Focusing on the simple stuff...walk offs.
So my mare was bred for halter and showmanship, but I made a riding horse out of her, though I want to get into some showmanship. She has very few skills for show manship so i wanted to concentrate on the walking off and the "woah from a walk and trot. how do you guys get that good showmanship woah ?
Practice, practice, practice. Every single day.
And expect your horse to handle all the time like you are in the showmanship pen; not just when you are "practicing".
It works a lot off of your shoulder movement. Really exaggerate your cues in the beginning. Lean your right shoulder forward to start walking. Lean it back to stop. You can gradually make your cue more subtle as your horse catches on, so eventually you barely move and your horse reads you.
And....keep your focus straight ahead, chin up, no looking down like you lost a key.
I'd usually jump right off after a ride and practice. Even just 5 or 10 minutes can never hurt. Try to work on keeping her cheek right in line with your shoulder and when you walk march like you have a purpose, that way she will march with you and know you mean business. Crisp, clear cues will help her assess what you want. I like what Beau mentioned about the shoulder movement.
thanks everyone that's really helpful !
When you get to the show, judges are amused by handlers who walk in an artificial gait - rigid long strides. Walk normally, same when the horse trots. Smile, if you should make eye contact with the judge. He/she is not the gestapo and they like to know you enjoy what you are doing. One huge mistake I see is horses that stand with the head bent toward the handler. This often happens because of the short hold on the lead shank. Don't be afraid to extend your arm or move in a little closer. I was announcing a class from a vantage point and out of 10 horses, 9 were bent. The little gal who's pony was straight, took the ribbon. The judge later told me that was what decided the class.
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