The Western Performance division at Springamathing got off to a promising start with the five horse Games class. Unfortunately, the next several classes were either cancelled due to lack of entries (Cutting, Roping) or were one horse specials (Other Stockwork, Reining).The next class to require thought was Western Trail. This class had four entries, and I placed Sheila's ambitious mailbox entry first.
Pretty horse, pretty tack, pretty doll, pretty prop and perhaps most important--pretty darn good positioning!
Initially, I didn't realize that the water obstacle behind Chevelle was part of his entry. In fact, I put off judging the class for a good fifteen minutes while waiting for the missing entrant to show up! A peek at the reference material showed me the error of my way. Probably that speaks volumes about my awareness, but honestly, I'm not sure the water obstacle added much to the entry.
Second place went to Teresa's Some Kinda Flirt with her "carry" obstacle.
Carra/Teresa's Arab was third. I felt this model's body was a bit too parallel to the cones. She's supposed to be weaving her way around them, not jogging down the right side. However, I really liked the way she seemed to be studying that second cone. With a little bit of refinement, this will be a nice entry.
Fabian's Zippo rounded out the class. This model's body is moving in a straight line, so he's not well suited to a curving trot poles obstacle. Again, all this entry needs is a few tweaks to make it competitive.
Pleasure was next, and Teresa's Flirt was the clear winner. This is a nice modern type Western pleasure model. She's moving a a good frame, has beautiful, trendy tack and a nice doll. In this picture, the doll is not sitting very well. In fact, had she looked like this when I was judging the class, I would have probably moved her down a slot. Fortunately, I didn't have to do that. Teresa noticed the poor positioning on her own and fixed it before the class closed. I did take a picture of the improved version of this entry, but it was too blurry to use. It goes like that sometimes!The next three entries in the Western Pleasure class were very close. I think I've got them in the order of finish, but I could be mistaken. Honestly, they were that close.
Over the course of my hobby life, I've heard people espouse three distinctly different theories on how to judge a Western Pleasure class. Some people think that if it's winning in the real world, it should win in the model show ring as well. Viva the peanut rollers! and all that. Others say no, the rule book says the horse should travel level so those peanut rollers are in violation. We're going to follow the rules even if they're not followed anywhere else! And then there's the people who say, I don't care about all that stuff. I like the way this horse is moving so I'm going to place it my way. End of story.
I see validity in all three positions, so judging Western Pleasure makes my head hurt. I really don't like the Arab's head position at all. In fact, it's fair to say that I dislike all performance models with their heads behind the vertical. However, I realize that's how the real ones go so I think I place it second despite my personal feelings. I could be misremembering--this really was a hard class for me.
Moving on! There were five entries in the Other Western class but I only took pictures of the top three. The winner was Flirt with her timely Western Dressage entry. Generally, I think this model is better suited for Pleasure, but this was still a nice entry.
Second went to Chevelle...
who was working his way through a Mounted Police Training course.
Fabian's sidesaddle entry placed third. This was basically a repeat of his Western Pleasure entry, and I have to admit that I find that mildly annoying. However, it wasn't against the rules of this show, and it was definitely better than the other two entries on the table.
The first and second place winners came back to the judging table for the division championship. There were no real surprises here. With four blues and two reds, Chevelle was a worthy winner.
Some Kinda Flirt was the Reserve Champion.
Congrats to the winners and thanks again for letting me critique them here on my blog. I hope this "Judging with Jennifer" series has been interesting and helpful to at least a couple new (or old!) performance showers.