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Experiences with AQHA?
I have been debating on showing my horse through AQHA shows, but people have warned me against it due to the "cliquey" mentality. They have also said that the judging is all political, meaning that you don't win unless you're a big name, or the horse is. They have also said it is ridiculously expensive. (Although, I have seen the price tags on fancier hunter/jumper shows, where I'd imagine the people and the prices are especially bad.)
My horse is well-bred, but I am far from famous. haha. I'm only 16, and I don't come from any barn that is well-known through AQHA.
In your experience, is this at true? I know that you can run into bad people no matter where you show, but wondered if this is especially true in AQHA shows.
There are politics in every breed show, but don't mistake politics with level of difficulty and finesse. AQHA shows are big and very competitive. There are so many levels of rules, turn-out, clothing, etc. before you even get to the actual showing. I've had some people blame it on "politics", but most of these people are newbies who don't realize that there are things you may not realize you are doing wrong. Unless you've been showing a while, you'd be wise to invest in a trainer who can not only help you with your riding, but even down to what lipstick to wear or what fake tail looks best on your horse.
Otherwise, I show APHA, I'm not well known, but I do quite well. There's no denying that if you have a nice performing horse and are impeccably turned out you won't do poorly. It also doesn't hurt to get to know people and familiarize yourself with local trainers, judges, and more experienced competitors. They can give you a wealth of knowledge and networking never hurts.
It would be a good idea to have a lesson or two with an AQHA trainer so they can evaluate and discuss your goals with you.
^ agree w the above. Also head to a couple shows. Meet the trainers, and watch them ride on the breaks. Talk to their clients. try to find one willing to take on someone new that may just need help getting their feet wet.
How much you want to spent may determine what level you show at. Not in terms of horse, clothing, tack.. But more so in traveling, training etc. yes it's more expensive than most local shows. Search "whatever state you're in quarter horse association/club" and you can get a feel for the costs at the show, most post showbills online.
When I showed AQHA as a youth, the barn I was with was more catty than the other exhibitors. I now show APHA, love my trainers and we all get along. No drama!! It's out there..
The politics are real, but please don't let it scare you away from trying something new.. I've won and lost classes I shouldnt have because of it. It's everywhere, on all levels. It sucks, but you are paying for an opinion and unless it's a class with a scoresheet... Go out and find a novice/introductory show and have fun!!
Any show will have drama and there are always some people at shows that you just want to leave and never come back... I think it shouldn't matter who's there just as long as you have a good time and a good ride :-) If you keep worrying about who's going to be there, what they're going to say and who's going to be you why bother showing? If you want to go to this show go for it! If you don't, there's always another show. Showing shouldn't be about politics but some people force it to be... If you want to show you should have a good time and make some great memories. :D
I have just recently changed from a lower level trainer to one of those more well known barns and while I will admit that my placings did improve, I truley believe it has way more to do with the trainer and the skill sets that I am gaining from her instruction rather than her name alone.
I generally spend about $500 on a show weekend but that's for 3 to 4 days of showing if that helps. I'm not the big winner in the class, I'm more somewhere in the middle and my horse has big names in his bloodlines but the big names are yesterdays names...
I have really enjoyed the AQHA circuit. It's a place where the very, very wealthy mingle with the blue collared workers. No lines are drawn and while money can definitely buy you the horse, the tack, and the trainer to get you into the winner circle, so can sweat and hard work...
there's always negative nellys no matter what you want to do, Go sign up and go for it.
I think just signing up is a good way to set yourself up for a bad experience and ending up discouraged. Make sure you and your horse are properly prepared, then try it out. Set yourself up for success.
I think going to a show to watch & meet some people is a good way to start. See what is out there,how horses go & are prepared & meeting some people will help transition into things easier. I have seen people that have done well at open venues & go to breed show thinking they are going to do well there too:D.They find they don't fit in like they thought:-(,horse presentation isn't there,skill level of horse etc. They go away saying oh politics,snotty people,oh there horses are all on steroids or crippled,yup all sorts of excuses when reality was they jumped in over their head:-x.
Finding a friend or coach that can help you get your foot in the door to attending a breed show makes meeting people easier too,feel more welcomed:-).
You might be interested in this article: Introductory Shows Offer Chance to Show Quarter Horses - GoHorseShow.com
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