Thursday, 14 May 2009

Showmanship Q & A

Lately I have had a lot of requests for the showmanship series and even more questions about training, fitting, showing and more. So, I figured I would make an entry dedicated to questions and answers. So lets have em! You ask and I'll do my best to answer. I do have the capability to take video as well if you are more of a visual learner.
Ask away!


Triple J said...

I have had my gelding trained for sms by a reiner person. Now he is home, and oh, my. If I move my hand forward, he pivots on the inside hoof, so to get him to pivot, I have to raise my hand up, and back.. How bad will this kill me? And what can I do now... He also wants to rest on the outside hind hoof badly.

success in the pen said...

So what you are saying is that essentially your horse is pivoting correctly, just without the forward motion and when you move your hand forward, he sucks back and pivots on the incorrect foot. Right? Or do I have myself confused? LOL! Anytime you push your hand back you are giving that horse a signal to rock back on his haunches. While he may not take a "step" backwards, he is still moving with backwards motion, not forward. While it won't kill you in the pen, at least you are understanding that the pivot is a forward motion.

The pivot is not that hard to teach. It just takes time and repetition. And any horse that pivots incorrectly or with some degree of fault (i.e backward motion) can be retaught to pivot correctly. In my "Training the Showmanship Horse" article, teaching the correct pivot is explained in detail. This post was made in Feb. (Just trying to save some writing time here).

I want to ask you too; does your gelding cross his left front leg behind the right front when pivoting or does he cross correctly?

As far as resting, pull downward on your lead shank until he gets the idea to stand up and not rest. Sometimes I have someone go back and pull the tail slightly while I pull down on the shank at the same time. Horses learn by operant conditioning very easily. If you pair the tail pulling stimulus with the downward pull of the shank stimulous and he gives you the conditioned response of standing correctly, sooner or later he will learn to associate the downward pull of the lead shank with standing correctly and you will no longer have to pull that tail sightly.
Did I answer your questions or should I go into more detail? If I have been unclear in any way just let me know. Thanks!

SRPerformanceHorses said...

Hello! I just want to say I love reading your blog! Very informative!!!

Here are a few questions:

1) Do/can the judges still walk by your horse and ruffle manes or tails just to see if you can correctly go fix them after inspection?

2) If so, what is the proper way to do it??

I have been told that if the judge messes/touches the horse (mane, tail, or body) you must go and quickly "fix" the area that was touched after inspection but that is only if he/she touched your horse in the fore quarter. But, if they mess with the rear quarter, you leave it "as is" because it would not be a safe thing to do...
I have seen a few friends who have shown on the APHA circuit out West fix the horse's tail after the judge ran her fingers through it.
Please elaborate the "correct" way. :D
Thanks so much!
Lisa A.

MyFinancialSockett said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MyFinancialSockett said...

My Paint gelding loves to mouth anything he can reach, including lead chains. How can I get him to stop? I tried smacking him every time he mouthed or attempted to mouth, but apparently he didn't get the message at all as he still won't stop.

success in the pen said...

SRP, I have yet to see a judge at a major APHA or AQHA ruffle the horse's mane or tail, or anything for that matter. The classes are just too large for them to do that. However, way back in the day, when I was showing 4-H some judges would ruffle the mane. I never had one mess with the tail.

If the judge messes up the mane, as soon as he steps away you take about 1 saecond and smooth it down, then resume your postiion. Any more than that and you can be late on your quarters and points will be deducted.

As for the tail, I would not recommend smoothing the tail down as it is not considered a proper place to stand in showmanship and is deemed "dangerous." I would say leave the tail. I had a judge pick through my orse's tail once. I didn't smooth it down and I still won the class. Does this help?

success in the pen said...


The trick is to keep stuff away from his mouth. LOL! My mare used to be really bad about mouthing stuff in the show pen. But I will tell you, smacking him will never work. Allsmacking him will do is create a head shy horse or a horse that will be even quicker to mouth at things. I fixed the problem in two ways.

The first was to hold an open safety pin in my hand and let her "run into it" herself. This way she was punishing herself without me having to doanything. The second was to change my body position. Stand a little further away with your hand up a little more than usual. This will keep the chain away from his mouth and discourage him from mouthing things. Also make sure that he knows "whoa." If you stand far enough away and tell him whoa every time he goes to mouth at something he will eventually get the idea that he is to stand there and stand still. If not of this works, put some rap last on the chain. It tastes really bad and will definitely discourage him. Just be sure to use it in a well ventilated area and away from his face. It will burn your eyes, nose, and throat like no other. Does this help?

MyFinancialSockett said...

Yes, thank you! I will definitely try that tomorrow!

Ckayser said...

If I band my horses mane, how long can I leave it in and do I cut/trim it after or before I band it? I plan on doing this to my QH mare as she has a sad thin mane.

success in the pen said...

I only leave the bands in until I finish showing. If you band the night before, make sure you have a mane tamer so she doesn't rub her mane out. Unless I get pictures after my classes, I am taking bands out as I'm walking back to the stall.

Trim the mane AFTER you band! This help?

Ckayser said...

Thank you, I think my new mare is a cootie and since I am taking Abby to all these shows, I thought well might as well drag the mare. I know I cant win in a riding class so we have been working on the ground with patterns and what not, so gunna add an extra horse to the halter/showmanship ring, just for fun, but I want her to look the part too. Ty for the info. (I started her on your fitting program monday, and I guess the foal too since she follows her around)