Team penning is a cattle horse sport that evolved from the common property work of separating cattle into pens for branding, treatment or transport.
Today it is a fast-paced event that gives a team of three riders on horseback 2 minutes to separate three specifically identified cattle from a herd of 30, and put them into a 16′ x 24′ pen through a 10′ opening, at the opposite end of the arena.
Teamwork is the key with all three riders working in harmony to cut out the correct cattle and drive them to the pen while keeping the rest of the herd back.
The history of the sport is thought to date back to 1942 when brothers Ray and Joe Yanez, along with Canadian cowboy Bill Schwindt were sorting steers from a herd of cattle on a Californian ranch. During a lunch break the trio reportedly came upon the idea of organizing what were routine cowboy chores into a competitive sport, one in which cowboys could showcase their horsemanship. The first organized competition is thought to have taken place at the Ventura County Fair in August 1949.