4-H showmanship competition
Our county fair is coming up soon and I have a few questions about showmanship... last time I placed second to last :-x... so I'm trying to do everything right this year :D
Question 1• I was wondering what I should wear... last time I competed I wore a western shirt tucked into a pair of dark jeans with a hat... this year I'm planning on wearing: white w/ purple/silver/black flowered western shirt, black show pants, black suede and satin vest and a black felt hat (if I can get one cheap enough) does that sound good?
question 2• MY horse is a buckskin so I've tried to select colors that compliment her coat. So I picked a dark redish brown leather halter and a lead and chain to match, how does that sound?
question3• I need some help with my pivots (hindquarter). whenever I try to pivot her she will cross in front about 3 times then step once with her back feet... in order to do a good pivot one back leg must stay planted the entire time... any suggestions?
any suggestions at all??
1) Your outfit is perfectly fine.
2) Good choice. Make sure you run the lead chain UNDER his/her chin and attach it to the ring that touches thier cheek.
3) Shoulder smacks help her learn to just move her front end. She will eventually learn that it is easier that way! Practice, practice, practice. Thats what makes a good showmanship horse.
Other additional tips: Keep your elbows close to your body and keep your arms at a 90 degree angle at all times. When you set up for inspection, make sure your toes are pointed towards her front feet. Most importantly, SMILE! A judge loves to see a genuine smile, and will even use it to place you above other competitors. Keep your upper body tight, and make sure you and your horse a moving at the same pace.
It is also really helpful to go on youtube and search showmanship patterns at big quarter horse shows, such as Congress. You can watch in person how it should all be done.
A black felt hat can be great, but don't discount a nicer white straw model. The straw can be a bit more affordable than felt, and is definitely cooler in hot summer weather. Depending on the rest of the picture, a lighter color can brighten up your face and provide a better impression than a dark felt hat.
Hobby Horse's products are pricey in general, but the general advice on their site regarding color coordination, presentation, and turnout preparation is very sound and can be really helpful in putting together a fine show outfit on even a miniscule budget - I type from experience, here. ;)
More important than the color of the leather or amount of silver on it is the fit. The throatlatch should be up in the throat area, not hanging past the jowls. The cheekpiece should be parallel to the straight line formed by the cheekbone. Make sure that the chain on the lead is threaded correctly, as rodeogirl noted - there are several other threads in the Horse Showmanship subforum that deal with correct chain configuration in some detail.
One instructor I had recommended backing the horse up a step before starting the pivot, to get the pivot foot farther behind and allow the stepping foot room to get around it. I've seen that method work, and I've also seen it create issues with proper front end crossovers as the horse is thinking "back" not "forward."
What has worked the best for my current horse is to just practice. Get a few great steps, and walk out of the turn before you lose the pivot. Keep it forward - don't just stop the pivot and stand there, move directly out of it into a purposeful walk at first.
You can use your hand or a dressage whip to back up your body language/voice/lead cues, just use it as a final resort to get the shoulders moving, not as your primary aid.
Watching YouTube videos of G&S classes and patterns is wonderful practice. It'll really help you get a feel for how you want to present yourself and your horse.
Good luck, smile, and above all, have fun!! :D
Thanks guys :)
Remember too that showmanship is literally showing off your horse- good fresh clipping NO stains nothing out of place- and yes clean under that tail spotless- I had a judge look under there to make sure we did our jobs. Also look business like, crisp movements and remember your quartering when the judge moves around your horse. make eye contact and as you walk away from the judge remember to look back over your left shoulder every 3 or 4 strides. They look to see that you are still showing your horse. Even in line up -if they line up during everyone's pattern. Keep showing your horse! SMILE :)
Try pulling back almost to back her up keep the presure that should help with the pivots and everything else sounds great hope you do good
Check with your leader/county extension office on the clothing - this year they changed things in our county for the western classes and exhibitors were required to wear plain solid shirts.
Do you have any showmanship experts (kids or parents) in your club? If so, ask them to work with you and your horse. It may be a bit late to try for this year's show, but can give you a great resource to really be working on things for next year.
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