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?

The ups and downs of Western Pleasure

In my travels teaching riding clinics, ‘“talking horse” with equestrians from various disciplines, the subject of western pleasure often comes up with the dressage and hunter/jumper riders I meet. NO discipline is without its fads and extremes. Dressage, show jumping, reiners and gaited horses have been called out for unethical practices and “unnatural” training techniques.

Horses behind the bit.

Once a horse learns how to escape the hands of a rider, he’ll tend to hide behind the bit even with a rider of educated hands, avoiding the annoyance before it begins. In equitation science, this is called “avoidance conditioning”. Thankfully, most horse show judges these days aren’t swayed by that horse with his nose tucked in – they’re looking past the head to analyze the balance, rhythm and relaxation of the whole picture.

Preparing for the horse show exam. 7 tips to be ready for next season. Part 2

“Good luck!” it’s heard countless times a day at the horse show in-gate. Yet we know better – horse show success is more than luck!
A horse show validates the skills you’ve acquired in the classroom of the training ring when tested in a different environment – the competition ring. Steps skipped in mastering the phonics and formulas of horsemanship will show up later in the exam!
As a horse show judge, I am giving and grading your next horse show “exam”. As a riding coach, I help you study for it!
So here are my final 3 tips to prepare for your next competition: