Horse Showing

Scratching the Horse-Showing Itch

January 15, 2014

The humorous tale of a Journal columnist rediscovering county fair competition.

Journal illustration by Gabriel Trevizo

Journal columnist Pamela Britton-Baer quips about horse showing on a tight budget. Journal illustration by Gabriel Trevizo.

By Pamela Britton-Baer in The American Quarter Horse Journal

I’m broke.

And it sucks. It doesn’t matter how many times I tell myself that things will get better, lately I’m part of that middle-America crowd struggling to make ends meet. And so while I had every intention of competing in an American Quarter Horse show this past month, it simply wasn’t in the cards.

It has been torture.

I have a horrible addiction: Equine showitis. You might know someone with the same disorder. Chronic symptoms include: a constant desire to scan show schedules. A manic need to practice patterns. Frequent thoughts of securing a second job in order to pay for said addiction – or perhaps selling one’s child (depending on the aforementioned child’s behavior that day).

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Horse Showing: Reining Pattern No. 2

January 8, 2014

An AQHA professional walks you through this action-packed AQHA-approved reining pattern.

An AQHA Professional Horseman walks you through successful a warm-up and execution of reining pattern No. 2. Illustration from the AQHA Handbook of Rules & Regulations.

An AQHA Professional Horseman walks you through successful a warm-up and execution of reining pattern No. 2. Illustration from the AQHA Handbook of Rules & Regulations.

By AQHA Professional Horseman Matt Mills in The American Quarter Horse Journal.

In Pattern 2, it’s really important that your horse guides well because you’re loping right off in the first maneuver, and you’re demonstrating how well your horse can steer. If your horse is not willingly guided, then this particular pattern is not a good one for you.

You begin this pattern loping off to the right in a slow circle. Because this is the first maneuver in this pattern, it should be the last thing you do in preparation in the warm-up pen, practice that small slow lead departure.

If your horse doesn’t steer well, then when you walk to the center of the arena on this particular pattern, don’t stop at the center before moving into your slow circle. You have forward motion already initiated, and it’s simply easier to get the horse to steer. Just walk to the center and lope right off into a small slow. The pattern does not say you have to stop. It says you have to walk or stop prior to starting the pattern.

However, if your horse steers well, stop in the middle before officially starting the pattern. Read the rest of this entry »

Wooly Horse Hair Clipping

December 18, 2013

Learn to clip your horse’s white legs for horse showing.

Start with a larger blade and fade to prevent abrupt clipping lines. Journal photo.

Start with a larger blade and gradually fade to prevent abrupt clipping lines. Journal photo.

By AQHA Professional Horsewoman Margo Ball with Christine Hamilton in The American Quarter Horse Journal

When I’m judging, especially early in the show season, I see a lot of horses clipped so they have a noticeable clip line where the white hair stops. But you can blend that hair so there is no ugly, distracting clip line.

Remember: Make sure that the hair is clean before you clip. It saves your clippers and you get a better cut.

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Horse Showing With a Rope

December 11, 2013

Understand how horse-show judges score all the maneuvers of team roping.

Improve your run from the box to the face for better scores at horse shows. Journal photo.

Improve your run from the box to the face for better scores at horse shows. Journal photo.

By AQHA Professional Horseman Rick Rosaschi with Larri Jo Starkey in The American Quarter Horse Journal.

If you look at the roping scorecard that the judges use, you can see that it’s broken into sections, called maneuvers. Each maneuver has value, and paying attention to each part of your run can improve your score.

The main thing to think about is a clean, calm, consistent run. As soon as you finish a part, no matter how it went, prepare for the next part. Don’t worry about the last step. The judges will plus or minus you for each maneuver. If you get minused for a maneuver in the box, you might get plussed for every other maneuver, so your score could still add up positively.

I think it’s important for ropers to understand the elements they’re being judged on. Read the rest of this entry »

Understanding Horse Showing Score Cards

December 4, 2013

Learn how to climb the score card in your next trail class.

Read how a judge would assess competition runs through this pattern. Journal illustration.

Read how a judge would assess competition runs through this pattern. Journal illustration.

From The American Quarter Horse Journal.

In each obstacle in a trail go, judges have two tasks:

1.    To assess penalties.
2.    To give a maneuver (obstacle) score, evaluating the horse and rider’s overall negotiation of the obstacle.

Understanding how judges approach the score card can help showmen learn how to show better.

AQHA Professional Horsemen and judges Leslie Lange and Charlie Cole go through a sample trail pattern to give you an idea of what judges look for in maneuver scores and point out common problems that riders have.

Leslie and Charlie both have trained and shown world champions in trail, and they instruct judges in trail at the annual AQHA judges’ conference. Here, they offer their perspective on a trail score.

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Finishing the Forelock for Halter-Horse Showing

November 20, 2013

Customize the forelock to flatter your halter horse’s head.

Every horse is different. Choose a forelock finish that best flatters your halter horse’s head. At left, his mare’s thin forelock and cowlick makes double banding the best option. At right, this gelding’s thick forelock is best suited for a single braid, which allows judges to see his forehead. Journal photos.

Every horse is different. Choose a forelock finish that best flatters your halter horse’s head. At left, this gelding’s thick forelock is best suited for a single braid, which allows judges to see his forehead. At right, this mare’s thin forelock and cowlick makes double banding the best option. Journal photos.

By AQHA Professional Horsewoman Margo Ball in The American Quarter Horse Journal.

What’s the best look for your horse in the halter pen?

The decision should be based on a lot of factors, including hair texture, thickness and the shape of your horse’s head.

Remember, says AQHA Professional Horsewoman and judge, Margo Ball, your main purpose is to flatter the shape of your horse’s head.

“We’re going to look at two horses in our barn with two very different forelocks,” Margo says. “It often takes old-fashioned trial and effort to figure out what’s best for your horse.”

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Borrow a Trainer: Show-Ring Confidence

November 6, 2013

Perfect practice and a good attitude improves your horse-showing confidence.

Establishing consistent habits and focusing on you and your horse at the show will help your confidence. Journal photo.

Establishing consistent habits and focusing on you and your horse at the show will help your confidence. Journal photo.

From The American Quarter Horse Journal with Professional Horsewoman Lynn Palm.

To practice for what’s needed in the show ring today, a rider has to be able to think and know the horse.

Today, judges are looking for functional riders. The days of the trainer preparing the horse in the warm-up ring and then putting the rider on at the gate to go in and win isn’t going to work any more.

It’s no secret that getting better in the show ring begins with preparation at home and at the horse show.

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Warm-Up Woes

October 30, 2013

With the AQHA World Championship Show upon us, now is the time to brush-up on horse-showing warm-up pen etiquette.

The AQHA World Championship Show is upon us, and Pamela Britton-Baer bares her soul with these warm-up pen woes. Photo courtesy Pamela Britton-Baer.

The AQHA World Championship Show is upon us, and Pamela Britton-Baer bares her soul with these warm-up pen woes. Photo courtesy Pamela Britton-Baer.

By Pamela Britton-Baer in The American Quarter Horse Journal.

I like to prepare for a show weeks in advance.

I usually pull my horse’s mane at least two weeks ahead of time. I clip his socks around the same time. I start packing the trailer with various assorted items at least a few days before the event.

But I have a good reason for doing so. In the past, I’ve forgotten a girth, a bridle and – horror upon horrors – my English riding boots. There’s nothing like that stomach-dropping moment when you realize that you can’t show because you apparently left your brain back at the barn – along with your boots.

I think this is why most of us are stress-messes the morning of an event. I don’t know about you, but I start to relax once I’m warming up. Boots: check. Brain: doubtful.

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Horse Showing: Reining Pattern No. 10

October 23, 2013

AQHA Professionals walk you through reining pattern No. 10.

An AQHA Professional Horseman walks you through successful a warm-up and execution of reining pattern No. 10. Illustration from the AQHA Handbook of Rules & Regulations.

An AQHA Professional Horseman walks you through successful a warm-up and execution of reining pattern No. 10. Illustration from the AQHA Handbook of Rules & Regulations.

By AQHA Professional Horseman Matt Mills with Tonya Ratcliff-Garrison.

Reining pattern 10 comes with its own challenges to keep in mind while in the warm up pen.

The Warm Up

I will only work speed control on the right side, because I don’t have to worry about it on the left side in this pattern. Also, I’m going to work on my stop some. I don’t want to wear my horse out; I just want to make sure he’s listening to my cues to stop. I’ll then make a decision on whether to run him through the gate or walk him through it.

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Living on the Road While Horse Showing

October 16, 2013

Tips for trailer living on the horse-show road.

Long show seasons means a lot of time spent in your home away from home. Journal photo.

Long show seasons means a lot of time spent in your home away from home. Journal photo.

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

Ah, the glamorous life on the road. Eating drive-through fast food, cramming clothes into a suitcase and trying to find space for everything you need. For those who travel frequently to horse shows, rodeos or trail rides, living-quarters trailers have certainly made traveling with your horses easier.

Jennifer Horton, owner of Bar H Photography and avid showman, offers her advice for living on the road.

In addition to choosing the right living-quarters trailers, there are also many tips and bits of information that can make your life on the road easier.

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The Horse-Showing Highlight of the Year

October 9, 2013

As competitors prepare for the 2013 AQHA World Championship Show, let’s revisit the 2012 World Show.

Becky King rides Vision Of Art to the 2012 reserve world championship in amateur working hunter. Journal photo.

Becky King rides Vision Of Art to the 2012 reserve world championship in amateur working hunter. Journal photo.

By Larri Jo Starkey

We are less than a month away from the start of the 2013 AQHA World Championship Show in Oklahoma City. With the competition quickly approaching, athletes are gearing themselves and their horses up, hoping to capture a world championship title.

The American Quarter Horse Journal will provide coverage throughout this year’s show at www.aqha.com/worldshow.

Check out one of the highlights from last year’s show, when Becky King claimed the Farnam All-Around Amateur title with her horse Vision Of Art.

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Olan Hightower & Colonel Freckles

October 2, 2013

The 1976 NCHA Futurity was one for the horse-showing record books.

Colonel Freckles was inducted into The American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2004. Photo courtesy of The American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame & Museum.

Colonel Freckles was inducted into The American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2004. Photo courtesy of The American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame & Museum.

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

In 1970, Olan Hightower walked away from a career training horses to devote himself to a life where he could spend more time with his wife and four young children.

The couple worked side-by-side at their landscape business during the week and on weekends, they trailered four children and their horses to rodeos and playdays.

It was the best time of their lives for the close-knit family, and Olan could not imagine a horse that would tempt him to return to a life on the road and in the show pen.

Until he met “The Colonel.” Read the rest of this entry »