Horse Showing

Improve Your Horse Show Diet, Part 1

March 11, 2015

Horse showing takes a lot of energy. Eat right to keep yourself fueled for success.

Eating healthy at horse shows will give you the energy you need to ride your best. Abigail Boatwright photo

Eating healthy at horse shows will give you the energy you need to ride your best. Abigail Boatwright photo

By Abigail Boatwright in The American Quarter Horse Journal

Let’s talk about horse show food.

If you’re like many competitors, you wake up long before dawn and skip breakfast on your way to the show grounds. You grab a cinnamon roll from the concession stand when your stomach reminds you it’s 10 a.m. After riding through lunch, you might pick up a plate of nachos and a soda to tide you over through an afternoon of classes. By the time you bed your horse Read the rest of this entry »

The Unpredictable Champion, Part 2

March 4, 2015

Horse-showing star Silky Socks becomes a champion with his young rider.

Lindy Thompson and Silky Socks sail over a fence. Harold Campton photo

Lindy Thompson and Silky Socks sail over a fence. Harold Campton photo

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

In Part 1 of “The Unpredictable Champion,” you read about Silky Socks, an American Quarter Horse with a curious personality and exceptional talent. We left off where Silky Socks was sold to the family of a young girl named Lindy Thompson.

The magic between “Silky” and Lindy was near-instantaneous.

Jan Thompson, then of Plymouth, Michigan, purchased Silky for her daughter Lindy. “He was a project, he really was,” Jan says. “He was super Read the rest of this entry »

The Unpredictable Champion, Part 1

February 11, 2015

Unlikely horse-showing star Silky Socks became a world champion in 1974.

Silky Socks was supposed to be a rope horse, but he was the first amateur world champion in hunter under saddle with Jan Thompson. Journal file photo

Silky Socks was supposed to be a rope horse, but he was the first amateur world champion in hunter under saddle with Jan Thompson. Journal file photo

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

Silky Socks was supposed to be a rope horse. But the 1974 amateur world champion grew too tall for the liking of ropers at the time, and he found a path to the AQHA World Championship Show a different way, in a saddle that didn’t have a double rigging.

The single-socked gelding with a giant trunk of personal baggage became a world-class hunter horse, remembers Colleen Miller of DeWitt, Michigan. Read the rest of this entry »

10 Horse-Showing Tips

February 4, 2015

Try these 10 easy tips before you and your American Quarter Horse load up for your next AQHA show.

Bring your A-game to the next AQHA horse show with these tips. Journal photo

Bring your A-game to the next AQHA horse show with these tips. Journal photo

By Tara Matsler in The American Quarter Horse Journal

Horse-show competitors have a lot to juggle. From the grooming and prep, warm-up and time in the show pen, it’s quite a full plate.

I’m always on the lookout for tips and tricks to make my life simpler yet at the same time enhance my horse-show experiences with my mares. With that in mind, I gathered up some of my favorite horse-showing tips. Read the rest of this entry »

Horse-Showing Goals for the New Year

January 21, 2015

We asked you to tell us your horse-showing goals for 2015. Here’s what you had to say.

Whether your ambitions are big or small, setting goals for you and your horse is a great way to start the upcoming show season. Photo courtesy of Tagxego

Whether your ambitions are big or small, setting goals for you and your horse is a great way to start the upcoming show season. Photo courtesy of Tagxego

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

The turn of the year means a new show season is approaching. While many see the New Year as a chance to start fresh, it can actually be an opportunity to continue growing and build off the hard work you put in last year.

Setting goals is a fantastic way to look ahead to the end of 2015 and envision where you would like to see yourself and your horse. Maybe you really Read the rest of this entry »

Maintaining Your Halter Horse’s Peak, Part 2

January 14, 2015

Last week, you learned about bringing your horse to his peak; now let’s talk about the importance of giving him time to be a horse.

turned out horse

AQHA Professional Horseman Luke Castle says that giving a horse time to relax and “just let him be a horse” helps the horse come back stronger when you put him back in a program. Journal photo

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

AQHA Professional Horseman Luke Castle of Wayne, Oklahoma, says a horse cannot be expected to always be at his peak. Eventually, the horse has to be given a break or the horse will take one himself, so you have to know when to “back off.” We continue this series by asking Luke:

When you say back off, what does that look like?

There are two different ways that we do it: Read the rest of this entry »

Maintaining Your Halter Horse’s Peak, Part 1

January 7, 2015

How do you keep your halter horse at the top of his game, big show after big show?

evaluating horse

“When we’re pushing toward a horse’s peak, I try to get an overall look at my horse twice a week, at least, on Monday or Tuesday and again on Friday,” says AQHA Professional Horseman Luke Castle. Journal photo

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

“When you say a halter horse is at his ‘peak,’ it means he’s 100 percent fit in his body and mind, in tune and at the top of his game,” says AQHA Professional Horseman Luke Castle of Wayne, Oklahoma. “It means peak performance in the way a horse looks and shows, physically and mentally.”

Maintaining that look is especially tricky when you have to get a horse through several big shows in a row, each requiring that peak performance. The Journal asked Luke for his advice on maintaining that peak. Here’s what he had to say. Read the rest of this entry »

Don’t Hibernate When It Comes to Horse Health

December 17, 2014

Answer these questions to see whether you’ll be ready for horse-showing season this spring.

horse competing in trail

Stay on top of your horse’s wellness for the upcoming horse-show season by planning ahead for spring vaccinations. Journal photo

From AQHA Corporate Partner Zoetis

Long winter days offer plenty of time to think about getting a leg up on the competition this spring. Make your horse’s health and wellness a priority. Get started by scheduling a spring examination now.

Dr. Nathan Voris, DVM, MBA, area veterinarian, Equine Technical Services with Zoetis, suggests planning ahead for spring vaccinations.

“Before spring training, shows and competitions ramp up, it’s time to address the wellness of your horse,” Dr. Voris said. “Horse owners can take simple steps to ensure animals are looking and feeling their best with a visit to a local veterinarian.” Read the rest of this entry »

Protect Your Horse-Showing Investment With Proper Leather Care

December 10, 2014

You invest a lot into your horse-showing equipment, so make sure it’s well cared for with these tips from AQHA Corporate Partner Farnam.

horse show saddle

Caring for your expensive leather is easy with these tips from Farnam. Journal photo

By Cynthia McFarland for Farnam

It’s not unusual for a high-quality, well-made saddle to cost more than the horse toting it. With the investment you’ve made in your leather tack, it only makes sense to take proper care of it.

It’s not just about looks. Safety is also paramount. Damaged or worn leather can break at the most inopportune moments, potentially putting you and your horse in a dangerous situation. Smart horsemen will pay as much attention to the condition of tack and equipment as to the health and well being of their equine partners.

Read the rest of this entry »

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 »