Contesting at the local level - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 08-21-2012, 01:10 PM Thread Starter
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Contesting at the local level

This is an observation I made this year at the local contesting/gymkhana shows in my area. I just wanted to preface this post with that. In no way am I making a blanket generalization across the board.

This is my daughters first year doing contesting (she's 7 and rides a 13-13.2hh pony). I started noticing more and more with the older kids/adults and their considerably more contesting-geared horses that few people don't use tie downs and there are a lot of horse heads flying in the air (usually during the non-running portions of riding, though I've seen a lot of that too) and competently follow backs. I've only seen a couple of horses with an actual topline and necks that aren't heavily muscled underneath. Is this normal because of the style of riding or is this just a local-in-my-area thing? It's so strange to me to see horses with necks that are so weakly muscled on the top and so heavily muscled on the underside.

I just want opinions and information from people who are far more familiar with the discipline than I am.
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post #2 of 12 Old 08-21-2012, 02:25 PM
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I see it alllll the time around here.
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post #3 of 12 Old 08-21-2012, 07:45 PM
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Unfortunately no =\ It common around here too.

I watch one woman ride the piss out of her horse for an hour before her class barrel class. Really? Maybe you shouldn't be barrel racing racing him if he is "being bad" and "acting out of control all the time". Horses get their minds blown all the time from to much/to hard gaming. They dance and prance even in a ring with no barrels. To me, its sad. The bits are out of control, the warm up ring looks like a highway with no speed limit or road signs and people blaming the horse for rearing/bucking/bolting in the gate.

I feel bad because it give people who do barrels WELL a bad name. You would never know a friend of mines horse is a 1D barrel horse. He lopes quietly, stops, stands, has a top line, etc. When in the show pen he got a little forward but wasn't unmanageable and crashing into people. He ran through the shoot, ran his little heart out around those cans, dropped it into 5th on the way home and then stopped when you said woah. A bit fast to walk out, then stood on the rail like he was tied to it for the next class.

They ALL don't have to be (or become) mind blown maniacs to barrel race!
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post #4 of 12 Old 08-21-2012, 08:58 PM Thread Starter
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Well, I'm glad it's not just me that's noticed it. I assume higher levels don't behave this way...maybe? I know what you mean by the mindset of some of these horses. My daughter does the walk/trot classes this year and we have to hustle her out of the warm up after her classes because, even in the 12 & under class, it gets out of control in there.

Granted, I've seen the same crazy horses also stand and fall asleep with their riders sitting all kinds of strange ways on them and they don't care. It's only when they're moving, lol.

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post #5 of 12 Old 08-21-2012, 09:20 PM
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It happens here too. Most of the ones around me are usually first timers and have no idea how to fully do the class. I've also seen some just in it for the ribbons and after their first year, they quit because they and their horses lacks the training to do well. I've seen some adults show who really shouldn't be showing because it's just plain scary to watch them.
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post #6 of 12 Old 08-21-2012, 09:59 PM
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Sadly it's common here too. I've never contested on a high level but I would assume like anything else it's a lot different. I see it a lot at 4-H shows and fairs (I have several 4-H age students and judge some shows as well) I see a lot of over horsed, under trained, green on green or kids banded on to nuts that have had their minds blown. Then there's the smaller local open shows, well, I'll just say they can be interesting to watch and cheaper to watch than a demolition derby ;)
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post #7 of 12 Old 08-21-2012, 11:10 PM
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You get that alot at 4H and Open shows, just at a low local level. Sanctioned shows, those people and horses are still there but its just a few, not nearly so many.
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post #8 of 12 Old 08-28-2012, 09:55 AM
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I think that you see it more at the lower level local events, and not at more expensive larger events, because it's cheap, easy, and no formal "training" is really required for local gaming. For speed events, you aren't judged by anything. You simply get a time from the clock. And the clock doesn't care if your horse bucked through the whole pattern, for example. You can just show up and drag your horse through the speed events with your spurs and whip.

That said, of course, not everyone at the local level is a "bad rider" nor are their horses complete nutcases. But you get a few people who are and ta-da: Everyone gets a bad name.

As long as you are teaching your daughter and horses the correct way to ride and behave, don't worry about anyone else there. Because you'll see bad examples, especially at the local gaming shows.

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post #9 of 12 Old 08-28-2012, 11:15 PM
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Tie-downs actually aren't for keeping a horse's head down. It's a matter of balance. It gives certain horses something to push forward against which balances them out and shifts a little more of their weight back to enforce some push, which gives them a better spin when they're collected.

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post #10 of 12 Old 09-01-2012, 04:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Harleerideshorses View Post
Tie-downs actually aren't for keeping a horse's head down. It's a matter of balance. It gives certain horses something to push forward against which balances them out and shifts a little more of their weight back to enforce some push, which gives them a better spin when they're collected.
My horse does better with a tie-down for this very reason. But he also naturally carries his head high. He's just a weird horse

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