to be successful in this portion of the competition.

The Magnificent Seven All Around Stock Horse Championship is one of the main highlights during the Western States Horse Expo, with more than 5,000 spectators filling the stands and cheering on their favorite horse/human teams. This event is for the best of the best and should not be missed!

The competition happens on Friday, June 8, at 6:00 p.m. In addition to the Magnificent Seven competition, the California Cowgirls will be on hand demonstrating their drill team skills, and the Western States Horse Expo Horse Sale will happen during the weekend, giving potential horse owners an opportunity to meet their future horse first hand and interact with the current owners/trainers.