Team penning is a popular Western equestrian sport that involves three riders, three cattle, and a goal of separating three specific cattle from a herd and herding them into a pen within a specific amount of time. Team penning is often associated with working cow horses, which are highly trained horses that excel at herding and working with cattle. In this article, we will explore the world of team penning and highlight the qualities that make team penning horses so awesome.

The Importance of Team Penning Horses:

Team penning horses are essential to the success of the sport. They are highly trained, athletic, and possess a natural ability to work with cattle. In team penning competitions, the horse plays an equal role to the rider, and a great team penning horse is crucial to the success of the team. A good team penning horse must be able to move quickly, change directions smoothly, and maintain focus in high-pressure situations.

The Characteristics of a Great Team Penning Horse:

Team penning horses come in all shapes and sizes, but there are certain characteristics that make a great team penning horse. One of the most important qualities is athleticism. A good team penning horse must be quick on their feet and able to make sudden, sharp turns. They must also have a strong work ethic and be willing to work hard for their rider.

Another important characteristic of a great team penning horse is intelligence. These horses must be able to anticipate the movements of the cattle and work closely with their rider to separate the targeted animals from the herd. They must also be able to maintain their focus and composure in the often-chaotic environment of a team penning competition.

Finally, a great team penning horse must possess the natural instinct to work with cattle. This is often a trait that is passed down from generation to generation, and many team penning horses come from a long line of working cow horses.

Training and Preparation:

To become a great team penning horse, the horse must undergo extensive training and preparation. This training involves exposing the horse to different cattle and teaching them the specific skills needed to excel at team penning. The horse must also be trained to work closely with their rider, and the two must develop a strong working relationship based on trust and communication.

The rider also plays a critical role in the preparation of a team penning horse. They must have a deep understanding of the sport and be able to read the movements of the cattle. They must also be able to communicate effectively with their horse and work together to separate the targeted cattle from the herd.

The Thrill of Team Penning:

For both riders and spectators, team penning is an exhilarating and exciting sport. The adrenaline rush of working closely with cattle and the challenge of separating the targeted animals from the herd within a specific time limit is what draws many people to the sport. In addition, the close bond that develops between rider and horse is something that cannot be replicated in any other equestrian sport.


Team penning is a unique and thrilling sport that requires a special type of horse - the team penning horse. These horses possess a combination of athleticism, intelligence, and natural instinct that make them invaluable to the success of the sport. Through extensive training and preparation, team penning horses and their riders develop a strong working relationship based on trust and communication, resulting in a truly awesome experience for all involved.

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