Thursday, January 22, 2009

Western Showmanship

I love live showing. There is no way around that. I love preparing for a show when I make sure I have all the things I need to do the classes I want, the tack is in good order, and the horses have not developed any problems (or jumped of the shelf and broken). One of my favorite classes is Western Showmanship. I first tried my hand at the class a couple of years ago. I had no clue what I was doing but got a ton of help and the loan of some props from a showing friend of mine. Well I won the class and was so excited I had to do more. Here's a picture.
Now I can look at this photo and pick apart the entry. Maybe it was the best thing on the table, maybe not. I don't have photos of everything from that day. But off the top of my head, there should be no arena wall, the handler should be looking at the judge and her right hand needs to be higher on the lead. Oh well, that is why we take show photos. Besides the option of reliving the day and looking at other people's lovely entries :)
The next show I had almost completely forgotten how to set up the entry. And since I had not laid out the rules of real showmanship in my head, I could not duplicate them on the show table. So it was time to learn more. I had a different friend show me how to set up that day and both friends were super knowledgable but the more you ask questions, the more you learn. I don't have any photos from that show, I think I was too freaked out to take photos. Live showing in performance classes can be really stressful at times.
So then I was at a show without anyone to help me. But I really wanted to put up a showmanship entry. So I had to do it myself and try to remember everything I had learned. Here's my entry.
It only got 4th but there were many other types of Western classes it had to compete against. Too bad really since the set-up is pretty close to perfect. The doll in in the right place, she's looking at the judge, pretty much holding the lead correctly (I need to shorten the halter chain) and now all I need to do is get her to stand with her legs more together. But all in all I don't see anything wrong with this entry. But showmanship is not very interesting to all judges. Right now I am so excited about showmanship that I think it is going to be super fun to judge.
Here is one more live show picture. My entry did really well this day too. First I got 1st in the class and then I got overall champion. And that was under 2 different judges. So this was a proud moment for me. Though I see flaws in this entry too. I can remember a bit that was on the table besides my entry and I also recall telling another entrant that her doll was standing in the wrong place. She said it wasn't so I let it go. I am not an expert, I just feel if you help the showers around you do the best they can, then you have competition. Real competition. And beating the best is the best kind of win :)

Recently I talked a friend into hosting a show. I happen to really love hosting even though it does take a lot of work. You need to be organized and keep to a schedule and then things flow well and you don't lose your mind. Something I love doing is trying to get more shows in the region. We all want more so that means someone has to put them together. I host one a year right now but after my wedding I plan on having 2. I only have a halter show at the moment and I really NEED a performance show. I just love performance. So anyway, I talked the friend into hosting a show and we have been bouncing around ideas on things. She asked me if I would judge a couple of sections. *gulp* me, judge? I have only ever judged 3 halter classes to help finish out a show. And she wants me to judge in performance. So I figured I would study. I would study whatever it was she wanted me to judge. And I would not agree to judge anything I was clueless about. So one of the sections I am supposed to judge is the Other Performance section. Which includes showmanship. That means that I won't be able to show in showmanship that day, but judging holds some fascination for me. But I needed to learn more. So today while I was working at a friend's studio I asked if we could play with her real horses and she could teach me showmanship. She is known for her showmanship knowledge so she was the best teacher I could think of. So we went to play with her western horse. The horse was a little rusty but I was amazed at what I saw. I have never seen much live showmanship. So I paid attention, asked questions, had her slow things down when I didn't get what was going on. Then I asked some more questions and watched some more. It was amazing and precise. So now I am really excited about judging and I am pretty confident that I can do a good job. Now I just need to work on saddle seat....

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