Horse Showing

Backing Your Horse Like a Champ

November 18, 2015

Ask your horse to back up lightly and willingly with the halter for a positive horse-showing experience.

Margaret Bellville and GPF Legal Version perform the backing portion of their showmanship pattern at the Bayer Select AQHA World Championship Show.

Margaret Bellville and GPF Legal Version perform the backing portion of their showmanship pattern at the 2008 Select World Championship Show.

Backing your horse is a common maneuver in showmanship classes, so it’s important to do it correctly and seemingly effortlessly.

AQHA’s Fundamentals of Horsemanship books offer this advice. Read the rest of this entry »

It’s Showtime!

November 4, 2015

Tips for looking your personal best in the horse-showing arena.

A polished appearance can help you show off your horse.

A polished appearance can help you show off your horse.

Although judges are looking for the best horses and horsemen in a class, a polished and professional look completes a fine performance in the show ring like good china completes a gourmet meal.

AQHA Professional Horseman Holly Hover; Bobbi Pullin, wife of AQHA Professional Horseman Doug Pullin; and exhibitor Natalie Unger, a cosmetologist by trade, give their advice help you look your best the next time you step into the ring. Read the rest of this entry »

Choosing a Horse-Show Mentor

October 21, 2015

A good mentor will help you achieve success in the show ring.

The best mentors are often people who have spent time in the show ring. Journal photo

The best mentors are often people who have spent time in the show ring. Journal photo

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

A mentor helps you learn the ropes, establish goals and outline a plan of action.

Your horse-show mentor can be anyone from your mom to a fellow competitor, an experienced horseman to your 4-H leader – anyone who is willing to dedicate time and effort and has the expertise to push you to succeed. Read the rest of this entry »

Horse-Showing Strategies

October 7, 2015

Tips to make Level 1 western pleasure exhibitors look and feel like a pro.

Use cones to practice these passing tips at home. Journal photo

Use cones to practice these passing tips at home. Journal photo

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

In western pleasure, your horse should be a pleasure to watch and a pleasure to ride – no matter what your skill level.

All of your efforts should be aimed at making your horse look smooth.

AQHA judge Louis Hufnagel provides the following tips for novice western pleasure competitors. Read the rest of this entry »

Equine Sports Boots

September 23, 2015

Why your horse might need leg support for his horse-showing and -training endeavors.

your horse might need protection in the show ring

Like some professional athletes, your horse might need protection in the show ring. Photo courtesy of Professional’s Choice

From AQHA Corporate Partner Professional’s Choice

Our equine partners are routinely asked to perform complicated maneuvers they would not normally perform in nature, subjecting them to a wider variety of injuries than in the wild. Read the rest of this entry »

Practice Like You Mean It

September 9, 2015

Simulate a horse-showing competition at home to improve your nerves and your horse’s reactions.

Use these tips to make your horse show practice more effective in the show ring.

Think about the way you practice with your horse. You probably ride with less intensity and face fewer negative consequences if you make a mistake. Use these tips when you practice, and they’ll translate better to your show-ring experience. Read the rest of this entry »

Dressing for the Select Amateur Show Ring, Part 2

August 26, 2015

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

August 12, 2015

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 »

Parents of Horse-Crazy Kids, Unite!

July 29, 2015

Take Me Riding offers games, information, videos and more to entertain and educate the horse-crazy child in your life.

Nothing goes together better than kids and horses. Journal photo

Nothing goes together better than kids and horses. Journal photo

By Nicki Csenge, AQHA online communications and publications intern

Do you know a horse-crazy child? One who can’t stop talking about horses or is always playing horse show with their Breyer models? How about the one who pretends their dog is a horse and “rides” it?

If this sounds familiar, Take Me Riding is the perfect place to find all you need to entertain and educate your young horse-lover!

Take Me Riding is a website developed to educate children about the wonderful learning experiences and fantastic opportunities that are available through horseback riding. The easy-to-navigate site is filled with educational horse facts, resources for parents and teachers, and fun games and videos – all designed to encourage kids to go riding! Read the rest of this entry »

“Psycho” Horse Show Preparation

July 15, 2015

Try a “psycho clinic” to boost your competition confidence this horse-showing season.

When you are nervous, you have room for one confident voice in your mind - your own. Journal photo

When you are nervous, you have room for one confident voice in your mind – your own. Journal photo

By Daniel Stewart in The American Quarter Horse Journal

One of my riders was on course at an important competition. She was in the air, over a jump, when – boom – out of nowhere, she gets hit in the chest by this massive Mallard duck! It hits her, falls on the ground, freaked her out and made her forget the rest of the course.

That young rider had worked her whole life to get to that day, and what took it away from her? A distraction. A frustration. A duck.

Have you ever felt distracted, frustrated, confused or disappointed while riding, especially in a competition? Ducks are not always feathery. Your horse can be a duck or your own confidence (or lack thereof) under pressure. Read the rest of this entry »

AQHA 75th Anniversary Breyer Model Horse Sweepstakes

June 24, 2015

AQHA and Breyer have teamed up to give away 12 special 75th anniversary Breyer model horses.

Purchase your Breyer 75th anniversary AQHA models at Breyer, and use Promo Code 75BREYER to donate a percentage of the proceeds to the American Quarter Horse Foundation.

Purchase your Breyer 75th anniversary AQHA models from Breyer and use Promo Code 75BREYER to donate a percentage of the proceeds to the American Quarter Horse Foundation.

From the American Quarter Horse Association

As we continue to celebrate 75 years of the American Quarter Horse Association, AQHA is rolling out numerous events, products, discounts and giveaways for our dedicated members and fans. AQHA and Breyer have partnered to create a new collection of American Quarter Horse models in tribute to the beautiful breed that brings us all together.

To thank you for your support, AQHA is giving some of these AQHA 75th Anniversary Edition Breyer models away during our Breyer Horse Sweepstakes, June 9-July 10, 2015. Read the rest of this entry »

The Trail Wheel Warm-Up

June 10, 2015

Use this horse-showing warm-up to prepare your horse to work on trail obstacles.

As the horse goes over the pole, he should elevate his back, drop his neck and keep his shoulders up and square. Journal photo

As the horse goes over the pole, he should elevate his back, drop his neck and keep his shoulders up and square. Journal photo

By AQHA Professional Horseman Buddy Fisher for The American Quarter Horse Journal

I approach trail as if it is a jump course that happens to be on the ground. When I ride a horse to a pole, I treat it as if it is a jump. I want the horse to be in the correct body position and to carry himself over in a collected manner, with his back up, driving from behind.

As he goes over the pole, I want him to elevate his back. I like his neck to drop so his shoulders are up and square as he goes over the pole, holding that correct body position. Read the rest of this entry »