Cowboy Challenge in New Zealand is a competition with obstacles, designed to not only push horse and rider out of their traditional comfort zone but also to test the communication and horsemanship of each rider. These kind of competitions have become very popular in the USA and Cowboy Challenge has been embraced by New Zealand riders as it fits right in with this country's love of extreme sports. Riders complete a timed course with 13 obstacles (out of a possible 60 approx) and are judged on performance and horsemanship.
The White Horse Cowboy Challenge was New Zealand's first Challenge, held in Gapes Valley, Geraldine on 27 February 2010. It was organised by the Aoraki Western Riding Club and attracted 31 adult and youth entries. Due to the success of this inaugural Cowboy Challenge and the interest in the sport thereafter, the New Zealand Cowboy Challenge Association Inc. was duly formed.
Clubs and individuals organise Challenges, with approval and assistance from the NZCCA. The Association also maintains points, provides an official Rule Book and oversees judge training, and has developed an official, competitive structure, enabling local, regional and national points approved challenges to be held.
See "Downloads" page for Rules and Constitution; the Rule Book includes a list of obstacles that may be included in a Challenge.
See below for a chart indicating how points are allocated to a horse and rider combination. Once a combination reaches a certain number of points, they progress to the next class (refer Rule Book). Horse and rider combinations registered for Hi Points are eligible for an end of season award, given for the most points over the season. See Hi Points Registration form under "Downloads" page.
NZCCA has a programme to train judges for New Zealand Challenges; each competition requires at least two official judges. See Judge Training and Requirements under "Downloads".
Annual Points are awarded as follows:
competitors 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th
1 or 2 1
3 or 4 2 1
5 or 6 3 2 1
7 or 8 4 3 2 1
9 or 10 5 4 3 2 1
11 to 15 6 5 4 3 2 1
16 - 20 7 6 5 4 3 2
21 + 8 7 6 5 4 3