Judge Dagmar Zenker talks us through one rider's pattern in an AQHA Horsemanship Class.
This class has always been one of my favourite classes. It is judged on a rider’s ability to perform harmoniously with the horse, the only other riding class that asks for this is Hunt Seat Equitation. In times where more and more horses are being produced to specialise in specific show classes, it is still possible to win a horsemanship class with an average horse shown by a good rider.
More important than a flashy horse with superior movement is a rider’s preciseness and smoothness in performing the designated pattern, as well as a balanced and correct body position in the saddle. The ‘correct’ position is accurately described in the AQHA Official Handbook (available at www.aqha.com). The pattern is chosen depending on the assumed quality of the riders and the level at which they are riding and is available before the class for competitors to learn.
In the third instalment from his trail class series, Lou Roper works with the gate. As told to Annie Haresign. Photography by Obi Igbo Photography. Make sure to watch the accompanying video at the end of this article!
In this article, we’re going to look at working the gate. It’s a very practical skill to have as you may need to use this while out on trail rides in the countryside. But for the show pen, the gate is an obstacle that demonstrates accuracy and control with an artificial gate - designed especially for trail class.
Drawing on her experiences as an NLP practitioner Laira Gold explains how horses are no different to humans in their need to be understood before being asked to try a new behaviour.
Horses are always asking ‘who is leading now?’ From the horse’s point of view, we are unable to lead unless our sensory channels are fully open, aware of every little rustle in the bush and movement in the shadows. Within the herd, this is a matter of survival. It is the lead mare’s job to take the herd away from danger to safety.