World-Class Horse Shows

January 8-23, 2022


Horse Shows at Stock Show

The National Western Stock Show proudly hosts top equine athletes of various disciplines from across the nation as part of the Horse Show. Experience our Western heritage through entertainment and competitions of all kinds.

Invitational Ranch Rodeo
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presented by:   

Ranch rodeos consist of teams of cowboys or cowgirls from different ranches competing against each other in events that mimic their everyday work on the ranch. Ranch rodeos differ from the more common “Pro Rodeo” in several ways.

  •  The contestants are not professional rodeo cowboys — they usually are full-time ranch hands who compete in ranch rodeos for fun or bragging rights.
  • The events in ranch rodeos are similar to the tasks commonly performed on a ranch, and the equipment and tack used are the same as those used during everyday ranch life.
  • Instead of competing as individuals, the contestants in compete as a team representing the ranch they work for.

This event consists of 8 teams competing in four events.

RAM Invitational Freestyle Reining
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The top reiners in the nation participate in this event, making the $25,000 RAM Invitational Freestyle Reining unique to any horse show in the world. Even if this is your first horse show, you’re sure to love reining’s elegance and athleticism.

Beginning in 1996, this event quickly grew in popularity with both spectators and riders alike. It has become known as the premier freestyle reining event in North America and draws top horses and riders each year. Reining was developed from the moves a cow horse is asked to perform during regular ranch duties. Competitive patterns include spins, stops, rollbacks, speed variations and directional changes. Unlike standard reining classes with prescribed patterns, freestyle reining allows riders to add costumes, music, props, lighting and special effects to their presentations.

Monarch Casino Gambler's Choice
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A show jumping competition with a rock-and-roll atmosphere, the Monarch Casino Gambler’s Choice Jumper Stake features high-level jumpers and a uniquely designed course to produce a high-energy performance. Each rider jumps the course of 10 to 14 fences starting at 4-feet 6-inches in height. Each fence carries a point value based on its degree of difficulty. The riders decide their own path around the course but can only jump a fence twice, either direction and only if it’s still standing.

The daring nature of the horse and rider pair comes into play as the faster, higher jumping horses can get around the course faster and cleaner, thus accumulating the most points. Final scores are determined by adding the total points and subtracting any penalties for exceeding the time allowed. Once the initial jump course is finished and points tabulated, each rider then has the option of taking the Joker fence with the risk of gaining a large number of points or losing those points with a knockdown.


NWSS Grand Prix
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presented by:  

This prestigious event draws the top horses and riders from across North America. With more than $40,000 in prize money, this makes for an exciting event. Pronounced “gron pree”, the term translates from the French as “big prize”. Grand Prix jumping requires absolute cooperation and teamwork between horse and rider. It takes a special animal and a special person to compete at this level of competition.

Each competitor jumps one round over a course of 10 to 14 jumps from 4-feet 6-inches in height and higher. The top horses accumulating the least number of faults are required to jump a second round over a course of 8 to 12 jumps, raised in height from the previous round. The spreads (width) of all jumps ranges from five to six feet. Final scores are determined by adding the total faults incurred in both rounds and adding any penalties for exceeding the time allowed in either or both rounds. In the event of a tie for first place, a jump-off will occur, with time deciding the winner should there be another tie.

An Evening of Dancing Horses
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presented by:  

An Evening of Dancing Horses® is known for bringing together the best equestrian talent from around the world performing to live music provided by the Colorado School of Mines Music & Performing Arts Program. Enjoy an evening full of formal dressage, reining, liberty, and other talents from around the world.

Draft Horse, Mule & Donkey Shows
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Witness firsthand the immense horse power of these gentle giants. Featuring the workhorses of yesteryear, the Draft Horse Show and Pulling Contest offers the beauty, grandeur and sheer force of today’s draft horses. The long weekend boasts cart, team, unicorn, 4-horse, 6-horse & 8-horse hitch classes as well as various working horse events including the ever popular Feed Team Race within four ticketed performances.

Non-Ticketed Horse Events

Youth Ranch Horse Mentor Matchup
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Debuting in 2019, this event was created to provide an opportunity for local equestrian youth to learn and compete during the National Western Stock Show through hands-on educational activities with their equine partner and top equine professionals. Mentor Matchup will match selected youth with industry professionals who will act as their ‘coach’ for the day. They will receive one-on-one practice time in the morning followed by a competition in the afternoon. The event is open to youth ages 14-21 from Colorado or Wyoming and selections are based on horse and rider connection and potential, desire to be involved in the equine industry, professionalism, and humane and respectful treatment of all animals and individuals. The Grand Champion will be awarded a $2,000 scholarship and the Reserve Grand Champion a $1,000 scholarship from the National Western Scholarship Trust.
Quarter Horse & Paint Horse Show
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The historic American Quarter Horse Association and American Paint Horse Association shows return with the exciting Finals format, started in 2016. Featuring the working horses of our Western heritage, the shows will contain halter, barrel racing, ranch riding, and roping events. There will be added prize money from NWSS, AQHA, and APHA. The Finals will include the best of each breed plus the popular head-to-head Quarter Horse versus Paint Horse matchups.
Reined Cow Horse Show
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The Reined Cow Horse Show features horses and riders in various phases of competition including herd work, rein work, and fence work. Reined Cow Horse blends the finesse of modern horsemanship with historic techniques from the original vaqueros. The California ranchers needed quick-footed, intelligent horses with nerves of steel to assist them with daily chores like branding, sorting, and doctoring.

Hunter/Jumper
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Enjoy a variety of talented Hunter, Jumper & Equitation horses during an action-packed five days of show jumping.
Top of the Rockies
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 Witness the best of the best show jumpers prepare for the ultimate test, the NWSS Grand Prix, in this two-round competition.
Horseman's Challenge
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The National Western Horseman’s Challenge provides a challenging, educational, and entertaining opportunity for local and national equestrians to be involved in the NWSS within a growing and evolving discipline. Horse and rider terms will face obstacles and maneuvers testing their horsemanship and confidence in each other. Obstacles and maneuvers will vary to accommodate all levels of riders and horses. The National Western  Horseman’s Challenge is open to all ages of horse and rider and breed of horse, pony, mule, or donkey.

Horsemanship Clinic
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We are honored to feature nationally-known talent each year for the Horsemanship Clinic. They will share knowledge and expertise as you get to know them, their background, and their equine partners in an entertaining and interactive session.
Draft Horse, Mule & Donkey Show
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Witness firsthand the immense horse power of these gentle giants. Featuring the working horses of yesteryear, the National Western Draft Horse Show and Pulling Contest offers the beauty, grandeur, and sheer force of today’s draft horses. The long weekend boasts cart, team, unicorn, 4-horse, 6-horse, and 8-horse hitch classes as well as various working horse events including the ever-popular Feed Team Race spread over four days. The weekend is also home to our other equine friends in the North American Saddle Mule and Donkey Association show featuring a variety of in-hand, riding, and driving classes.