General Penning Info

What happens during a penning…

Three (3) riders enter the arena. Bunched together at the other end of the arena are thirty cattle, numbered from 0 to 9, three (3) of each number. The judge gives a number to the team when the first rider crosses the start line, and the clock is started. The team must cut the three cattle with their number of the herd and guide them down the arena and herd them into a pen within the allotted time-usually less than ninety seconds. The fastest time with the most cattle wins!.

Official Rules

  1. All cattle will be bunched on the cattle side of the starting line within the designated area before the time begins. The judge will raise the flag to signal when the arena is ready. The flag will drop when the nose of the first horse crosses the start/foul line. The contestants will be given their cattle number instantly. Any delay in crossing the foul line may result in a “no time”.
  2. To call for an ending time, all assigned cattle must be fully in the designated pen. The flag will drop when the nose of that rider’s horse enters the pen, the rider must stand in the gate with their hand raised. If an animal is knocked or put into the pen after time is called, a no-time will be given. Time continues until all un-penned cattle are completely on the cattle side of the starting line. In the event that an animal escapes from the pen after time is called, but prior to the time that any un-penned cattle are on the cattle side of the line, the team will be judged a no-time.
    1. If an animal escapes and a team is calling for time, they will be judged a no-time.
    2. “Escaped animal” is one with any part of the animal coming out of the opening of the pen. (Please do not enter the pen to move your cattle out after calling for time)
  3. A team may call for time with only one or two assigned cattle penned. However, teams penning three head place higher than one or two, regardless of the time. In a multiple go round contest, in the event that teams pen their cattle in only one go round, the fastest time wins, regardless of which go round. In a multiple go round contest, the teams that pen in each go round will beat teams that fail to pen in a go round, regardless of the number of cattle penned or time.
  4. A team calling for time with any wrong numbered cattle in the pen will be judged a no time.
  5. Contact with cattle by hands, ropes, bats, or any other equipment, or hazing with any equipment or apparel will result in a no time.
  6. If more than four (4) head of cattle are across the start/foul line at the same time, the team will be judged a no time. Any part of the fifth animal that crosses the line will invoke a no time.
  7. Thirty (30) seconds after the previous team pens, the following team must be in the arena ready to ride. Any further delay will be judged a no time, unless waived for good cause. No team member may enter the arena after time has started. The team can decide to ride with a 2 man option.
  8. In the event a team is given a number that has already been used within a set of cattle, a re-run must be given IMMEDIATELY upon discovery, using the correct number within the same set. Teams receiving a re-run will be able to start their time at zero. In case of other official or mechanical error, a re-run shall be given at the end of that set of cattle using the same numbered cattle
    1. If an animal leaves the arena, the team can either be given a no time for unnecessary roughness; can be given time on their remaining cattle; or be given a re-run (at the end of the set of cattle that the error occurred using the same number, depending on the judges’ discretion. If more than one re-run is given in any go round, they will be given in order of occurrence at the end of the same set of cattle in which the error(s) occurred;
    2. If a team observes an unfit, injured or unidentified animal before committing to the cattle, the team must notify the judge. Once the team is committed to the cattle, any re-run will be given at the judges’ discretion. “Committed to the cattle” means that the team has crossed the foul line, their cattle number has been called, and the flag has been dropped to start time on that run. In the event the judge rules, the team is entitled to a re-run, they will be allowed to work at the end of that group of cattle and they will work the same cattle number;
    3. A Team Cannot better their time on a rerun. EX Your time is 30 seconds and cattle leaves the arena. You cannot come back and pen 3 head in 20 seconds. You will be given 3 head and 30 second time.
  9. Decision of the judges are FINAL. Judges shall be line judge and pen judge. All judges shall be adult members in good standing of HDTPA. In the event of a disputed decision between the judges, HDTPA Directors in charge will cast the tie breaker.
  10. A team shall be disqualified with a no time when either judge calls unnecessary roughness to the cattle.
  11. The foul line shall be between 30% and 60% from the cattle end of the arena and same shall be set and advertised by event management. The pen shall be situated 25% from arena back wall.
  12. Any attempt to work cattle on foot will be judged a no time.
  13. All contestants and herd settlers at a HDTPA sanctioned show must wear western attire: Collared western shirt and boots. Western hat is optional. Western attire is optional for the timers and announcers. Tank tops, tee shirts, polo shirts, and ball caps will not be allowed. A fine of $10 will be levied by the judges at their discretion, against any contestant not in compliance. Fines must be paid before the contestant rides again. Helmets are acceptable.
  14. No excessive schooling of horses will be allowed and contestant may be subject to disqualification.
  15. A rider should never allow the cattle to run down the “hole” side of the pen when sending cattle back to the herd (after a penning run). After cattle are penned, riders should never crowd them in the pen. A rider’s cinch should never go past the gate. The reason being, cattle feel no relief being crowded in the back of the pen and will continually balk when being driven into the pen.