There are only 5 credit boxes for the Limited Cow class. They are all connected to each other. By that, I mean, that if you are crediting one box, you’re probably gaining credit in at least one other box. And likewise, if you are losing credit in 1, you’re probably in the negative in at least one other. Let me explain, by starting with what makes a really good run.

When a rider walks confidently into the arena, nods for the cow, steps right up to challenge it, and crisply moves right and left with the cow, many good things are happening! When I’m judging that class, and see a run start like that, the thoughts going through my head in those first 15 seconds are….”this is probably going to be a good run”. My “thermometer” is going up. I’m thinking that the rider is starting to show courage, utilizing their time (time worked), getting to the right spot (position and control). So already, I’m wanting to be in the positive (71 range) in at least 3 credit areas.

My next thoughts are, can they maintain these credits? Will they put more pressure on the cow, and be able to control it? If they do, the score for position and control, courage and maybe even time worked can all go up together. If the cow is challenging, then degree of difficulty goes up too. That’s how to mark above a 72.

Now, if the degree of difficulty is there (the cow is challenging), position and control are very good, the rider keeps the pressure on (courage and time worked go up) and looks good doing it (ie smooth, athletic, riders hands are quiet), then we’re getting into the 73 and above range.

When the buzzer sounds, my next question is how good was that? Exactly how difficult was the cow? What really stood out that I can give a full plus to? Usually if there’s one thing that was very good, there are other things that were too.

This is what a skillful exhibitor learns, and can use to start to increase their score.

Conversely, if the rider hangs back, doesn’t move crisply left and right, they will not only go down in courage, but probably also time worked, and position and control. If a horse isn’t moving with the intention of holding the cow (because the rider isn’t insisting on it), eye appeal will suffer too. All of the categories are headed down, and suddenly a 68- run is what’s happening.

As you gain experience showing, try to “connect the boxes”. If you’re controlling the cow by getting to it’s head and keeping it in the middle 2/3rd’s of the arena, and if your horse moves fluidly, because you’re using your feet more than your hands, and you’re advancing and keeping enough pressure on the cow to show your horse off, and you can maintain that level of performance throughout your time, you’re probably going to be at least a 72. The degree of difficulty of the cow is something you can’t control, so to have a really good run, that element has to be there too. But, my point is, and the good news is, that a lot of this is within your control! So, get with your trainer so you can work towards increasing your score in each area, because they can all go up together!!