July 9, 2010
Following a clinic by AQHA Professional Horseman Casey Hinton and Shawn Flarida, the 2010 American Quarter Horse Youth World Cup reining champions were crowned.
By Tara Christiansen
“Hey, I like your shirt,” Shawn Flarida said to a 2010 American Quarter Horse Youth World Cup reining competitor. “It’d be better if it was green, but I like it.”
Shawn’s green shirt has become iconic. He wore it when he won the 2010 National Reining Horse Association Derby on Gunnatrashya and before that when the duo won the 2009 NRHA Futurity. And that’s only the short list of win photos that the shirt has made it in.
Accompanying Shawn in teaching the reining clinic at the Youth World Cup was Casey Hinton.
To start the clinic off, Casey and Shawn gave the competitors a rundown of the pattern they’d be performing later that day – Pattern 4.
Try to stay out of the penalties, Casey advised. Give the judges the choice to plus your maneuvers. If you incur a penalty, they can’t plus you on that maneuver.
If you trot to the center to start your pattern, Casey says you need to stop before you start your circles.
Pick your chin up and look up before you lope off in your lead departure, Shawn says, and make sure that your horse doesn’t trot off. Be sure to lay your pattern out – make your circles even and make sure that the judges can see the difference in the speeds of your circles. You need to hit the center of the arena – the judge won’t plus your circles if you’re off the center marker.
When you do your spins, Shawn says you need to avoid over- and under-spins. Shawn suggests that when cuing your horse to spin, you should hold your rein hand up, which will hold the horse’s shoulders up and will help him in the spin. This will also keep a hold of the horse so he won’t walk out of the spin.
In the circles, Shawn says that riders should hold their rein hand still. “If you get to chasing him too much it gets to looking like you’re driving a stage coach.” He also warns riders against letting their reins get too long. “Anytime that you have to break your wrist, your reins are too long,” he says, meaning that if you have to bend your wrist to make contact with the horse’s mouth, you need to shorten up.
For a horse that is distracted or spooking, Shawn suggests that you speed him up and ask him to do his job. It’ll get his mind back on the task at hand, and he shouldn’t spook anymore.
In the rundowns, Shawn and Casey both say riders should sit up and sit back as they ride to the stop. Shawn also likes riders to pick up their rein hand as they say “whoa” and slightly balance their horse into the stop. However, riders should be sure that they aren’t holding onto their horse during the entire rundown. Shawn calls this “running with the brakes on.” It will confuse the horse, and when riders go to balance their horse into the stop, the horse won’t respond as well to the contact.
With all of this in mind, the Youth World Cup reining competitors got down to business and laid down some spectacular runs.
Coming out at the top of the pack under both judges was Fabienne Kraemer of Team Germany aboard Beyond Hollywood. Fabienne’s wins brought Team Germany’s gold medal total up to four.
Natasha Miller of Team Denmark won both reining silver medals aboard Nic R Jac.
Under Judge 1, Team USA rider Reed Kyle won the bronze medal, but Michele Masi of Team Italy won the bronze medal under Judge 2.
Would you like to catch all the Youth World Cup action live? Check out America’s Horse TV!
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