Horse Showing

Trail Class: Working the Rope Gate

November 19, 2014

Learn some horse-showing hints to “keep the cows in” during your next trail course.

horse rope gate

When you ride through the gateway, think about blocking the opening as much as you can. Jean Abernethy illustration

By Cynthia Cantleberry in The American Quarter Horse Journal

When you think about stepping up your form for the gate obstacle in trail, try thinking of why the obstacle is one of the required maneuvers for the class in the first place.

Trail began as a stock horse class. Why would you be on your horse to open the gate? Usually, it was because you were working cattle, and it was more efficient to open a gate horseback when you could. Of course, it also meant you needed to make sure the cows didn’t get out when you opened and closed the gate. Read the rest of this entry »

Horse-Showing Tips: Neck Sweats

November 12, 2014

If you show halter horses, you probably sweat your horse’s neck regularly. With proper care, you can make your horse’s neck sweat stay usable longer.

cracked horse neck sweat

When the neoprene rubber layer begins to show cracking and pitting, it’s time to move a sweat to the top layers of your neck sweat use. Journal photo

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

To get the most benefit out of neck sweats when conditioning and fitting halter horses, most trainers layer multiple sweats on the horse. It increases the sweat produced in a workout and helps the horse get more out of each work/sweat session.

“I keep a separate set of sweats for each horse in the barn to make sure I am using sweats that fit them properly,” says AQHA Professional Horseman Chris Arentsen of Trenton, Illinois. “It also avoids spreading any crud between horses.”

Chris prefers neoprene neck sweats – which stretch for the best fit – with adjustable Velcro tabs that allow him to get the neck sweat as snug as possible on the horse. Read the rest of this entry »

Horse Showing in Dressage: Halt and Salute

November 5, 2014

A correct halt in dressage is all about your horse being balanced.

dressage horse halt and salute

After your horse halts squarely, salute by dropping your chin to your chest and moving your hand back to your hip. Journal photo

From America’s Horse

Because of the skills AQHA Professional Horsewoman Carla Wennberg developed riding western, all the horses she’s gone up through the levels with in dressage get 8s and 9s on their centerline and halts. It’s about collecting, balancing and pushing, and that’s something she’s learned all her life in a western saddle.

Let her tell you how to achieve the perfect centerline, halt and salute:

In Training Level Test 1, both halts are at X on the centerline. We need to start by nailing that trot down the centerline. Once we’re on the line, I imagine I’m in a tunnel. I focus all my aids – eyes up! – as if we’re in a tunnel, and the horse has got to stay in that tunnel, on those tracks the whole time. If he is leaning, it’s going to show up in the stop. When he is on the aids, when you have the power from behind, when he is straight and you say “Whoa,” everything just flows, beautiful and soft. Read the rest of this entry »

An Un Forgettable Horse-Showing Star

October 29, 2014

This 2007 gray stallion was the 2013 AQHA World Championship Show Farnam Superhorse.

un forgettable aqha superhorse

Un Forgettable competed in five classes to win his Farnam Superhorse title: performance halter stallions, senior pleasure driving, senior hunter hack, senior working hunter and senior hunter under saddle. K.C. Montgomery photo

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

The much-anticipated 2014 AQHA World Championship Show is just days away. We hope you’ll join us as the world’s most talented American Quarter Horses and riders converge on Oklahoma City. Get your tickets today! If you can’t make it to Oklahoma City, view our live feed.

Here’s one of the most “Un Forgettable” moments from last year’s World Show:

Un Forgettable made his second trip to the AQHA World Championship Show one to remember as he captured the Farnam Superhorse title November 23.

For owner Laura “Shad” Te Grotenhuis of Marshall, Illinois, the win was a culmination of 14 whirlwind months, beginning when she first saw the gray stallion. Read the rest of this entry »

A Horse-Showing Dream Come True

October 22, 2014

A horse-crazy little girl grew up to win the 2013 Farnam All-Around Amateur award at the AQHA World Championship Show.

Meghan O’Malley and her American Quarter Horse, A Chanceof Blueskies, after winning the 2013 Farnam All-Around Amateur title. Journal photo

Meghan O’Malley and her American Quarter Horse, A Chanceof Blueskies, after winning the 2013 Farnam All-Around Amateur title. Journal photo

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

As we look forward to the AQHA World Championship Show November 8-22 in Oklahoma City, let’s glance back at a highlight from last year’s event:

Years ago, Meghan O’Malley of Suffolk, Virginia, would stay up late as a child to watch “America’s Horse TV.” She remembers one person in particular who was interviewed on the show – multiple Farnam All-Around Amateur winner Karen Evans Mundy.

“I would see her win (at the AQHA World Championship Show) on horses that she bought as yearlings,” Meghan says, “and that was a large part of why I wanted to get a yearling.” Read the rest of this entry »

Dressing for the Select Amateur Show Ring, Part 2

October 15, 2014

Here are some of the finer details of choosing a Select Amateur horse-showing outfit, like what to wear for a specific class and what color to choose.

In showmanship, Vlietstra suggests matching your top to your pants or opting for a darker complementary shade of pants. Journal photo

In showmanship, Vlietstra suggests matching your top to your pants or opting for a darker complementary shade of pants. Journal photo

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

In Part 1 of this series, you learned the basics of choosing your attire for the Select division. This time we’ll talk about some specifics, like color and event.

Showmanship Suggestions

Functional, for the older exhibitor, is often a better aspect to consider than flash. “Follow your heart,” Suzanne Vlietstra, president of Hobby Horse Clothing Co. in Chino, California says about dressing for showmanship. “Be sure that whatever you wear is comfortable to move in and doesn’t restrict you.” Read the rest of this entry »

Dressing for the Select Amateur Show Ring, Part 1

October 8, 2014

You dress appropriately for your age in your everyday life, but what about in the horse-showing ring? Here are some tips for your most flattering Select division show ring look.

horsemanship show top

For a sleek look, Suzanne Vlietstra of Hobby Horse Clothing Company suggests choosing a garment with a design that draws the eye upward, as well as keeping a low contrast between shirt and chaps. Journal photo

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

Riders older than 50 should beam with confidence and fulfillment as they enter the show pen. There truly are benefits to being “seasoned in life.” If we approach these years with a lighthearted approach and a new look, we’ll reap the benefits. Just create a new beginning. Rethink color, style, accessories, makeup and hair.

Suzanne Vlietstra, president of Hobby Horse Clothing Co. in Chino, California, says that in general, as we age, we dress “a little quieter.” Less becomes more. The look becomes more sophisticated than sexy.

“If you have the body of a younger rider, then go for the styles that flatter your figure,” Suzanne suggests. But, if the post mid-life curse has sent fat cells venturing to where they have never gone before, dress to camouflage the unwelcome weight. Read the rest of this entry »

Tail Extensions 101

October 1, 2014

Five definite do’s with your horse’s tail extension.

horse tail extensions

Matching the right color for your horse is the first step in picking the right tail extension. Journal photo.

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

When it comes to using a tail extension on your horse, one thing is certain: It shouldn’t stand out as an artificial tail. If it brings attention to itself and takes attention away from your riding performance, it’s a bad tail job. “You want to complement, not overpower the horse with your tail extension,” says Barb Delf, owner and operator of Custom Tails. Barb has hand-built hundreds of tail extensions over the years, and she has seen their use and abuse at hundreds of shows. Here are her top five tips on what to do when it comes to buying and using a tail extension. Read the rest of this entry »

Horse Showing at the East Novice Championships

September 24, 2014

Do-it-yourselfer Melissa Price shares her story from 2013.

melissa price novice championships

Get excited for the 2014 Level 1 championships with this story about do-it-yourselfer Melissa Price and her experience last year. Journal photo.

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

Melissa Price drove nine hours with two Basset Hounds, her boyfriend Shane and her other boyfriend Romeo to get to the 2013 Nutrena East AQHA Novice Championship Show in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

Shane isn’t jealous, though. Melissa’s second boyfriend might be a “Romeo,” but he stays in his stall at night.

“A friend of mine owned (Hez A Radical Romeo), and I knew him from a 2-year-old being brought up, being a baby and going through western pleasure,” Melissa told the Journal. “He was sold to a friend who could no longer keep him, so she called me up and said, ‘We want you to have him. First dibs.’ So I bought him.” Read the rest of this entry »

A Judge’s Perspective on Horse-Showing Trends

September 17, 2014

Get a judge’s opinion on recent horse-showing trends and fads.

showmanship trot

An exhibitor’s running style, how she holds her hands and her overall posture should enhance the horse’s performance and not distract from it when competing in showmanship. Journal photo.

By AQHA Judge Kathy Anderson for myhorseuniversity.com

Horse showing is an integral part of many youths’ passion for their horses. Many spend countless hours preparing both their horses and themselves for competition. As with most things, horse showing goes through many trends and fads. However, the bottom line is, how are these new and sometimes expensive fads perceived by the judge in the show ring?

The Mane

To band or not to band, braid or not to braid? Much of this will depend on the level of competition, what classes the horse is being shown in and how skilled the groomer is. There is nothing worse than a poorly banded or braided mane! Read the rest of this entry »

Fitness for Horse-Showing Athletes

September 10, 2014

Make sure your horse is properly conditioned before you head to your next competition.

pole bending horse

Basic conditioning of the equine athlete involves consideration of the event in which the horse will be competing, the level of competition that you expect the horse to achieve, the time you have in which to condition the horse and the horse’s previous conditioning for the event. Journal photo.

From myhorseuniversity.com

The goal of any basic horse-conditioning program is to enhance the psychological and the physical responses to exercise. Psychological responses with conditioning include greater confidence and desire to perform and minimized boredom and resentment. Physical responses include greater strength and endurance, enhanced skills (such as jumping and reining), and minimized soreness or injury due to exercise.

Some of the most important physical adaptations achieved by conditioning your horse involve: Read the rest of this entry »

Horse-Showing Standards, Part 1

August 27, 2014

Learn why body control is so important in a western pleasure horse.

With western pleasure, a lot of people don’t realize that horses have to be in a certain position to have the lift and control the class requires. Journal photo

With western pleasure, a lot of people don’t realize that horses have to be in a certain position to have the lift and control the class requires. Journal photo

By AQHA Professional Horseman Shane Dowdy in The American Quarter Horse Journal

I ask the same basic things of all of my horses, from within their individual ages and experience levels. I want my horses to relax and “give” both face and body to the signals of my hands and legs.

I’ll often talk about the importance of “steering.” That means how easily and quickly a horse responds to his signals via rein and leg; much of that has to do with how balanced a horse is in his action.

A horse heavy on the forehand can’t respond quickly. I use neck suppling exercises, riding over poles and around cones, and working the flag to help a horse use his hind end more, working up off his forehand. Read the rest of this entry »