Sunday, April 11, 2010

Checking Out Sport Horses at Heritage



This week the first Arabian horse show of the season in our area began at the Tacoma Unit. That made the horse show about a half hour from my farm and about as accessible as a horse show can get. You'd think that right there would be enough for me to show at this show but somehow my mind is always geared towards the Daffodil show that's at the end of the month.

I don't know how long it's been that I've gone to a horse show just to watch classes. Seems if I'm not showing, I can't justify the time away from here. There's so much to do with this many horses. I am always behind so going to shows as a spectator has taken a back burner for years.

Since my truck has been in the shop for two weeks, I haven't been able to do much riding so I've managed to get some of my other back log cleared up. Towards the end of the week, I actually had the awareness the show was starting and I might even manage to attend. I've been wanting to attend for a while now so I could check out the sport horse in hand classes yesterday.

I've been thinking about showing Reflection in sport horse in hand for several years now. I actually got the horse all ready to go one year only to have him cut himself in the trailer on the day of move in. Due to the nature of the cut, we missed the show.

I've kind of been dragging my feet about getting this done because I just couldn't seem to get the idea of showing on the triangle down in my head. I hate doing something I don't understand so I have kept putting off showing in sport horse because of my fear. I figured if I could just see others showing it would make more sense.......and maybe I'd get motivated to give sport horse a try so I headed off Friday morning to the Heritage All Arabian Horse Show to watch the sport horse in hand classes.

Now I've taken a couple of seminars about sport horse in hand classes. I "get" what type of clothing needs to be worn and how the horse needs to be groomed. It was just showing that horse on the triangle that had me stumped even though I'd been told over and over again how simple it was.

I must admit when I got to the arena and watched the first exhibitor I felt pretty darn stupid. The concept of the triangle just is not the scary thing I was making it. I guess in my mind I thought the exhibitor did something different on each side of the triangle but that's just not the case.

You walk the small triangle and then trot on the second larger one. Of course, that's after walking in to the judge at the apex standing your horse square and waiting for his signal to proceed. After the walk phase and trot phase the handler stops the horse again for the judge's inspection. Pretty darn simple.

Now if I can just find clothes, get my horse fit and trotting straight instead of turning his head towards me like most exhibitors horses did, I might just take on sport horse at the Region 5 All Arabian Horse Show Championships Pre-Show. Oh, and one more minor detail would be coming up with the bucks to enter in the first place.

I will say I found watching the sport horse in hand classes to be quite boring. From what I was told they had scheduling conflicts so people were given designated times to show and those times didn't keep the exhibitors in order according to class. I never knew if I was looking at a purebred, a part-bred or for that matter the sex of the individual unless it got close enough for me to see. Also, we didn't hear scores or how classes were placed. So we had no idea what the judge did or didn't like. That part wasn't fun.

After two or three hours of that, I was done. They took a brief break and were going to resume with another ten in hand horses before the beginning of the sport horse under saddle classes. I really wanted to see if what those classes were like but it was getting late so I headed on home instead.

I went back Saturday to get a look at the junior horse western pleasure and hunter pleasure classes to see how my youngsters might compare. Not that any of them is ready for the ring yet, because that just isn't the case.

Tag, Percy and Louie are far from understanding about frame even though Louie went to a show last year. Richard and Angie thought Louie was ready but it was really obvious the horse was in over his head......... not to mention the horse was affected by being there before he was really ready so it will probably be a while before he recuperates from that mess.

Tag and Percy haven't had nearly the time worked that Louie has. They hadn't been worked since before regionals last year until I began riding Tag in Dec. Percy's only been ridden a few times since then so that means none of the three is ready. Still I wanted to see what "the competition" looks like in those classes because it's been so long since I really watched any of them.

It's always informative to watch the early shows each year. I have such a high standard of what I think a horse is supposed to do. Yet few of the horses are really meeting that standard early in the season. It's a good reminder that a horse showing at the B or A level doesn't have to be doing the same job as the horse at the regional level and the regional horse doesn't have to be as good as the national one.

There were lots of rusty horses at the show among the seasoned horses. In the classes of younger horses there were some that weren't nearly as broke as I'd like but even so mostly seemed to understand their frame much better than my three geldings. I'm hoping if the weather will ever give me a break, I might make the Daffodil Summer Show with at least one of them.

Some of the horses at the show were a bit on the wild side. I saw two young riders get dumped and one rider just lost her balance and fell off. One of the dumped riders came back in another classes and managed to ride her naughty bucking horse all the way through the class. I thought she made a great effort and I hope she feels proud of herself for her accomplishment even though I'm sure she's pretty frustrated.

The classes were running way behind schedule. It was after 5 when I got an emergency phone call from Dave about Solidare so I headed home. The show was about a third of the way down the list of classes for the afternoon session when I left. I don't know how late they showed horses last night.

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

A Hasty Deaparture



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11 comments:

  1. Reading your blog for the first time. I love it!

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  2. The horse pictured at top of this installment, is he/she yours or from the show? I think I just feel in love! What a beautiful horse and great shot! Makes me wish I was there with you!
    Terri

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  3. HHC, It's nice to meet you. Thanks for visiting.

    Terri, that is Rhet (registered name Secret Envy). He is mine. He's a two year old colt I bought to cross on my Legs daughters. Nice horse but pretty darn full of himself. Hope to get some horses sold so I can breed a couple of mares to him.

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  5. RR-Sorry that your sport horse experience kinda, well, sucked. It sounds like much of it was frustrating! But at the same time, think how lucky you are not to be stuck in Tx where a show like that would not even be found!
    I read about Lindsey and all that your family have been through in fighting that fight. I am an RN and reading things like that always make me a better nurse towards my parents when they get difficult. I only say difficult --because they have a right to be and they are advocates for their (in my case) infants, which as it should be,-- my main frustrations comes in when you tell them (I'm in the NICU) how to hold or do something teaching wise, and they won't listen. Sometimes I DO know more when it comes to feeding, and other things because I have the experience, and want to teach them. It's the ones who think they know it all and aren't listening on how to make things better that frustrate me. I encourage bonding and helping with feedings,baths,HOLDING, etc. IT IS THEIR CHILD! Many things they do know better, but sometimes, well, let me say, it is a challenge.... Anyhow, your story has made me a more informed nurse. You stuck by Lindsay, and advocated for her, and knew exactly what would work for your sanity and helping her. Or maybe you just got through it. Inspiring! I have often thought of going into child oncology, I wonder if I have the nerve?
    That all said, could you help me figure out my Jackson's pedigree? I pretty much just want to know how to read it, and what type of Anglo-Arab he is. His mom is the TB. I can't get ahold of his breeder and she ALWAYS checks in to see how he is and answers my e-mails.....
    Could you send me your email, just to have a lookie loo? I can scan his papers and attach them that way! It would satisfy my rampant curiosity regarding my horse! Daddy's name is Lamarus Firebusz, is that Egyptian or what? The only thing I know is that it probably isn't Polish! :) Also, way back (great grandparents) there is a horse registered as PASB, not AHR as all the other's are. His mama is JC for Jockey Club which I know is TB. If you would be willing to help, I'd be thrilled! My email is pinkcurlytail@yahoo.com!
    Sorry 'bout the book!
    ~Mindy

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  6. I think that you were wise to wait. No sense rushing into shows before the horse is ready. I believe that you should always be working at home at a level above that which you are going to show at.

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  7. I can relate to horse shows running late and conflict of interest delays. It's really annoying.

    Anyway, glad you got to go and see what you wanted to (mostly). It's always interesting to see different classes and what's out there.

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  8. Mr. Rhet has stolen my heart.
    I must address your comment.
    You are not too old to learn a new discipline, girl. Unless of course you are in a wheelchair, which is not the case.:)
    I think my next installment will explain this comment.
    A finished quarter horse stud horse is what I learned to ride on. A finished reiner. Still wishing to find a true gentleman like Sleepy.Oh, what a love he was;not studdy at all.
    Rainbow, sitting a reiner is one of the easiest things in the world! If you have any balance at all, you got it. Just had to lend an encouraging word. It is so fun!! The amusement park of horses!
    Thanks for reading! I am so enjoying your blog! I meant to comment on Colleen's saddling troubles, only because I too have been there. Poor Maggie would allow me to kinda wallow the saddle up her side til I got it to her back. Tell her not to give up. A hurt, old lady finally was able to lift a saddle.
    Did not mean to rattle. I don't know your age and don't need to. I just know after a few injuries and a couple of gray hairs, folks start telling ya to take up needlepoint. We have to stick together. For ourselves and our horses. The next installment will explain much of what I have shared with you. Don't feel you need to post this comment. Far too long and I understand that. Just wanted to remind us both we are not too old to do anything!
    Love from an aging cowgirl,
    Terri

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  9. Glad I am not the only one who gets jacked up about showing . I want to show my filly this year , but I am convinced I will walk in ,trip fall and be dragged around the arean on my face (not that she has ever bolted in her life!)

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  10. jacksonsgrrl, it didn't totally suck but it was boring. As fast as the sport horse divison is growing, I'd be surprised if there weren't shows even in Texas with those classes.

    In Lindsay's case the nurses were great. It was mostly the docs in rehab that were a pain and those connected with studies they thought Lindsay should do despite how Lindsay felt.

    I don't know much about straight Egyptians and some of the other bloodlines but I'll do what I can to help. Sometimes horses farther back in a pedigree will tell me what I need to know and other times I know nothing. LOL

    Louise, we're definitely on the same page with that.

    Arlene, it was interesting, that's for sure. Don't know how much sport horse I will do but it was fun to check it out.

    Terri, I get your point about age but the odds I will have the money to buy a finished reining horse are slim to none. So my comment about age really related to how long it might take me taking lessons to get this young horse "there." Between that an my double vision, I'm worried I might not be able to tolerate spins......but I really do want to try reining.

    FV, I always have that fear too about halter and know sport horse. However, I do show some halter and I've managed to get through without an asthma attack and I've not fallen.......... yet. Guess that proves what we fear doesn't always happen. LOL If I can do it, you can.

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  11. OK -
    region 7 PB SHIH ATH Champion here... (& reserve champion in open)

    If you like showing in halter, OR if you like the score card in halter, I should say... you would ADORE sport horse in hand. Seriously. The score sheet is a page of all the things the judge likes and dislikes in your horse's conformation and movement and they put comments and stuff. V. v. cool. which is why it takes so freaking long and its about as exciting as watching paint dry.

    The triangle is actually a bit more complicated than you describe - the long sides, going parallel to the judge /apex is where you show extended/lengthened gaits...

    So you start the walk, make the turn - now you're on the far side - you walk big steps, showing clear over stride in your horse's walk - as big an overstride you can get. They look for the back to come up and the horse to be regular and rhythmic... after the corner, normal walk back to the judge.

    WAIT for the judge to signal the OK to do the bigger trot triangle. They usually nod. You want to start the triangle VERY straight and regular. The judge will be watching how your horse trots from behind. On the long side, you run your ass off - if your horse has been trained properly (I can tell you more how to do this later), your horse will LENGTHEN his gait, not break to canter. I usually circle at the corner here before trotting back to the judge because he's going too fast to really make that turn in hand. Again approaching the judge, his movement and straightness from the front end is being judged.

    NOW - the cons on this - SHIH judges are USEF judges - either Hunter/Jumper cards or Dressage. And since each discipline wants a different build and way of going you can get screwed. My boy has two national top tens in SHIH and I got a 30% from a hunter judge once. You just shrug and move on. The nice thing is that these are NOT AHA judges - the politics have not come into this yet.

    If you have a chance, show your stallion in SHIH. Often, if you get to know the SH folks, you can get a pick up handler - I've shown for several people. But your horse needs to be trained on the triangle to really get the full value...

    -Suzi, proud owner of RH Jericho++/

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