Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Adventure Continues..........After Rhet's Class........

The Adventure Begins

Once I got back to the stalls, I talked briefly to Jesse about the yearling colt's class as well. Jesse felt that Rhet had given him everything he had to give and you can't ask anything more than that. It was obvious he was disappointed with the outcome but he had nothing more to say on the subject. Jesse just isn't one of those trainers who places blame when he's not done well.

Jesse did, however, have plenty to say about the scoring system. He does not like the system at all. His reasoning is because owners like me look at how their horses have been scored and decide to stop showing in halter. That's the last thing Jesse wants to see. He wants his clients to show their horses and have fun.

When it comes to Rhet in particular, Jesse believes I should continue to show the colt in halter and I should do some showing with him in amateur as well.. As a matter of fact he was talking to me about showing the horse at the Scottsdale show in February. There are Signature amateur owner to handle halter classes that Rhet is eligible for in 2010. My response to Jesse was I'd have to get a horse sold before the entries closed. I was in hock up to my eyeballs just making this trip.

Next I headed off to the show office to get copies of the halter scores for Rhet's class. While the scores had been posted during the class, it was just to chaotic trying to write them all down and still watch horses show so instead I'd just marked each horse's total score in my show program. Having this official record would let me really look at the individual elements each horse had been scored.

Only after I got the scores did I get up the courage to call Rhet's breeder, Chris. This is the first time a horse whose papers show her as the breeder has shown at the national horse show. (This reason I make this distinction she breed the stallion,Autumn Seance........but sold the pregnant mare and allowed the new owners the breeder designation.) That made Rhet's appearance at nationals all the more important to Chris. I wasn't looking forward to telling her the colt had gotten the gate.

My phone call with Chris was pretty brief. She was certainly disappointed but not surprised that Rhet had not done well. She had been concerned from the start that Jesse might not be "political enough" for Rhet to place. In her mind, at least, it was all about politics.

Chris did ask me how I thought Rhet looked next to the other colts. To be honest, I thought most of them looked far more mature than Rhet. While he hung in with them for size, he just looked more like a yearling. Also I thought many of those colts carried more weight than my colt. However, I thought Rhet's weight was good for a yearling and I wouldn't have been happy with him carry much more. The others were just beefer.......if you know what I mean.

There are lots of explanations for why this could be. I'm not going to go down that road. I don't know how some trainers accomplish getting a more mature look on a young horse and I'm not going to guess. What was important to me in this class was how these horses looked conformationally.....and how my colt stood up to the breed standard.

I will say the one thing that really bothered me about the class ( and most halter classes) was horses being allowed to stand up contrary to the rules. The correct stance for an Arabian halter horse as per the USEF rule book is "In-Hand horses are not to be stretched. A horse is considered not stretched if all four feet are flat on the ground and at least one front and one rear cannon bone is perpendicular to the ground."

I can't even tell you how many horses showed with both hind legs parked out behing them. Obviously this kind of stance affects the horse's topline....and you would think it would affect the score on the horse's legs. How can a judge tell if a horse's hocks are in the right place if the horse has both legs stretched out behind him??

My pet peeve, I know, but I want to ride these suckers when they grow up. Isn't that the point? Yet if we're placing horses whose hocks are out behind them in our breeding classes, will these horses be able to attain collection as adults?

But back to my basic complaint. How do you fairly compare a horse that has stood up correctly to one that has stood with both legs out behind? Yet that is what happens over and over in halter classes........and it wasn't any different in this class of Rhet's........and it wasn't just a horse or two. A number of horses that scored well and placed showed in a stretched fashion.

Once Chris and I had our little discussion about Rhet's class, it was time for me to find a feed store somewhere off the grounds. Again that morning I'd been delivered hay that wasn't suitable for horses.

I had three bales of hay left that I'd brought from home but I was hoping to save those for the trip home. With the added stress of the trip, I wanted my horses on their usual grass hay than the alfalfa I'd been forced to feed at this show. Besides three bales of hay wouldn't get me through the end of the show AND the trip home. I needed to find hay my horses could eat.

I'd tried asking around and no one seemed to know of a feed store anywhere near the show grounds. Next stop was the Hat Lady where they let me borrow their computer to do an online search. Thanks to MapQuest I was armed with a good map as I headed of the fairgrounds and down the road searching for the feed store I'd located on line.

The directions seemed relatively easy. I figured even someone geographically challenged like me could accomplish this task without getting lost. Imagine my surprise when I reached my destination only to find a block full of nothing but foundations where buildings used to be. There were big bins full of debris holding the remains of what used to be the feed store I was searching for.............. This could only happen to me!

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

After Rhet's Class continued.

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  1. I was sorry to read what happened to Rhet in his class. It's a downright shame MiKael.

    I know that many people who show stock horses will intentionally follow certain judges around and avoid going to shows where other certain judges are. I don't know if that is possible in the Arabian industry.

    You know Rhet is a qualified individual. Apparently a LOT of people know Rhet is a qualified individual!!!

    I hope you get your filly sold so you can go to Scottsdale! If you go, I will make a point to come down and help you any way I can. Let me know if there is anything I can do...I have lots of friends with places down there.;)

  2. i was wondering if you were able to find a feed store. actually when you first mentioned that the hay there was bad, i thought, "go find a feed store mikael!"

    i am dismayed to read this post, because when people are rewarded for bending the rules (ok, breaking the rules), that is when the whole game becomes corrupt. western pleasure is my personal pet peeve, when people are rewarded for riding false gaits.

    apparently one of your judges has integrity, and rewarded rhet and jesse for not breaking rules.

    it makes me so angry because i don't want to be ashamed of my breed, but trends sway people, and judges too. if i wanna see parked out horses, i can watch a different breed show!


  3. I hate Mapquest. The directions are often not direct and they aren't up to date.

    I'm sorry Rhet didn't place as well as you had hoped but he's young yet. There is plenty of time to prove himself. One day, one show....and all that!

  4. We have the same issues with halter horses in the stock breeds.....many of the top placing horses don't actually fit the breed standard, and you KNOW they will not be able to be ridden once they are mature. My filly only did so-so in halter last year, but we did really well in Lunge Line class. I'm hoping she does a bit better in halter this year (as a 2 year old), but my ultimate goal is riding...

  5. Oh no, how could the feed store be gone. I guess next time a phone call could save you a disappointing trip.

    It's too bad that Rhett didn't do well, but I do attribute a lot of placing to politics. I don't think there is any way to ever stop it though.