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Special Events

The American Ride Drill Competition

Watch, learn, & cheer on your favorite drill team!


The Western States Horse Expo is proud to bring you exhilarating competitions and special events each year. In 2024, we welcome back the American Ride Drill Team Competition that will be held each day in partnership with the California State Horsemen’s Association and will host the California State Championship competition. This event is unlike any other competition of its kind and features our United Ride exhibition team made up of 36 riders from across all teams, two competitions and educational clinics/demonstrations! Space is limited to the first 10 teams who sign up so get your entries in!

Contact Jill at [email protected] for more information

American Ride Drill Clinician

Heidi Young

Heidi Young, from Boise, Idaho, has ridden, coached, and judged both loping and gaited drill teams. Back in the beginning of her drill riding days, and being unsatisfied with the coaching she received, she studied the craft and became a drill coach.

The logic and spatial awareness of riding in formation also wasn’t taught, but Heidi knew both concepts would help teams function and perform better if they could understand them.

Team dynamics are important, and being a team member requires additional skills from each rider. Team cohesiveness is a strategy worth understanding and then employing. It’s the invisible weapon of many successful teams.

A good coach learns what the judges in their discipline look for, and Heidi’s coaching experience launched her judging career. She travels around the US and Canada to judge at state and national competitions. She often returns to offer drill clinics and shares that logic of formation riding so teams can perform more precisely and safely, helping the teams up their wow factor.

Heidi ran in-person drill competitions until Covid made that challenging for teams. To provide something during that difficult time, she started an online venue for teams to compete and continue their craft. Gem Virtual Drill Events exists for any sized team in any location.  Now, with 6 online events each year that utilize a dozen different judges, drill teams can get constructive feedback and win prizes and recognition for all their awesome work in the dirt.

Whether a drill routine is performed for a judge or for an audience, formation riding is a complex, challenging, and rewarding sport. Heidi respects every rider for putting it out there in the dirt!

Presented by the California State Horsemen’s Association