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.
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.
First impressions are lasting impressions in horse show flat classes. Enter the show ring with confidence – in show mode, not training mode. Though judges aren’t yet officially scoring, they’re forming opinions as they organize bookwork and check tack. Get in there promptly. Don’t dilly-dally and contribute to a delay. That’s irritating to a horse show judge – the judge you’re hoping to impress. As a bonus, making an early entrance into the show ring carves out extra warm up time while the judge is recording numbers…and waiting for the tardy entries.
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.
Whose voices are you listening to? Speaking to a group of students last month about the influence of our media choices,I used a Life Lesson Learned from Horses. horse show I judged –a speed event horse, so distracted in the show ring by the calls of his stable mates that he crashed into the first barrel on course! Are the voices coming from our screens, song lyrics, celebrities and social media, steering us off-course?
I was 13 when I entered my first horse show. The judge advised me that the yellow macramé browband I’d crafted for my gelding’s bridle was not customary horse show attire. In 25 years as a professional riding coach and horse trainer, I’ve worked with 100s of horses and coached even more riders. What I’ve learned from horses and their people! What I’ve learned about myself in the fishbowl of the show ring! Horse shows have enriched the lives of so many – and been the catalyst for the train wreck of others.