The Ranch Riding Extraordinaire

Winning an All-American Quarter Horse Congress Champion title is hard to do. Being the Congress Champion and Reserve Congress Champion in the same class is even harder. AQHA judge and trainer, Steve Meadows, was able to grab both titles in the senior ranch riding at the 2017 Congress.


“Both of the horses were dead on that day and it must have been my turn to win,” Meadows said. “I was grateful that I did it. That’s a cool thing and I don’t know if I will ever do it again. I’ve never done it before. It was pretty cool to add that to my resume that’s for sure.”

Meadows showed three horses in the class. All three were great contenders, but one happened to break during the pattern.

“That was kind of the trick of the pattern last year,” Meadows said. “There was a lot of really nice horses that broke in that pattern. It was a new pattern and it was tight. It went really fast and the transitions came up fast, so there was really no room for error whatsoever.”


Steve Meadows trains alongside his wife, Becky, at Meadows Quarter Horses in Staunton, Virginia. Becky works with the hunter jumpers in both the AQHA and USEF. Steve was originally a western pleasure trainer, but he started specializing in ranch riding about five years ago. He has multiple Congress and World titles. Steve has had his AQHA and NSBA judging cards since 2004.

Meadows knew Matt Kimes as a youth and caught back up with him in 2012 when he was judging in Burbank, California. Kimes was selling jeans for his business that at the time was called the Longhorn Jean Company. Meadows purchased multiple pairs and didn’t see Kimes again until that fall.


“I really liked the look of his jeans,” Meadows said. “I had never seen them before and I bought a couple pairs. I didn’t really stay in touch, but I ran into him again that year at the Congress. While I was waiting around at the trade show I ran into them and they asked me to help them get the jeans out on the east coast. I went to work trying to help them promote the jeans. When they got going full bore as Kimes Ranch they offered me a spot as a sponsored rider. Obviously, I took it right up. The Watsons are my favorite.”


Ranch riding is still a fairly new aspect to the AQHA. It became a part of the industry around 2012. Putting on ranch riding clinics has become a big part of Meadow’s career.


“They were brought to me,” Meadows said. “Being a new discipline within the breed organizations there wasn’t a lot of education on it, especially on the east coast. I had several people approach me and say hey you need to do a clinic, so I started doing them. It’s easy to talk about because it is such a fun class to do. Now with the ranch horse versatility classes it just keeps growing. In certain parts of the country it’s crazy big and other parts are still learning what it’s all about. I’ve got a load of clinics to do this year. Last year when the folks from the Congress called and asked me to do the demo there that went so well. Then paired with the next day being first and second in the senior ranch riding, it really kind of took off. It’s become a part of my program.”

Ranch horses, like any other discipline, have credentials to be a successful competitor in the show pen. Meadows said he looks for three main attributes in a ranch riding prospect including having a pretty appearance, being good minded and being a good mover.


To see more information about Steve and Becky Meadows check out their Facebook at Meadows Quarter Horses.


~ Courtney Hall, Photos Courtesy of Steve Meadows and Cody Parmenter Photography