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.

Horse show rules, pasture fence lines and living well between the limits.

The latest horse show rule books were delivered to my mailbox.
These are the rules. These are the ring dimensions. These are the tack restrictions.
With clear, well laid out rules-of-play, we’re free to push the limits of excellence, within the limits of the rules of the ring. With clear, well-laid-out fence lines, horses are free to buck, play and graze.
I guess a “you-do-you”, “follow your heart” view of the world doesn’t really work, regardless of how cool it sounds in a song lyric or Disney movie…

Responding to pressure – horses and humans. Part 1

I’d hedge a bet that most riders would say it’s more satisfying to be in the saddle than beside the horse, on foot. But if the reason is because it’s SAFER on your horse’s back, groundwork in yielding to pressure would add to the everyday enjoyment of your equine partner!
Does your horse ever…
• Knock you with his head, smearing your horse show jacket?
• Tetherball around you, calling to his buddies after unloading from the horse trailer?
• Snatch your arm almost out of the socket, diving for grass?
• Swing around at the mounting block?
• Chew on the lead shank (or your hand) when you’re holding him at the show ring?
Do you look for opportunities between horse show classes to hand him to your “groom” (code – mom, dad or significant other)?