Questions about show classes - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 10-11-2009, 09:22 PM Thread Starter
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Questions about show classes

Ok, so ive never done any western EVER before, i think ive ridden in a western saddle once when i was about 10...

I would usually do mainly flatwork, and compete in local hack shows, some ASH stuff etc etc..

Then last year i noticed the western ring and the trial type stuff that was going on, and it seemed kind of fun. A friend who usually rides mainly in ASH stuff took her horse into some of these classes and did quite well for a first time. Got me thinking i should maybe have a go, flatwork has never been my strong point anyway. Im thinking of maybe entering in something similar for the next local show (feb)..and i have a few questions:

1) its only a very small local show, do i have to dress up in those..sparkly western show type stuff? Or can i wear jodhpurs and a collared shirt? Jeans would maybe be a bit too informal?
2) I dont have a western saddle!! Do i NEED one or can i use an australian stock saddle?
2) i have a program, and have NO IDEA what these classes mean! What do they involve?
- junior/senior horse western pleasure.
- youth western pleasure and beginer improver western pleasure.
- Youth Western Horsemanship, Amateur Western Horsemanship, Beginner Improver Western horsemanship.
- Junior Horse Trail, Senior Horse Trail, Youth Trail, Amateur Trail, Beginner Improver Trail. (im thinking trail may be more my thing as ive never done any western.)

Ive been teaching my horse to neck rein just for the convenience. He also walks over poles, walks fowards and backward though an L shape made with poles etc if that helps....

yeah, am i getting in a bit over my head? What do you think?

ThatNinjaHorse is offline  
post #2 of 5 Old 10-12-2009, 12:18 AM
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I've never seen anyone compete in a stock saddle, don't know if there is a rule against it but I'd assume there would be. I'd play it safe and buy a cheap western saddle or borrow one.
I'd first like to explain the difference between a juinor and senior horse.
A juinor horse is a ridden horse under 5 years of age. It must be ridden two-handed in a snaffle or hackamore (hackamores are allowed here, don't know about where you are.) Senior horses are horses 6 years and over and have to be ridden one handed and in a western shank bit.
Wear jeans, it might seem informal but thats what you wear. At the little shows I do, we just wear jeans and a shirt. If you don't have a proper western rail shirt, just try your hardest to find a collared shirt which looks similiar to it. A cotton check shirt maybe? You know those cotton shirts which look like flannies, I wear one of them at local shows.
Western Pleasure classes are exactly what the name suggests. You want your horse to be a pleasure to ride, so you have to make it at least look like he is a pleasure to ride. I've ridden horses that are absolute terrors, but in the show-ring I have to make it look like they're the best behaved ponies ever. In a western pleasure class, you will be asked to walk, jog, and lope. They will also ask for you to change directions at the walk and jog. They will ask you to back up most of the time too. If you do a western pleasure class remember to enter the arena in an anti-clockwise direction. I could go on and on with little hints about Western Pleasure, so don't be surprised if I add another post.
Horsemanship is a pattern class. I've only done it once, so I'm not the best to tell you about it. You are judged on how you perform the pattern, how you ride, how you control your horse. I'm sure there are a lot more people who know more about it then me.
Trail is really excellent for beginners. They don't have the pressure of being in a group riding. Trail is basically a class which replicates obstacles you might come across on the trail. Obstacles are like the bridge, which your horse must walk over, a box which your horse must turn in without knocking any of the edges, jogging poles, a lope-over pole, a gate which you must get through. Obstacles vary in each class and show but I think the 3 obstacles they always have are the gate, the bridge and a side-pass pole.
How old is your horse? And has he ever been ridden in a western shank bit? And what show are you going to?
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post #3 of 5 Old 10-12-2009, 12:32 AM
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Yay for you! It's fun to try new things, anyway! This might be a book, I love explaining classes...

Well, with Western, at least around here, Black jeans are what we wear. You should have a belt, and no, you don't really need the show shirts, just a western button up should be fine. You need a cowboy hat or helmet. Cowboy boots, too, though you could probably wear your english boots if you wore your jeans over them.

Um, I think that a stock saddle would work... But if you could borrow a western saddle, that would probably be better.

Western Pleasure... Let me link you.
Western pleasure - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Basically you go around the ring, starting with right shoulder on the rail, and do the walk, jog, lope. Then they reverse you and do the same on the other side. Then you usually line up in the center and the judge asks you to back your horse. LOOSE REINS. That's important.

Western Horsemanship is a pattern class. They'll have the patterns posted before the class. You'll probably have to do a lead change, a pivot, a little jogging, a backup, and a stop. Not too complicated. If I were you I would start with the easiest class, which I think, in your case, would be Youth, then Beginner, then Amateur. ((Someone, please, correct me if I'm wrong...))

Western is pretty much all on a loose rein, so neck reining would be great. =)

Trail is a course of obstacles that you might encounter on a trail, which usually include a gate, a bridge, w/t/l over poles, backing an L, a mailbox, and sometimes a water box. Not too complicated. Again, they'll give you a pattern. NEVER NEVER NEVER touch your horse or your reins with your other hand in trail. That's a DQ.

Ummm...I think you should do it. It would be a good experience, at the very least, and I think it's fun. As long as you are comfortable with trying something new, I'd say go ahead! I don't do much Pleasure, but I think Trail and HOrsemanship would be fun for you. Pleasure probably would too, but it's kind of foreign to me and I think it might be hard for you to adjust from flatwork to pleasure ha. Western Horsemanship is just like english flatwork, only in a western saddle, doing western things, if that helps. (I think... again, please correct me if I'm wrong. I'm not completely sure on what flatwork is.)

Have fun and don't hesitate to PM or ask any other questions!


To rein a horse is not only to guide him,
but also to control his every movement.
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post #4 of 5 Old 10-12-2009, 07:27 PM
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I think you should maybe just do the trail class first, because even locally at my saddle club, there are some terrific low-head set WP horses. Maybe watch them and see if your horse has the potential to pull it off.

Red Money Maker (Red) - 2004 Sorrel QH Gelding
Tennessee is offline  
post #5 of 5 Old 10-24-2009, 06:04 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the awesome answers!
I've decided to stick with english for now, i think it'd be too much to ask of shadow as he's never done it, only ever ridden in a snaffle etc and i dont have to time at the moment to practice.
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