Thursday, February 14, 2013

Performance anxiety

I'll be honest, I've never suffered from this particular disorder.
Meme by Model Horse Blab member, Unbridled396
As long as I've shown models, I've shown performance.  
Although most of my early efforts left a lot to be desired, I never got discouraged.
Instead, I kept working at it...
and eventually I got better.
We moved to Colorado in 1998, and within months, I'd discovered the local live show scene.  Since I didn't own any fancy halter horses, all my attention was focused on the performance classes.  My entries weren't particularly good, at least not by today's standards.  Still, I managed to bring home more than my share of NAN cards. 
Raindrops on Roses, Etiquette and Roll 'em Pete 
After the birth of my children, I took a long break from the live show ring.  I did not, however, take a break from the hobby.  Instead, I used that time to improve my tackmaking skills and build my resin collection.  When I returned to showing in 2006, I did so with a vengeance.
Getaway at Devilish Kokopelli Live, 2006
It's been full speed ahead ever since.  
Getaway, Balthazar and Dun Up Purdy at Devilish Kokopelli Live, 2009
I've shown numerous models to numerous championships...
Emma at Rocky Mountain Rendezvous 2010
and I've also judged performance in three different regions.
Show for the Cure, Itasca, Illinois 2011
I know  there are a lot of hobbyists who view performance showing as impossibly difficult and unattainably expensive.  I disagree on both counts.  There's no doubt that performance showing requires a front end investment in both knowledge and equipment.  However, once you master the basics, you're set for life.
Princess Trillium at the GLC No Frills Holiday show, 2012.  I had not seen this model (even in photos) prior to the show date, and still managed to show her to an Overall Performance Championship.
One of my newest blog goals is to help new performance showers conquer their performance anxiety.  Trust me, people--it's not as hard as you think it is.
Meme by Kate Cabot
Have a performance related question or suggestion?  Please post it in the comments section.  I'm working on a list of topics and welcome the input.

52 comments:

  1. First of all, I LOVE that old barrel racing photo! Brilliant composition! :D

    I'd like to show more performance but it's difficult when I live so far away from any live shows and even if I do end up going, it costs far too much to get there to make it a regular thing. :( I think I'm better suited to photoshowing, lol

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  2. I love the first picture! Although I completely disagree :)

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  3. I've never shown but I may be going to my first Breyerfest this year and I need some tips for performance and I have aged out of the youth show so yeah, would Breyer tack bring home any ribbons?

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    1. Breyer Tack vs. Open Show Tack, I'm not very sure. But if it's your first BreyerFest, I recommend not showing. It takes up most of one of your three days, and it's awesome to experience everything else BF has to offer before showing. :) You're able to go and see the shows, though, perhaps you could look and decide if that's what you want to do. ^^

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  4. Love this! Someday I'll have the guts to show performance!

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  5. I have not attended Breyerfest Live, but from everything I've heard, that is an extremely competitive live show. I would not recommend it for a first performance show outing. Definitely, go and watch (and take pictures!), but find a smaller event for your live show debut.

    For the most part, Breyer tack is not really live show quality. It might do ok in some circumstances and under some judges. However, if you're really serious about performance showing, you'll have to upgrade. Fortunately, there are lots of good up and coming tackmakers in the hobby these days. I see all kinds of bargains in the tack category on MH$P.

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  6. How to choose your first performance horse well.

    How to purchase (or make) a saddle that either fits *that* horse well, or a variety of horses well.

    Ways to start small in performance. I didn't really get hooked until I had a couple of horses who had one or two classes where I understood the research on those classes, and KNEW my entry was CORRECT. Even though I couldn't show my horse in everything, he was right for the classes I did enter with him.

    Not to mention the reminders to go clean and condition the tack you do acquire so that it stays in good condition! As you mentioned, good tack is an investment.

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  7. I would love to learn more about what Western saddles to use in what events, what the differences in design are, and what kind of saddles are most versatile. I know you are more of an English expert, but I bet you have some wisdom I could use :)

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  8. The one thing that is so hard for me is that i cant find any colorado live shows! I live in parker, colorado and I hear on your blog all of these shows. But i can't find any for me!please help. ( i am part of MEPSA).

    ~Alyssa

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  9. How to choose a good all round performance horse would be nice!

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  10. Awesome! I show both performance and halter, but i'll admit, performance is so much more fun! I would love to see some articles with tips on performance showing. For example:pole placement, riders, rein placement, and other such things. Thanks!!

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  11. Count me in on the tried performance at the first show and was hooked committee :)

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  12. haha! That's the meme I made! Glad you like it :) I actually love showing performance though and refuse to go to a show without a performance division. I just like the grumpy cat's bah humbug attitude :)

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  13. windwalker175@att.netFebruary 14, 2013 at 5:49 PM

    Tips for photo showing would be good too. I don't have many live shows in my area and some of those appear to be youth shows. I think once I get all my tack and props made and dolls, I might start out photo showing before I dip into the live pool. I also don't know anyone personally if the hobby so I wonder if I would feel like an outside at shows where people already know each other. Tips on what judges look for are always helpful.

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  14. I love those performance photos, espcially that Phar Lap!

    I would love to see a performance showing on a budget post.:)

    Sarah
    CuttingHorse

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  15. I love showing performance! For me, it's always much more satisfying to win in performance rather than halter, because I have to work harder on my entry. (I also love dressing my models up in all kinds of different tack!)

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  16. One more thing, I'd also love to see a post on updating old tack sets, and getting them competitive.

    Sarah
    CuttingHorse

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  17. Wow! There are some great ideas already. Choosing an appropriate horse (or mule!) is definitely on my short list. I think this is the single most important factor in creating a winning entry, so I definitely plan to spend some time on the subject!

    Alyssa #1--Are you a member of the Colorado Hobbyist yahoo and/or Facebook groups? Those are the two best resources for Colorado live show information. If you need help getting signed up, email me privately.

    Alyssa #2--I absolutely love your meme. It actually made me LOL and was one of the main inspirations for this post.

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  18. Thank you so much! I really look up to you, and your blog made me start model showing in the first place. I am very honored. I hope to meet you someday at a model horse show.

    ~Alyssa Monk

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  19. Hahaha, Grumpy Cat is very versatile. I love seeing memes that apply to models; always makes me giggle.

    Cute barn set up you had going on!

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  20. Any of the English disciplines.... And Saddleseat. I know it won't be hard for you to talk about riding English and the do's and don'ts.

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  21. Thank you so much for posting this Jen. I'm new to the whole showing thing in general (I've only attended one show) and am sometimes intimidated from the set ups I have seen. I went to all kinds of craft stores today to create bases. I went through a lot of your blog pictures for reference too! I took a shot in the dark at my show and threw in some performance and actually ended up with ribbons! It boosted my confidence in my tack making abilities! (you following my blog also does it too!) I plan on showing in performance in April with my newly made bases and lots of fantastic new tack I've created.

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  22. Performance showing is one of my favorite aspects of the hobby. :) Thanks for all your helpful posts and great ideas, too!

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  23. My biggest one is, how important is tack quality? I'm nervous about purchasing or making non-perfect tack (no stitch marks or knee rolls on my saddles, some fuzzy edges) and then finding myself unable to do well because, well, someone else has tack like yours.

    Oh, and common performance fails to avoid would be nice, although you probably wouldn't want to use other people's performance entries for it without permission (I can see some hurt feelings developing, for sure).

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  24. Reflectingstars StablesFebruary 14, 2013 at 8:54 PM

    I wish I could show performance! I just am not sure about any live shows being near me. Hope I can do it!

    It would also be good to Learn what model horses do best for what entries.

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  25. Tack fit! Especially english saddles. And tips for people when they're buying english saddles. Like making sure you know if the tack maker uses a resin or more flexible tree. If it's flexible, then how to adjust it to get the best fit. Or even a post about hiding or minimising a badly fitting saddle? Proportions of saddles, I see so many entries with saddles that are either too big or too small for the horse.

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  26. Hi! I've only been to one show so far and it was for stablemates, but I'm thinking about going to one for traditional models(MITS). Since they're bigger, how many do you think would be a good amount to bring? Thanks! & also do you need dolls to show performance?

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  27. The harness classes by me are either abysmal or empty. A series on driving events would be lovely.

    ~damaia

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  28. I love performance showing! Too many of the halter-only shows I've been to degenerate into who's got the most expensive horse.

    Plus, it's so satisfying to place with something you researched, made yourself, or actually put some effort into. :)

    As for the person who was asking about Breyerfest as their first show...I say go for it, BUT - absolutely limit yourself. DO NOT attempt to enter tons of classes. Pick only a few. Better to have only 3 entries that are decent than 30 and be miserable racing around attempting tack changes.

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  29. Would love to have you (help) write some articles for MHG on showing (and/or "copy" entries).

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  30. Oh if this was the Facebokpage i would have hit "like" on this post. No doubt about it =). I love performance showing.

    // Jennie

    busig_jennie@hotmail.com

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  31. I love this post. I started out with halter showing and was in the group of people that thought that performance showing would be "too hard". Until I tried it. And then I was hooked. And now I need it. Halter showing holds almost no appeal to me since I don't paint my own horses and don't have fancy OF models. I think you could write for a year on what people have suggested in the comments. I'm looking forward to it!

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  32. I have one performance model and I've been having fun imagining different scenarios that he would be successful in... and then trying to make them happen!

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  33. I always enjoy your performance blog posts!! And Kate's Uncle Sam meme is too funny!!

    I always tell new performance showers to buy the best tack they can, and that quality will never go out of style. I have one saddle in my tack box (roping saddle by Carol Williams) that is literally old enough to vote, and it is still perfectly LSQ even in our tough Texas performance shows.

    As for showing at Breyerfest Live, I can tell you that competition in the open show is very TOUGH! If its your first show after aging out of the children/youth show, you really need to show in the Novice division. Jumping into Open performance, especially with Breyer tack, is not advisable. And, sad to say, you would be competing against me... So, i say start out in Novice, and listen to the judges' critiques, and take their advice to heart!

    As for learning about the different types of westn saddles, the best advice I can give you is to read tack catalogs and study the pictures, and also to watch different western events as much as you can. To English shower, all western saddles may look the same. But to those of us who ride western, there is a HUGE difference between a roping saddle, a gaming saddle, and a pleasure/show saddle!

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  34. Thank you everyone for the comments and suggestions. Anne is right. There are enough good ideas here to keep me writing well into the future!

    Unfortunately, some of the suggested topics (saddleseat, harness) fall outside my area of expertise. I know enough to get by, but not enough to teach.

    However, I am ALWAYS open to guest blogger posts. Jamie's "Notes on Eventing" series and Christie's "Tie Down Roping" series are perfect examples of really good performance oriented guest blogger posts. If you have the knowledge and desire to write an article (or series of articles) about a specific discipline, please get in touch with me privately. I can work with you on the photos, and I would LOVE to share your insights with my readers.

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  35. I loved the Grumpy Cat photo too, though my experience was showed performance once and LOVED it! I get really bored at all halter shows...

    My suggestion would actually be a post (or series of posts) with tips for a showholder on how to build a successful performance class list. A lot of show holders are not performance people, and I think a lot of shows don't have performance classes or have very minimal classes because the show holder isn't comfortable with that division.

    I think some posts on how to host a great performance division might take some of the mystery out of it and encourage show hosts to give it a try. A good class list can definitely help make that first performance showing experience more enjoyable and less stressful!

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  36. How about a post on how to incorporate all different poses of models into performance set-ups? Like, ideas for standing models, or ones in slightly more unusual poses.

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  37. Performance showing for me has always been a little hit or miss. I have Other Performance figured out it is the nuances of Western/English Performance I have yet to truly master. Through this blog I have tightened up my game and while I still make mistakes I am soaking up as much knowledge and experience as I can.

    I love the suggestion of how to best utilise the various posing of horses. Standing, trotting, "behaving badly"...I know this has been touched on a little, but more is always appreciated.

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  38. I love all the pictures, especially your barrel racing one! I would love to see more about choosing what horses would be best for what performance classes.

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  39. I have just started showing in performance the last couple of years. I was - still am - intimidated by all the things one needs to learn and keep in mind. I don't get as much chance to practice as I'd like. Performance divisions are uncommon here. Most shows don't have them.

    I read as much as I can to learn more. I wish judges at the shows would explain *why* they placed certain horses and why they didn't choose others. It can be very hard to learn and improve when you don't know why a class was placed a certain way, especially if it's not obvious.

    I'd love to know is seasoned performance showers think that creativity gets more reward than correctness at times. And should it?

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  40. Anyone know how long trad size jump poles at supposed to be?

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  41. I'd have to second the how to choose a good performance horse, that would make for an interesting post I think. And definitely how to look after your tack, as yes, it is an investment once you get into the good stuff like your tack and other really well known makers especially, but all of it should be looked after right.

    Also im wondering if how to fit tack properly would be a good one? I see quite a few horses with things fitting really wrong out there and it kinda annoys me really cos with google and all the pictures of real horses, you'd think it shouldn't be an issue.

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  42. When I still live-showed I did performance a few times. Even had huntseat and western tack made specificially for one of my models. That was before the nice tack got so expensive to buy and I can't make it myself. I was never intimidated by it, but I knew my set-ups weren't as good as the other showers who did performance on a regular basis. Don't think I ever pinned for my entries.

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  43. I would love ot learn what is needed what to look for and where to look for shows around the San Diego area, also how to pick your show string

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  44. Anyone know what is the name of the Resin with the braided mane/tail?

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  45. Sommer Prosser's Windfall resin is the braided horse you're asking about. She looks so sharp in bay with that tack!

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  46. I didn't read all the comments, so I apologize if noone has asked for this, but tack maintenance and proper storage would be very helpful. How to avoid having fenders get mishapen in the tack box, how to condition tack (I recall one on conditioning reins), etc.

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  47. These are all excellent ideas. I really like less-explored aspects of performance showing which still get to the heart of things -- like maintenance and fender-turning.
    We do need more on harness -- people either love it or hate it, yet it can be middle ground.

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  48. Hi!

    I'm 13 and I have attended NAN and BF 2012 Open Show. My Dressage scene won reserve national champ, and I placed a few times in performance at BF. But Sometimes I feel like my scenes don't have that extra "sparkle" to it. To make it stand out. Do you have any tips or sugections to make them catch the judges eyes?

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  49. I also have limitations as for showing in my country, yet some of us would like to do something, not really a show but a small gathering to show people what we do and eventually gain new enthusiasts. Any tips on making a show a friendly event and how not to dread its possible limitations (quite like the bargain barn posts you have already made) are greatly welcome.
    Also, a post about the evolution of tack (design, trends) would be great. It is so cool to see how things changed when you post older pics of horse shows.

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  50. I love your Performance Spotlights, and would love to see one on different types of parade saddles, and parade set ups - Showring Parade vs. Street Parade, etc. Thanks for all the great posts!

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  51. Thank you! After re-reading this post, something finally struck a chord, which is awesome, because I've been itching to try it but have been too intimidated. I love learning from your series, for which I thank you. :)

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