Western Showmanship Dos and Don'ts
Getting my 4-H kids ready to show this season and wanted to hear some current day trends and dos & don'ts for the 4-H ring. Like...wear gloves or no? Do you still look at your horse every time you switch sides? Tucked in shirt or not? Please share any tips you have. Thank you!
well i havnt done 4h in about 4 years but that was my best event haha. plus i still help out my old 4h group people when i can.
just remember its 50%-horse 50%-rider
always have them looking forward where they want to go. dont check on the horse. the judge excpects you to be confident that the horse is well trained and will follow commands. slow is smooth smooth is fast. dont let them rush through the pattern and take their time squaring the horse up. always have your head up and SMILE!
When youre switching sides of the horse EYES ON THE JUDGE. theyll watch you to see if you stare at the horse or look at them. they look for smooth crisp movements. they dont mind if you take a quick check of the horse to make sure everything is square but they want eye contact.
as for dress. around where we showed, there werent any people wearing gloves but its different depending on where your at. shirst is tucked in.
uuuuum cant really think of anything else. if you have more questions feel free to hit me up.
All I know is the 4H "rules" for my county, so take this with a grain of salt. ;)
If you're showing in a regular button up and jeans/slacks - Shirt ALWAYS in, wear shorts underneath and pin the shirt to it if need be. Wear a belt that compliments both the colors of the shirt/pants and the handler's frame (i.e., a petite person shouldn't go around wearing a giant belt, they'll be swamped in it. Go with colors that are harmonious - only wear a black belt if you're wearing black pants etc.)
If you have one of the longer "Showmanship Jackets" DO NOT tuck it in, it is meant to be worn out. Belts are TECHNICALLY optional, but when in doubt - wear one.
Around here it's up to the individual as to whether they wear gloves or not, but you almost NEVER see gloves with a button up. Most of the time, gloves are used to hide nail polish, hoof polish or to make a quieter line by lessening the contrast between jacket and skin. If your kids have painted nails, or they got hoof polish on their hands while prepping their horse, I'd go with gloves.
Looking at the horse:
DON'T DO IT (except as you're setting the horse up)! Keep eye contact with the judge while quartering and look where you're going during your pattern. Ask the judge before hand if they prefer exhibitors to look back at them as they exit the pattern (this is pattern-dependent). If the judge says yes, the handler should look back IN THE DIRECTION of the horse (over the right shoulder if leading from the correct side, left shoulder if leading from the off-side) every few strides, but still, look at the judge - not the horse. If the handler cannot maintain straight lines at the walk AND trot while looking back - don't do it.
That and I'm clumsy with the Hoof Black (thankfully only in regards to my hands and not my horse XP ).
Disposable gloves come in handy when applying hoof black ;) Better time to gloves rather than in a showmanship class.
Plus, I don't want to give up my crazy nail polish just yet. C;
Gloves: no (I make sure my nails are painted too, or at least no crappy chipped polish)
Glancing at the horse: nothing super obvious. I look with my eyes before making eye contact with the judge, not with my whole head.
Don't look back after exiting, I don't know anyone that can go straight without looking where they're going. I can barely go straight looking where I'm going!
Keep the hair in a neat bun
Shirt tucked in (w belt), jacket out
Smiling is great if it's natural, but someone more serious with a pleasant look is a lot better than a fake plastered smile.
Real forward running, no "duck waddle" or "crapped my pants and trying to holding it in"
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