Saturday, May 7, 2011

Show-N-Tell Clinic!

Overall the show clinic was a good day! I didn't sleep very soundly and I was awake and staring at the clock at 5:15am, half an hour before my alarm was set to buzz. I was at the barn in plenty of time to unload and help hay the horses and I was pleasantly awake. It seems the getting up earlier and earlier this week was a good choice. Let's hope it's as successful tomorrow when we go to the real show!

The misty rain kept us inside most of the day but we did Trail outside since the arena is larger. My saddle was momentarily rained on which made me weep a little in my soul, but it looks fine. Fingers crossed that tomorrow stays the partly cloudy and 70 degrees they're predicting at the moment!

My first class was Showmanship. I wore the new outfit to test it out.

I have to tell you how brilliant I think I am: I bought magnetic number "pins" this year instead of safety pins to put a little polish on my presentation. Because my jacket zips up the back and is rather fitted, and I don't have a show mom to stick her arm up my shirt to attach the number, I devised a brilliant method: I stitched little pockets into the back of the shirt that hold the back side of the magnets. All my helper/random passerby needs to do is pick up the top magnets, place the number and put the magnets back. Plus there are holes in the number where the magnets are so it is foolproof. I could probably do it myself in a pinch. The for Horsemanship when I have the numbers on my pad I just leave the "pins" off. WIN.

But back to the actual class.

He did the best showmanship pattern he's ever done. You can see from the video that we've made some improvements since last year at this time, even though we've been working without a trainer. It might just be the outfit but it looks my posture has improved. I still need to get my left elbow in and get some more speed into his back and the turns. The judge/clinician made it sound like I would have won instead of coming in 2nd.... had I not left out the trot off after the 90 degree turn at the end. I walked off instead. Oooops. She was complimentary overall but said we need some snap. She mentioned at her last clinic I saw that she used to practice showmanship with a metronome. I plan to try that.

Our next class was English Pleasure. He was actually really good for this class, too. He was heavy in my hands but he moved better than he ever has in the showring. I was surprised that she pinned me first of the three. She did suggest that for Hunter Under Saddle I go ahead and put the chain back on my Myler D snaffle. So I had Max's Mom go grab it before my Equitation class. I've been working without it since last fall but I figured I'd need it back in a show atmosphere. I was right, but it was worth a try.

Equitation was not pretty. Thankfully there's no video of that. We got 3rd of 3. The biggest issues were inconsistent circles and major fidgeting at the start and end. Also inconsistency in his trot because he wasn't sure what I wanted him to do. I still can't find the pattern sheet for this one, but I'll post it when I find it.

During the lunch break I put him away in his stall but he did not pee. I have learned that he will NOT pee with tack on and he will not pee if I'm watching him. The shows he's peed between English and Western have been the best behaved. I had no choice but to tack him up and suck it up and ride his cranky butt. He was not good in the warm up.

I was floored that she put me first in Western Pleasure and was highly complimentary! When the class was done I thought I was in the bottom, but certainly not after the two kids on filthy horses whose parents dropped them off with their crazy horses and no helmets. I don't even want to talk about that. Instead she complimented his movement and consistency including his good lope which I thought was far too fast but she really liked his carriage. Neat!

Horsemanship was an absolute hot mess.
Also glad that was not recorded as evidence. It started with a lope off of a halt which is difficult. Instead of halting after the lope he spun halfway around so my 180 became 270. Ooops. So we were in the middle for that one.

We also did the Trail class.
I'm pretty sure I won't be showing Trail any time soon. We got 4th out of 6 and I think that was probably generous. We did a terrible job jogging a circle inside a box, over poles, and then backing through a chute. The rest was perfect.

I will get images of the patterns and post them eventually so you can see. I'm not sure where my pattern cards ended up.

And now I'm tired and need to stop thinking and rest up for tomorrow.


  1. Well congrats anyways, I still think you are more then deserving for the good places you did get. The showmanship looked great, but I agree that something just doesnt spark. I thought his back was somewhat slow and resistent, as well as the pivots. I think if those were slightly polished, it would have been great. He was fantastic for his trotting thought and stays in step with you, even the front legs matched yours at times. I hope you are looking forward to the show tomorrow, and I look forward to hearing about it. Hope you have more pictures though! :P

  2. The showmanship video was great! I was confused at first because of the outfit, but then I figured out the first one was from last year. :) It's always a good sign when the judge can only say, "you need more snap". So the only advice I can give is that I think there are times in your pattern where you look a little rushed... each piece of the pattern is it's own movement and when you put all the movements together, it's a pattern. I think you could look more polished and get that "snap" if you make sure to finish each piece exactly before moving on to the next piece. It's ok to have fast pivots, for example, but just make sure you finish the pivot before moving on. I even briefly pause before moving on to the next piece. It was a really nice pattern!

    What a great idea for the number pins!! I needed that when I had my aubergine stuff because it zipped in the back and I could never find someone to help me. You should sell your idea to Hobby Horse and make millions!

    Sounds like you had a wonderful show... the western pleasure class must make you feel really good! Can't wait to hear about the show from today!

  3. Yep, great idea on the magnetic pins. I love constructive criticism and hope you will offer it to me once I'm up to snuff on posting videos. Showmanship is one of our stronger classes, so here are my $.75... Work on getting that gorgeous gelding to give more gently to chain pressure. This can be done when standing, walking or trotting with jiggling the chain and his head should go way down. When you set up for inspection show the judge that you are showing your horse. For example, each time you change sides glance from the hocks to hip to ears to eye contact with the judge, all with a confident grin. This also holds me accountable if the horse shifts weight. I thought the pattern looked really good, especially for the beginning of the season. Go get 'em!!!!