Riding the rail: winning tips for horse show flat classes. Part 4

Do judge’s care if…? Do judges prefer…? Horse show judging has taught me that the pressure to sort through a group of moving horses in a limited time doesn’t leave room for pet preferences. Without a good mover and correct leads, bling and brand names won’t land anyone in the ribbons for flat and rail classes.

Riding the rail: winning tips for horse show flat classes part 2

As a horse show judge, I survey the group of horses moving around the show ring and visualize the ideal- the entry illustrating the original intent of the class. Could that hunter under saddle effortlessly jump a course? Would that road hack fit the hunt field? Is that horsemanship rider not only elegant, but effective? Is that pleasure hack truly a “pleasure” to ride?

Riding the rail: winning tips for horse show flat classes. Part 1

Flat classes are the most subjectively judged of horse show events. Without the numerical scoring systems of other disciplines, a horse show judge has more latitude for his preferences. Still, there’s more to the sorting process than “The judge just didn’t like my horse”.

Transitions – in riding and in life

A credit-earning transition has no FLEE (rushing out the “front door”) And no BRACE (resistance–leaning on your hands or sticking on your leg aids). Full article on my site…
Maybe the same ingredients for riding transitions can apply to our inevitable life transitions too.
We’ve all rushed into the next opportunity or confrontation with someone, and regretted it.
Other times we get stuck – paralyzed to make a choice or a change .

Before the horse show season training project – mounting manners.

Why does it matter if my horse stands still while mounting? There aren’t any ribbons handed out at the mounting block. So, who cares if we let our horses walk away or wiggle around while we’re climbing aboard? If my horse walks through my hands, backs away from the mounting block or swings his hip into my outside leg, isn’t he more likely to do that inside the ring?

Teach your horse a credit earning rein-back on the judge’s score card.

Stop and back. It’s the final segment in many horse show patterns – the finishing touch. Most score cards include a separate score for the rein-back. As a young competitor, I didn’t take that final score card box seriously. With the “important” parts of the pattern in the rear view mirror, I’d be mentally reviewing the previous parts instead of earning a credit in this one. Now, I remind the riders I coach – don’t waste that maneuver score!

Heads up! Heels down! The line between equitation poise and pose.

Beautifully turned out equitation riders head up the placings at the top horse shows. Riding lessons devoted to arena laps without stirrups and in 2-point position pay dividends in the show ring. Head up! Heels down! But have you ever considered the line between equitation poise and pose? Dignity, effectiveness, calm and confidence describe a rider with poise. An air of assurance born from experience.

Mounting block manners- a winter project for you and your horse.

Mounting style doesn’t affect the judge’s horse show score card or influence a barrel run time – no wonder riders don’t devote time to standing still while mounting . Until it starts to become a bigger problem. So before things escalate to “Butch Cassidy mount-on-the-fly” style, sneak some mounting block training into each riding session. Training in one area of horsemanship spills into others.