Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Daffodil All Arabian Spring Horse Show.......Out of Balance......and Thoughts on Showmanship......

Part 1

Sunday morning I was off to the horse show in plenty of time to get my horse schooled before the morning session began. I worked at getting my Arabian horse a little more collected and with that a little slower at the jog and the lope. Not that he's not going at the rate of most horses out there, it's just that he can go so much slower and do it correctly and our goal is to be the best that we can be.

Dave had done a superb job on my clunky winter riding boots. I showed them to Crystal when arriving at the show and she didn't even recognize them. She thought they were a totally different pair and was quite surprised when I told her these were the BAD looking ones she'd seen the day before.

During my open western pleasure ride Saturday afternoon, Legs felt really square underneath me. Yet Sunday morning it felt like he was throwing me to the left just a little as he loped. It really didn't matter which lead, it was still to the left. I just couldn't seem to find a way to get myself square over him.

Of course, I have had this issue with Legs before. It is a symptom of his initial injury, that rotated pelvis, that occurred when he was an foal. However, I have learned it doesn't always mean his pelvis is out of place. It can be simply because the horse has reverted to the way he moved all those years to compensate for the injury.

It did not surprise me the horse had gone from being perfectly square right back to his old way of going. In fact, at this point in time, I almost expect it. Because Legs is not used to moving correctly, the likelihood is that he gets sore easily when he does. His muscles are just not used to that kind of work so he reverts to that old way of moving to compensate and lessen the impact of the work.

It will take time for the horse to learn that he will be less sore by maintaining a square frame. Hopefully, the length of time it takes to get the horse truly back to moving squarely again will get shorter and shorter and with that Legs will build the strength that keeps him from getting sore while travelling square.

Because of this incorrect movement, I decided to keep my schooling session as short as possible. All I wanted to do was warm his muscles up and get him moving as squarely as was reasonable under these circumstances. I had to keep into account the fact the horse was getting more work at this horse show than he had for the entire past month. Again, reminding myself to ride the horse that I have instead of the one I am striving to have.

Both of my championship classes were scheduled in the morning session. The first one was the Western Pleasure Adult Amateur Owner to Ride Championship. This was a combined class with the riders for the 18 - 39 age division and the 40 & over age division and it was the 9th class of the morning.

With three showmanship classes beginning the session, I figured it was possible I would have plenty of time to get ready for my class. I used the show program to count up the number of kids entered so I could guesstimate how long these classes might take. Using this as my gauge, I figured that showmanship would take at least two hour so after our schooling session, I untacked my horse and let him finish his breakfast while I went to the ring to watch the showmanship.

One of the horse's I was stabled with belong to a kid who does showmanship so I was there on the rail like others from the barn, cheering her on. I have to admit, I don't know all that much about showmanship. For some reason the adults on the Arabian horse show circuit do not show in that class. It's not that the rules don't provide for the class, because they do, but shows do not provide them in their schedules. I suspect there are not requests to add them either.

The end result is adults don't show in showmanship classes at Arab shows. I would imagine there are plenty of adults who could benefit from having the kind of control of their horse that showing in showmanship would teach them. I think it's probably a good idea that 4-H requires kids to show in that class and I think to earn certain awards in pinto, they must show showmanship as well. I guess it's a moot point as far as the Arabs are concerned. I doubt that showmanship for adults will make it onto show schedules anytime soon.

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

Western Pleasure AAOTR Championship....

The foal in this picture is a full brother to the one in yesterday's post. As you can see by this picture, he hasn't figured out how to use those long legs yet. I can't help but wonder what he must have been thinking as he tried to figure those things out. What do you think?

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  1. I like Showmanship and show in the class whenever the opportunity arises. It's a habit for me to work on the basic maneuvers of it every time I handle or lead a horse. I have gotten slack about teaching the horses to stand square...which shows in most of my photos-LOL. I think the maneuvers the horses learn on the ground translates when they are ridden.

  2. I have had a heck of a time , staying centred on my feet , not as much on a horse,over the years , low back injury and sciatic issues tend to give me a numb leg by times, I find I really notice it though when I am feeling off centre or out of balance , suddenly I feel like I am working at cross purposes with my horse and could fall off at a walk . My fastest fix is to close my eyes and if I can drop my stirrup, helps get me centred and fast .Not possible I know in the show ring though , not sure how I would be fixing it there

  3. I HATE showmanship. I get way too nervous, I am much more comfortable up on my horse. Cassy is a very good at it, it is her owner that sucks!

  4. I like your thought about riding the horse we have--isn't that the truth?

  5. Very interesting, I have horrible balance part of it is becuse my hips are always going out. I do try to stay centered but I notice now that two of my horses try to always stick thier ribs out to the left. I have been wondering if its compensating for me being non centered.

  6. Seems like showmanship would be a good way for newbies to be introduced to showing, especially when the newbie is an anxious adult.

    Very interesting post about staying balanced and centered even when it's not "textbook straight." Unfortunately my balance issues seem to always have an impact on the horse.

  7. I too like the statement of ride the horse I have, not what I am striving for.

    They make adjustments for us all the time, why can't we do it for them too? Yet many people miss that mark and push for perfection, then whoopin' the fire out of the horse for their slightest mistakes.

    As if they (the rider) were perfect! Ha!

    Showmanship for adults? I guess the show committees more than likely view that along the same lines as Equitation classes for adults. You should already know how to do it. Why do we need a class for that?

    Like smazourek said though- it would be a good thing for those who are late in life in getting started showing.

  8. BECG, I think it carries over into riding too. That's why it makes sense to me that people know how to do the things the class requires.

    fern, I can have issues with numbness in one leg sometimes too. Not often but still it affects when I ride. It is hard to find solutions actually in the ring, seems like once you get there you have to ride with what you have.

    horsemom, I feel the same way about halter but it is my insecurities. I find the better I get at understanding halter, the more comfortable I am in the ring.

    Linda, I try to ride with that thought every day. I may ask for more but I try to accept what the horse has to give at that time. makes my training much slower than many but my horse keeps a good attitude and trusts me. That's what's important, I think.

    Crystal, I would guess that your thoughts your horse is compensating for you are probably accurate. That kind of behavior can be seen in therapy horses all the time. It only makes sense they would be doing it for the rest of us as well.

    Smazourek, I agree. I also think it would help newbies understand better how to control their horse when in the saddle.

    I think in the beginning most of us are seeking balance on the horse. It is part of the learning process and as long as we don't have it figured out it will affect the horse. It's not just you. We all go through it and some never do get it figured ouit. What's important is that you're working on it. Being aware of it, is the most important step in the process because you can't fix what you don't acknowledge as a problem. You're doing good.

    CNJ, that statement pretty much sums up my philosophy when working with horses. It may not be the fastesst form of training but it's reliable and doesn't hurt the horse or errode trust.

    I got a comment on this post on FB saying there have been requests for adult showmanship at the shows in CA put on by the DAHA club. I think that is region 2, maybe 3. Either way, they are considering adding them next year.

  9. Cool beans on the club at least considering to offer the classes. I they don't get any entries they can still skip it like everything else- but at least it is out there for people to try.