Thursday, August 23, 2007

Rachel and Grandma and Arabian Horses at the Summer Show Part 9

Part 1 at the Summer Show

While the Arabian horse, Scandalous Hope, stood quietly outside the arena waiting for her turn, quiet is not usually what the judges or the exhibitors want to see in the halter arena. I was a little concerned that the mare would get in the arena and be so bored after standing around all of that time, she would forget she was supposed to be paying attention to Rachel.

When the paddock announcer called the gate open for their class, Rachel was right up there in front, the first to enter the ring. I wondered if she had thought about the fact that meant she would be the first to stand up and show her horse to the judge.

If Rachel did think about this, it sure wasn't bothering her. She went into the ring like she was quite confident about what she was doing. She walked the horse in through the gate as directed and trotted off as instructed making her way around to the ring steward like she'd done it a million times before.

The ring steward is a friend of mine and is one of Rachel's fans. I'm sure the friendly face helped make things more comfortable for her, it sure does for me. Rachel lined the mare up as instructed and waited for the rest of the horses to enter the ring.

There were only three other mares showing in this division but all were being shown by professional handlers. Rachel was the only non-pro in the ring, let alone the only kid but she seemed undaunted unlike Grandma who was over on the rail sweating bullets. It's so much harder to watch someone else so one of my horses that for me to do it myself.

Part of the requirements in Arabian halter nowadays is that the horse must walk on a loose lead both directions of the ring. The judges are hoping to see the horses let down so the holes are more evident. You rarely, however, ever see the pros really let their horses down. They know how to get by with keeping their heads bumped up high hoping to give the appearance of a higher set on neck that is real.

Rachel just walked around the ring comfortably with my Arabian mare. Hope is very correct. Her biggest problem is her size at 14.2 hands tall. While that is well within the breed standard, bigger is better seems to rule in the halter world these days but Rachel didn't worry about that either, she just walked her horse comfortably around the ring.

The neat part about the way Rachel walked the mare was that it allowed the judge to see the extraordinary walk this mare has. Bob Armstrong (an old time breeder who was known for his mares and the father of Shannon Armstrong, the trainer I bought my foundation mare from) used to tell me that they breed horses for their walk. If they truly had a great walk, the rest would be there. It's something I've never forgotten.

Once the walk was completed, the handlers were instructed to line their horses up at the original places on the rail and the individual presentation to the judge began. Other than the fact that Rachel walked up to the judge like she was showing showmanship instead of halter, Rachel did a great job.

She remembered to turn the mare so she was facing out towards the in gate. Because there is lots of activity outside the arena, it's a good way to help keep the horse's attention and with that, her ears. But ears were not a problem for Rachel. When she asked that mare to stand up and show to the judge, Hope turned it on.

The horse's leg position was spot on and she lifted her neck up high and gave beautifully at her throat latch. I actually heard murmurs from a couple of people on the rail about the fine elegant mare with the neck like a swan.

The only thing Rachel didn't get from the horse was a little bit of a rock backwards that would have really tightened up her topline. But for her first time in the show ring with a horse she had trained to stand-up herself, it was an impressive showing.

Watching the rest of the horses show, I had no idea how the class would be placed. I knew how I saw it but halter hardly ever goes the way I see it.

The announcer had called out the sire and dam of each horse as it was being shown. Hope was the only Arabian horse in the ring that didn't have a nationally or internationally known stallion as a sire.

Believe it or not, sometimes that's enough to make or break a horse in the halter arena. Halter seems to be the one area of competition where politics is believed to be most prevalent. It's pretty obvious that the person on the end of the lead makes a difference in how the class is place. Maybe it's because the big name halter boys do a better job of covering up a horse's holes and presenting the horse, maybe it's politics, for me the jury is still out but that's another post in itself.

The card was turned in and the announcer began calling off the placings. In first place was a Desperado V daughter, owned by a friend of mine. She's a big bold moving horse they also show in costume and country english pleasure.

The second place horse was Scandalous Hope, trained and shown by a fourteen year old girl for her grandma. The smallest horse in the class and Rachel had beaten two of the trainers in the class. She was ecstatic and so was Grandma! Whodda thunk...........

To be continued............

The first post of the Rachel and Grandma and an Arabian Horse series was posted several months ago and documents Rachel's journey on her way to her dream of competing one day at the Arabian and Half Arabian US National Championship Show.

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  1. Oh Congrats! What a great job. I bet that boosted Rachel's confidence a mile.

    I don't know how anyone can do that. I'd be too nervous to show a horse to it's potential... Good job all around.

  2. That's fantastic! Well done, Rachel.

    I have no idea what all the technical stuff means, showing in hand's a lot more straightforward over here. It sounds like a complete minefield to me.

  3. Awesome! I love the above picture of her. Our first horse was a gray Arabian.

  4. Congratulations on your grand-daughter's win! I hope your grand-daughter appreciates having you as her personal trainer and the opportunity to show such beautiful horses. She's one lucky girl.

    We were so excited when we got our new boy Orion to find that he was nominated for our MN Fall Fest, a huge stallion auction show with big prize money that's supposed to be an all amateur show. But our excitement has dwindled as we learned more about the show. The horses entered are get of the nations very top sires, and even though its supposed to be all ameteurs showing, we're finding that it's really the top trainer's wives, stable help, and top breeders who somehow still carry an amatuer card. We don't have the means to afford a professional trainer, so we've given up on entering the show. We would really like to show some class A shows, but the competition here is fierce, and very costly. It's hard to justify spending the money just to have a good time, knowing you have no chance of winning, or even placing. I guess we'll have to settle for local open shows for awhile longer.

    I'm only saying all this to point out what a wonderful opportunity your are giving your grand-daughter. There are many, many girls who would do anything to be in her shoes. I hope the rest of the show went well for her too.

  5. Oh I didn't know Rachel was just 14! wow. Thats pretty awesome that she placed 2nd, and being such a young girl. That would be awesome if I could do at least what she was doing, and get as good as placings as her. I'd be excited to get a show horse, and do all of this showing. I'd feel so lucky :)

    Also, that is a very very pretty mare!

  6. That's awesome! What a great job she did. Give her a pat on the back for me. It's so exciting how well she showed the horse.

    Being first in the arena does help. I love halter it's one of my all time favorite classes.


  7. I thought this was an amateur show.

  8. Rachel was definitely buzzed after doing this well in halter! And she loves Hope so the fact she did it with her made it that much more special.

    As for this show being an amateur show, it was that years ago but due to falling numbers of exhibitors it was changed to a regular show but there are still a lot more classes for the kids and amateurs and just a sprinkling of open classes.