Bridle Spectacular

Gem State Bridle Spectacular

We’re so excited to introduce our Bridle Spectacular Series for 2019!! These classes will be available at all four of our shows.

Thanks to Ryan Thomas Horsemanship for sponsoring the Non Pro year-end saddle and Mill Iron 7 Performance Horses for the Non Pro Limited saddle!

We’ve included the rules and the judging criteria for the Steer Stopping on this page since it’s a new event we’re introducing this year. If you’re curious about how the other three events will be judged, start with the Gem State rulebook/show info page and then head to the NRCHA rulebook for full details!

Feel free to reach out with any questions.

What's a Bridle Spectacular?

A Bridle Spectacular includes herd work, rein work, and cow work (either fence or boxing). If you’re showing in the Open division, it also includes steer stopping. Bridle horse classes are generally only reining and fence/boxing, so Spectaculars are a fun way to show off your polished bridle horse by adding herd work!

What are the requirements to show?

Age requirements:

Horses of any age can show in the bridle (see NRCHA rule 3.5), but remember that if your horse has been shown down the fence in a bridle, your horse is no longer eligible to show in limited aged events.

Equipment requirements:

Horses must be shown in an NRCHA legal bridle and romal reins.

According to rules 5.2, NRCHA legal bridle class bits are spade bits or bits with the following characteristics:

  • Unbroken bar mouthpiece.
  • One inch or higher port measured from the bottom of the bar to the top of the port.
  • There must be an operable cricket or roller (with single for multiple rings) incorporated within the mouthpiece of the bit.
  • The minimum diameter, on any part of the bar of the mouthpiece, is 5/16 inch.
  • Bars must be round, oval or egg shaped smooth and unwrapped metal. Latex wrap or any foreign material is not acceptable.
  • Nothing may protrude below the mouthpiece (bar), such as extensions or prongs.
  • The cheeks must be connected at the bottom.
  • The overall length of the bit shall not be longer than 8½ inches measured from the inside bottom of the top of headstall ring to point of pull in the bottom ring.
  • Optional tongue release shall not exceed 3 inches in width.

This is a partial list! Please see the NRCHA rulebook for a full description of legal bits!

Chin straps must be leather and at least 1/2″ in diameter. Remember that no metal can be touching your horse. This includes keepers and rivets!

Learn more about NRCHA legal chin straps

You must show in reins with a romal. You can hold them in either hand, but keep your hand in a fist. Splitting your reins will result in a zero score! Your other hand holds the romal.

Two exceptions to this: you can hold your reins and romals in one hand during the herd work and you can use a roping rein in the steer stopping if you’d prefer.

Rider eligibility:

The Open division is open to any rider.

Non Pro riders must meet Non Pro eligibility. According to the GSSHA rulebook, a Non Pro shall also be defined as any person, regardless of age, who is not currently receiving remuneration directly, or indirectly for showing, training, giving lessons, clinics, assisting in the training of a horse for remuneration. This does not include prize money. Payment of entry fees and/or expenses by anyone other than the Non Pro, his/her immediate family, or his/her corporation is considered remuneration. Gem State uses NRCHA eligibility requirements, so please see section 2.1 of the NRCHA Rulebook for full requirements.

Non Pro Limited riders must meet Non Pro eligibility and ownership requirements. You also can’t have shown down the fence more than three times, unless you’re over the age of 50.

How do I get a saddle?!

Saddle eligibility is determined with our normal Year-End Points system.

Year-end points are awarded based on the number of horses shown in a class.

Classes with five or more horses shown: the first place horse wins 5 points, plus one for every horse defeated. Each succeeding place receives two points less than the place before it. For example, if ten horses are shown, first place wins 14 points, 2nd wins 12, 3rd – 10, 4th – 8, 5th – 6.

Classes with less than five horses shown: the first place horse wins one point for every horse in the class plus one point for every horse defeated. For example, if four horses are shown, first place wins 7 points (4 for the total number of horses and 3 for the three horses defeated), 2nd wins 5, third wins 3.

To qualify for year-end awards, you must show your horse in at least three of our four shows.

Four Event Bridle Spectacular Steer Stopping Rules


Horses will stand in a marked square in the arena instead of a roping box. They’ll be judged on their behavior in the “box.” There will not be a barrier, but cattle must be past a line drawn 15 feet from the gate before the roper leaves. The penalty for clearing the box before the cow is past the 15 foot line is 5 points.

Time Limit/Loops

The roper on the horse being judged may throw as many loops as necessary within a 90 second time limit. You can only bring one rope, so you must recoil and rebuild in between loops. Loss of rope is a -0- score.


We’ll be roping muleys. The only legal catch is around the neck. If a steer is roped any other way and the rope can be removed while the rider is still mounted and within the 90 second time limit.

Cattle will be pushed out of the holding pen by the cattle help. They’ll assist until the cow is past the barrier line. New cows will be awarded at the judge’s discretion.


Judges will use the NRCHA steer stopping judge’s card with some modifications to account for the lack of box and barrier.

Credits include position and rate, control of cow, and eye appeal.

Penalties are as follows:

1 Point Penalties

  • Nervous in box (chalk box on arena ground)
  • Turns head severely
  • Stopping crooked

2 Point Penalties

  • Freeze-up in box
  • Scotching
  • Missing second loop

3 Point Penalties

  • Missing first loop
  • Taking off illegal catch

5 Point Penalties

  • Refusing to enter box
  • Leaving the box before the steer is past the score line
  • Rearing up in box
  • Running into steer
  • Blatant disobedience, defined as kicking, biting, bucking, rearing, striking, or obviously insubordinate.

-0- Score

  • Loss of rope
  • Failure to make legal catch
  • Fall of horse or rider.
  • Excessive schooling
  • Whipping or hitting horse with rope.
  • Failure of horse to stop steer’s forward motion.
  • Failure to have steer face horse before dally is released.
  • Failure to work in the proper working order.

-0- Score


  • Failure of an exhibitor to attempt to work the pattern

No Score

  • Abuse
  • Lameness of the horse