May 2009

Classic Show, New Format

May 29, 2009

The Texas Classic kicked off its 2009 show on Memorial Day weekend.

The 2009 Texas Classic is the first AQHA show to be allowed triple judging. (Journal photo)

However, it wasn’t until the morning of May 28 that I arrived at the Will Rogers Equestrian Center in Fort Worth, Texas.

It was my first time at the Texas Classic, which is put on by the Texas Quarter Horse Association, but I felt at home at Will Rogers. For my first three years at AQHA, I spent two weeks in Fort Worth for the Ford AQHYA World Championship Show. We would all freeze in our Justin Arena room and have to run outside in the 100-degree temps so we could warm up. Oh, memories.

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Horse Breeding: Quarter Type

May 29, 2009

AQHA judge Jim Heird, Ph.D. talks about the importance of “type” in a breeding horse.

Breed type can be difficult to put your finger on. Journal photo

By The American Quarter Horse Journal Editor Christine Hamilton

Halter Classes

Rule 448 (b) “The purpose of the class is to preserve American Quarter Horse type by selecting well-mannered individuals in the order of their resemblance to the breed ideal and that are the most positive combination of balance, structural correctness, and movement with appropriate breed and sex characteristics and adequate muscling.”

-2009 AQHA Official Handbook of Rules and Regulations, 57th Edition

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Healthy Transition

May 28, 2009

Five tips to help prepare for bringing home a new horse.

Plan ahead and take steps to prepare for your new horse before he even steps into the trailer.

From AQHA Corporate Partner Merial

Perhaps you’re shopping for a horse for your children or grandchildren, or maybe you would like to start your own equine project.

Whatever your reasons for buying a new horse, it is important to consider all of the options to ensure the horse will meet your specific needs.

However, for many people, the challenges of buying a horse don’t stop after bringing their new addition home.

Here are some things to consider before the new horse steps in the trailer to come home:
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Favorite Faces

May 27, 2009

We asked our Facebook fans to post a favorite photo of their American Quarter Horse, and the results were absolutely beautiful.

AQHA membership offers even more benefits than a chance to chat on Facebook. Join today!

Are you on Facebook?

AQHA is! We love to share information with all our fans, but we especially love when we get a chance to know them a little better. That’s why we recently asked fans to post their favorite American Quarter Horse pictures.

This is what we said:

American Quarter Horse Association: Here’s how this is going to go: I really want to share a picture of my first American Quarter Horse with you all. And I want you to share pictures of YOUR horses, too. Pick your favorite picture and post it to the wall…

And this is what we got:

Click on the picture to view a description.

[flickr 28429325@N03 72157618550774741]

Find AQHA on Facebook. It’s just one of the ways we’re keeping members in the loop!

Whether you are a recreational rider or involved in English riding, cutting, reining, roping or racing, AQHA is here to help with your American Quarter Horse – the world’s most versatile breed. AQHA memberships have numerous benefits for both you and your horse.

Required Reining

May 27, 2009

Reining will again enter the international spotlight at the 2010 World Equestrian Games.

A reiner performs a sliding stop in competition.

Information from the Federation Equestre Internationale


Reining is designed to show the athletic ability of a ranch-type horse in the confines of a show arena. Contestants are required to run one of 10 approved patterns, divided into seven or eight maneuvers.

Reining was approved as an FEI discipline in 2000 for horses 6 years and older.

Some History

Reining originated from moves that a cow horse must use in performing its duties and was first recognized as a sport in 1949 by the American Quarter Horse Association. AQHA members, competitors, coaches, breeders and horse owners contributed to giving the western ranch type horse the international recognition it enjoys today.

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Equine Honesty

May 26, 2009

A trip to the barn is all we need to keep it real.

Holly Clanahan

Holly Clanahan

Lots has been written about intellectual honesty – the art of thinking critically enough that your convictions match up with reality. It means sorting through facts that can sometimes be distorted by those with an agenda. It means taking off the rose-colored glasses and avoiding unnecessary pessimism. In short, it’s just keepin’ it real.

This weekend, I read about one writer’s search for intellectual honesty … and I recognized someone who would completely understand why we – horse people – do what we do.

Matthew B. Crawford holds a Ph.D. in political philosophy from the University of Chicago. Unable to find a job right out of school, he retreated to a workshop where he began rebuilding an old Honda motorcycle. Although it was a world away from his ivory towers of academia, he found himself both relaxed and energized by the physical work, by the challenge of taking a very concrete problem and finding an equally real solution to it.

And then he landed a job as executive director of a Washington, D.C., think tank – where his work was abstract and not always in line with his personal values. But still, it was a prestigious appointment, and the pay had to have been more than decent. He lasted five months.

Matthew now runs his own small motorcycle-repair business in Richmond, Virginia. In his New York Times essay and in his forthcoming book, “Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry Into the Value of Work,” he talks about how working with your hands can be good for the soul.

Motorcycles, after all, don’t lie, and to repair them requires complex thinking – reasoning what went wrong, why and determining how best to fix the problem. Especially with the vintage motorcycles Matthew works on, there isn’t a prescribed course of action. Instead, judgment and experience come into play as much as anything. At the end of each day, Matthew finds joy in seeing the tangible results of his efforts – the repaired bikes that vrroom out of his shop with happy customers aboard.

So how does that relate to us horse people? See if any of this sounds familiar:

“Good diagnosis requires attentiveness to the machine, almost a conversation with it … Cognitive psychologists speak of ‘metacognition,’ which is the activity of stepping back and thinking about your own thinking. It is what you do when you stop for a moment in your pursuit of a solution, and wonder whether your understanding of the problem is adequate.”

For us, we do have conversations with our horses, a give and take. “Does this work?” “No? OK, how about that?” And if we’re worth our salt as horse people, we’re always asking ourselves if we fully understand the issues we’re dealing with.

So my horse bucks? Am I sure it isn’t a physical problem? Have I checked the saddle fit? Is it behavioral? Are there patterns of when or where it happens? There’s never a prescribed course of action when it comes to horses, and complex thinking always is called into play.

And the even-better news? It doesn’t matter what we do for a living. Unlike the author of the New York Times article, we don’t even have to have a drastic change of occupation in order to experience this kind of intellectual honesty. All we have to do is step out to the barn.

Happy riding!
Holly Clanahan
Editor, America’s Horse magazine

Don’t miss the fun, educational and heart-warming stories in the print version of America’s Horse! It goes to all members of the American Quarter Horse Association, and it’ll also keep you in the loop on Association news. We want you to belong!


May 26, 2009

AQHA Professional Horseman and Team Wrangler member Dan Trein lends his wisdom on the western pleasure extended jog.

Dan Trein and That Would Be Me

By Dan Trein with The American Quarter Horse Journal Editor Christine Hamilton

What is the extended western pleasure jog supposed to be?

Simply what it’s called: It’s just a moderate extension of the jog. We put enough extension to it so that there’s a notable difference. But in a western pleasure extended jog, you won’t see the level of impulsion as you would if you asked that hunter under saddle horse to trot ahead.

A Little Bit of Flutter

We like to sit back a little more and use a “flutter” or bump with the legs to ask the horse to extend. We might use or add a verbal command. When we want to back off the extension, instead of fluttering the leg, we take the full leg down around and underneath the rib, so the leg comes up against the body and the horse comes to associate that squeeze with a slowdown. Read the rest of this entry »

Tramel’s Travels

May 25, 2009

The 2008 Frequent Rider Award winner has completed more than 55 AQHA trail rides.

By Kristin Syverson

Janice Tramel and Ghost One Gray took advantage of an AQHA recreational riding program.

Last year, Janice Tramel rode through  Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas and Colorado.  Her four-state horseback tour netted Janice a total of 12 AQHA rides, enough to earn her the title of AQHA’s 2008 Frequent Rider.

This Locust Grove, Oklahoma, resident is no stranger to the Frequent Rider award. She also won the title in 2004, the year of her first AQHA ride.

What made Janice decide to hit the trails for her very first ride in Sayre, Oklahoma?

“After many years with American Quarter Horses, I was looking for something less stressful than competitive activities. I also wanted to see America. The Ride Program has made both of those goals possible.” Read the rest of this entry »

Creep Feed

May 22, 2009

When and how to creep feed your foal.

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

You can help solidify your foal’s nutritional foundation by creep feeding during his first year.

Creep feeders allow foals to become accustomed to eating solid foods before weaning time, reducing stress.

Plus, Gwen McBride from The Equine Research Centre at the University of Guelph in Ontario, says that to supplement growth in nursing foals, creep feed provides the nutrients that aren’t found in adequate amounts in mare’s milk – i.e., calcium, phosphorus and trace minerals such as copper, manganese, zinc and iron.

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Floor Seats

May 21, 2009

See the show from a judge’s perspective by being a ring steward.

A shirt and tie is appropriate for larger horse shows.

By Kristin Syverson, with information from Executive Director of Marketing and Publications Jim Bret Campbell

Each AQHA show relies on the hard work of a few dedicated individuals. Ring stewards make up one important part of the show management team.

As a ring steward, you get an inside look at a horse show. You come away with a new appreciation for all that it takes to keep one going. Plus, you are able to spend time in the show ring side-by-side with an official AQHA judge. Pay attention and ask timely questions because you’ll end up with a wealth of insight from a knowledgeable horseman.

A ring steward doesn’t need any prior training, though it is helpful to have some experience with horses and horse shows. If you lack that experience, head over to a local AQHA show and spend some time observing. Get yourself used to the rhythm of a horse show. You can also gain some miles helping out at a small or fun show before you hit the bigger ones. Read the rest of this entry »

Grass Founder in Horses

May 21, 2009

Lush spring pastures can be dangerous temptations for horses.

To protect your horse's health, you may need to limit his access to sugar-rich spring grass.

By Dr. Tom Lenz in The American Quarter Horse Journal

Spring is upon us. As lush, green grass begins to grow, it could be the beginning of serious founder problems – laminitis.

Laminitis is inflammation of the laminae of the horse’s foot. Laminae make up the delicate, accordion-like tissue that attaches the inner surface of the hoof wall to the coffin bone (the bone in the foot.) The sensitive laminae cover the bone and interlock with the insensitive laminae lining the inside of the hoof wall to keep the coffin bone in place within the hoof.

A horse suffering from laminitis experiences a decrease in blood flow to the laminae, which in turn begin to die and separate. The final result is hoof wall separation, rotation of the coffin bone and extreme pain. In severe cases, the coffin bone can actually rotate through the sole of the horse’s hoof where it becomes infected and usually results in the death of the horse. Read the rest of this entry »

Fun at the Sun and Surf

May 20, 2009

There’s no escaping fun at the Sun and Surf Circuit in Del Mar, California.

AQHA Judge Leslie Lange welcomes a halter exhibitor into the show ring. (Journal photo)

AQHA Judge Leslie Lange welcomes a halter exhibitor into the show ring. (Journal photo)

There are a few facts of life about showing in May at the Del Mar Horse Park in Del Mar, California, and they all helped to make the 2009 Sun and Surf Circuit a success.

For one, there’s the “Marine Layer.” It’s a low-lying cloud cover that rolls in off the ocean and camps out all morning, and the afternoon sun usually burns it off. It makes for pleasantly cool mornings to show in. The temperature is kind of in between wanting to wear a jacket and not wanting to wear one.

The beach is really, really close, and it’s Read the rest of this entry »