October 3, 2012
By Larri Jo StarkeyThe American Quarter Horse Journal
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AQHA Professional Horsemen April and Casey Devitt, with help from youth rider Aubrey Alderman, demonstrate the 2012 AQHA Novice Championship horsemanship pattern. (Journal photo)
An estimated crowd of 300 gathered October 3 for the first Nutrena Ride the Rail/Ride the Pattern clinic at the Nutrena East AQHA Novice Championship Show in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
AQHA Professional Horsemen April and Casey Devitt of Waddy, Kentucky, led clinics on horsemanship and equitation, focusing on trick parts of the pattern as well as the general eye appeal needed for those classes, with youth rider Aubrey Alderman demonstrating it in the Tennessee Miller Coliseum.
“Horsemanship is knowing your horse and how and what you can call on him for,” Casey said. “We’re going to go through the pattern and give some helpful hints on how to ride it, to give the Novices some peace of mind and a little bit of confidence.”
The horsemanship pattern “is a lot of pattern,” Casey said. “So know your horse and how much you can ask. You can’t do something your horse is incapable of doing.”
Rider position is going to be important for the Novice championships, April said.
“Centering themselves in correct form, keeping their body and lines straight, and keeping contact with their legs,” she said. “And know the pattern. Knowing the maneuvers in the pattern and performing them correctly.”
Communication is also key to the equitation pattern.
“The rider’s legs are going to be an extremely important part so they can connect with their horse and ride the horse forward,” April said. “Hunt seat equitation is a precursor to the form for jumping class, so we want to see equitation riders ride with connection to their horse through their legs and their hands.”