When things go wrong in the horse show ring. Part 1

If you plan to step into the competition arena, expect the unexpected. Few sports have more variables than riding. What might you expect to go wrong in the horse show ring? In this issue, I’ll put on my judge’s hat and share common mistakes. So common, in fact, that every horse show score sheet has a menu of mishaps and a box to record their numerical deductions.

Horse show judges’ PD Day

At a dressage judging clinic, Caledon Equestrian Park on Saturday. Professional development day. Wearing a few different hats as a horse show judge, it’s SO interesting for me to compare the disciplines. The scoring systems, the traditions, the styles – even the background music! Something to be learned and appreciated from every horse show ring in equestrian sport.

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!

When things go wrong in the horse show ring. Part 3

WHAT might you expect to go wrong in the show ring? I’ll put on my judge’s hat and share common mistakes. So common, in fact, that every score sheet has a menu of these mishaps and space to record their numerical deductions.
WHY do these things happen? Here, I’ll wear my hat as a specialist in horse behaviour (and generally curious person ). Uncover the source and the symptom begins to fade away. Here are the final 3 common show ring “suddenly moments “ and how to make the best of them!

When things go wrong in the horse show ring Part 1

If you plan to step into the horse show arena, expect the unexpected. Few sports have more variables than equestrian. This is the 1st of a 3 part article I wrote for Canadian Horse Journal. What might you expect to go wrong in the show ring? I’ll put on my horse show judge’s hat and share common equestrian mistakes. Additionally, I’ll wear my hat as a specialist in equine behaviour. Fixing WHAT happened depends on discovering WHY it happened.

The ups and downs of western pleasure. Part 3

How did western pleasure world get caught up in controversy? Slower lopes, lower heads, longer reins, stiller tails? Because of the specialization of the western pleasure horse and the process it takes to produce a winner, many of my amateur riders I coach have opted for the “all around” route. Classes offered at stock horse shows include western riding, trail, ranch riding and horsemanship. In pattern events, a horse which lacks the quality movement or compact stride of a pleasure horse can still be competitive.

The ups and downs of western pleasure . Part 2

The calmness and manners expected by competitors in the western horse show world is admired by other riding disciplines. This was one of the factors that attracted me years ago to the quarter horse horse show circuit. “Well-broke”, they stood still while mounted, ground tied and ALWAYS loaded. I’ve carried over the expectation of manners into the coaching and training I do with all horses and riders. So if calm and mannerly good…is MORE better?