Sunday, June 7, 2009

2009 AHACO Arabian Horse Show in Salem - JOTR

Later that session Rachel rode Dandy in the hunter pleasure junior owner to ride class. I had been gone the week before this show managing that Morgan horse show so I hadn't been around for Rachel's schooling of Dandy.

Dandy is a well trained hunter pleasure horse and doing his job correctly this horse should be competitive at the national level. However, Rachel just has not been getting those kinds of rides out of this horse. Exactly why that is is probably open for discussion BUT getting to the bottom of things is important if the kid is planning on taking this horse to Youth Nationals this year.

Watching the pair together in the warm-up, it looked to me like the horse was heavy in Rachel's hands. As long as that is the case, it's going to be tough for them to be competitive. Rachel's attempts asking the horse to move forward into the bit were only getting part of the desired response.
By the time the gate opened and the riders called into class I didn't hold much hope for Rachel and Dandy having a great ride. The horse just seems to be plodding along instead of executing that springy beautiful trot that sets him apart from other horses. They entered the ring with the horse's frame being a bit long and the trot good but not great.

The transition into the canter was beautiful. Dandy always seems to nail those upward transitions no matter how the rest of a ride might be going. I will probably always measure the quality of upward transitions against those of this horse, they are just so flawless.

The move into the hand gallop, however, left something to be desired. Rachel used to hand gallop readily but now she seems to be holding something back. While there was a differentiation in speed between the canter and the hand gallop, smaller horses were definitely lapping 16 hand Dandy at this gait. The horse towers over the others in the class and this lapping at the hand gallop would be easily ascertained by the judge.

Rachel's transitions down are just not good. While the rest of his work in the class is good, it just is not pretty on these downward transitions. Dandy has learned he can hollow out his back and stick his nose out as he comes down either to the trot or the walk. It's not because the horse can't BE as flawless coming down as he is going up, it's more along the lines of communication between Dandy and Rachel.

The class proceeded pretty much along those lines. Sometimes there were brief instances where flashes of greatness could be seen but for the most part it was a clean ride with not much particularly special about it. However, at the A level such a ride is an accomplishment in itself. I figured that Rachel should find her way into the ribbons based on the other rides around her.

There were eight horses standing in the line-up, three of those horses were from our barn. Rachel and Dandy ended up with a fifth place ribbon. I think AP took a third on her mare, Belle, and Cody didn't get a ribbon.

That meant AP and Belle were qualified for the regional class. Cody on Amos was still hunting for points to qualify and Rachel on Dandy were shy one point. The championship class would give Rachel and Cody another chance to earn the points they needed for the regional championships.

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

JOTR cont.

Sorry this pic is from the archives. I didn't get pics of Rachel riding Dandy in Salem. There is video but a problem with the camera has prevented the uploads at this time. Will post when I have them.

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  1. Is Rachel taking lessons from Richard and Angie on Dandy? I know you had tried to help her, but she didn't want any help from grandma, which is normal, but doesn't help you get over your frustrations.

  2. I hope that Rachel can find whatever link she needs to understand what is needed to compete well. I have always liked horses like Dandy, who knows how to accomplish what is necessary but you have to ask properly. I've seen plenty of people win because they sit pretty on a horse (the horse did all the work). It doesn't help the handler learn one bit.

  3. I don't know how you keep everything straight at the shows! I never took more then two at a time and it was all I could handle! lol! Enjoyed reading about Nana on Dandy. What a great horse to take such good care of her! I'm sure she was proud as punch with her ribbon and got lots of experience too. As always great posts!