Pattern Practice

Judges look back at a past AQHYA World Championship showmanship pattern to help you prepare for horse show season.

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

The Journal asked judges from the 2004 Youth World Show to comment on the pattern from that year’s finals.

The Judges
Mark Sheridan, Stephanie Lynn

Mark: The key was to maintain a situational awareness in the arena, keeping a “heads up” for where you were. Look up and know exactly where you need to go all the time.

Know how big your horse is, how big a step he has, how wide or how tight you needed to go around the cones.

Stephanie: We wanted the exhibitors to come out and look like they were a really good hand with a horse. They knew their horses and were well in tune with them.

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Hot Spots
1.    Walk from A to B.
2.    Trot from B, around C and D, and back to C.

Everything had to be straight lines. The walk had to be a perfectly straight line.

    • You needed to make sure you left enough room around Cone C and around Cone D: You didn’t want to go too wide, yet you didn’t want to cut the corner and take the chance of hitting the cone. I wanted to see about the same amount of room around Cone C as on Cone D, so everything looked symmetrical.
    • When you circled around Cone D, you needed to be aware of where you were in the arena, so when you went to make that straight line coming back toward the judge, you didn’t overshoot Cone D and have to realign yourself.

Stephanie: The competitors had a fairly long distance to trot here. I don’t like to see a fake look when they’re trotting. I want you to trot like you would if you had to trot your horse for a vet.

3.    Stop and set up for inspection.
4.    After inspection, execute a 1-1/2 turn to the right.

Most of them handled the turn very well.

    • You had to know your horse so you could place the horse’s hind leg in the setup exactly where it needed to be before the turn and then back to that cone correctly.
    • Doing that number of turns, the horse’s hip stands a chance of moving slightly.

5.    Back to C.

The back-up needed to be a perfectly straight line, and you had to be careful how far you backed so you didn’t hit Cone C.

    • On the back-ups, I don’t want you to have to push on the horse, but I don’t mind if you have to take a light hold.

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    • Throughout the pattern, if you take hold of your horse lightly to back him up, or to trot or turn, it will not hurt your score as long as it’s a light touch, as long as you’re not grabbing the horse with the chain, pulling on him or pushing him to back up.
    • Your horse cannot lean on the chain.

Stephanie: I do not like to see exhibitors step in front of their horses to back up. That eliminated some good exhibitors in the prelims.

6.    Execute a half turn to the left and line up at ring steward’s instructions.

Mark: I’m not a fan of left turns, but if the pattern calls for it, you need to pivot on the left hind foot. If you’re turning right, pivot off the right hind.

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