Saturday, April 9, 2011

In the works

After I'd finished judging the Over Fences class at the Show for the Cure, one of the competitors came over and asked why her entry hadn't placed.  Her model was beautifully outfitted in a full set of Corinne Ensor tack, his jump was nicely made and of the correct scale and the entry was properly documented.  There was absolutely nothing wrong with that entry except for one thing--the horse was a Breyer traditional Black Beauty.
This particular model is a poor performance prospect for one simple reason--he's cross cantering.  That is, he's cantering on one lead in front and another behind.  This isn't unrealistic per se.  Real horses can and often do cross canter.  However, it's an uncomfortable and awkward gait for both horse and rider and is considered a fault in all disciplines.

Performance showers with real horse experience tend to take this sort of knowledge for granted.  However, a lot of hobbyists come from non-horsey backgrounds.  This shouldn't preclude them from performance ring success, but unfortunately that's often the case.  

In an effort to level the playing field, I'm debuting a series of articles aimed to help both novice and experienced performance showers.  The first one will be posted later today and is written by Jamie Stine.  Jamie is a dressage rider who has also groomed upper level dressage and event horses.  Her article will analyze a number of common and not so common models in regards to their suitability for showing dressage.  If you have similar event specific knowledge and would like to share your expertise, please get in touch with me.  I would also be happy to field suggestions for future articles.

10 comments:

  1. I'm so glad you explained why that horse has always looked weird to me. I knew there was SOMETHING wrong with his position, just didn't know what!

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  2. That's awesome, Jenn! I can't wait to read these articles! Trying to think if I have any knowledge about something I could share for showing.

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  3. Great idea! I'm really looking forward to these.

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  4. Yay! Article series!

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  5. How about something along the lines of "Gaited Horses: Good For More Than Saddleseat"? Apparently, there's gaited dressage, western pleasure, huntseat... I'm not qualified to write such a thing, but it'd be neat to read.

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  6. I have received some good ideas via email. It seems that a "Judges' pet peeves" series would be extremely well received--particularly by the judges!

    Anonymous--I'd love to post an article about Gaited Horses, but I am also not qualified to write that. I have almost no gaited horse experience. After all, I'm the person who lived in Tennessee for seven years without ever touching a Tennessee Walker!

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  7. I see Black Beauty as switching leads, not cross cantering. Is this plausible?

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  8. He's very disunited. A lot of horses will cross canter for a step or two after a lead change. It's not the end of the world, but it's definitely a fault. In a class where lead changes are specifically judged (dressage, reining, Western riding, it's a big fault. It's less of an issue in a scored class like jumpers, but still... There are so many better choices. You are really swimming upstream trying to show this horse in performance.

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  9. Anonymous #1 said something about "gaited dressage..." Well, USDF and USAE don't recognize gaited dressage, and probably wont for quite some time, if ever. It's unfortunate, but it's true. There are a few people in my region who show their Stone Walkers in Dressage using gaited tests, but a.) these tests don't have scores the way that USAE/USDF tests do, and b.) the way MOST gaited horses are shown is basically the antithesis of modern dressage. As a dressage "purist" i think gaited dressage entries should NOT be shown in the dressage class, but shown in "other english" or even "other performance." The requirements are completely different in many cases.

    I'll get off my soapbox now...

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  10. This is a great idea. I'm loving the dressage parts so far. I'd actually be interested in doing an article on hunters over fences and under saddle.Maybe?

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