New Top Hand Competition Premieres at the 2015 Cowboy Dressage World Gathering and Finals

The Top Hand Competition will premiere at the Cowboy Dressage World 2015 Gathering and Finals from November 5-8 at the Murieta Equestrian Center in Rancho Murieta, California, just outside of Sacramento.

The competition captures the spirit of the cowboy tradition of the West where all cowboys strive to be worthy of the honor and respect of being a top hand. Of utmost importance to this distinction of top hand is a cowboy’s skills as a horseman. To test those skills, the Top Hand Competition, consists of qualifying rounds on Thursday, November 5, and the Top 5 riders that day will continue onto a next round on Saturday, November 7, when they will compete one round on their own horse and then will draw another competitor’s horse from the Top 5 horses to ride in the final round on a horse they’ve never ridden before. The prizes include: a Cowboy Dressage Saddle to Top Hand Champion, Cowboy Dressage World Top Hand Champion Buckle, Cowboy Dressage Horseman’s Knife and Champion Ribbons. The competition is open to Amateur and Open Riders, Clinicians and Professionals age 18 or older. All of the details of the Top Hand Competition can be found at this site: The deadline to enter the Top Hand Competition is October 15.

The Top Hand Competition is part of the 2015 Cowboy Dressage World’s Gathering and Finals. This show gathers competitors from all over the country and beyond to compete for high point ribbons in eight rider divisions: Walk/Jog, Walk/Jog/Lope, Challenge, Vaquero, Freestyle (to music), Partnership Under Saddle, Partnership on the Ground and Gaited. The show is open to all amateur, professional and junior riders. For more details, the prize list can be found here:

The Cowboy Dressage riding discipline was started by Eitan and Debbie Beth-Halachmy in 1993 and the competitions began in 2012. It is continuing to grow around the United States and the world. It is a new style of riding that merges Western riding with the principles of Classical Dressage but is unique because of its focus on Soft Feel, which is the guiding principle of Cowboy Dressage. Soft Feel is not only sending messages to the horse but also having the sensitivity and awareness to feel and receive the messages that the horse sends back. The Top Hand competition is judged 50% on kindness and Soft Feel. The competitions are scored with emphases on lightness, harmony, finesse and partnership. Balance, cadence, carriage, control and performance are additional areas in which the horse and rider are judged and scored. Please go to this site to view some videos

Eitan and Debbie are joined by Garn Walker and Lyn Ringrose Moe as the partners of Cowboy Dressage World, an organization that brings the Cowboy Dressage code and lifestyle to the world through educational, recreational and competitive programs and events. For more information, please visit






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