11 Showmanship Patterns for Practice

Try these AQHA showmanship patterns designed for Rookie to top-level exhibitors.

The American Quarter Horse Journal

Memorizing a showmanship pattern can be a bit tricky. Check out these 10 best-kept secrets for remembering patterns. (Credit: Journal)

One of my favorite sayings has always been, “Practice like you play.” And while everyone needs to take time to practice individual showmanship maneuvers, sometimes it’s nice to take it to the next level and put those maneuvers all together while you’re practicing at home. 

Below, we rounded up showmanship practice patterns for every skill level of exhibitor – from the 4-H showmanship competitor to AQHA Rookies, Level 1 exhibitors and even those looking to qualify for AQHA world championship shows. We even provided highlights from each pattern, pointing out some maneuvers you might want to pay close attention to. As you’ll see, the patterns progress in difficulty as you continue down the page. Or better yet, as you continue to your ultimate goal of winning an AQHA world championship.

2012 AQHA Level 1 Championships
Highlights of this pattern:

  • Eleven maneuvers 
  • Starts with a 360-degree turn
  • Lack of cones in this pattern requires the exhibitor to be aware of arena geography

2014 Level 1 Championships (Rookie)

  • Six maneuvers
  • Exhibitor is tested on being able to “trot halfway, walk halfway”
  • Square corner at the walk in Maneuver 4 

2014 Level 1 Championships (Level 1)

  • Six maneuvers
  • Must back two horse lengths
  • Trot circle to the left 

2014 Adequan Select World Championship Show Prelims

  • Six maneuvers
  • Very similar to 2014 Level 1 Championships pattern
  • Two-and-one-quarter turn demands 

2013 AQHA World Championship Show Amateur Prelims 

  • Five maneuvers
  • Exhibitor must be comfortable using peripheral vision
  • Two trot corners

2014 AQHA Amateur World Prelims

  • Six maneuvers
  • Two diagonal lines, with directions such as “walk half of the way” and “trot three-quarters of the way”
  • Must stop horse’s hindquarters evenly with the judge

2014 Built Ford Tough AQHYA World Championship Show Prelims 

  • Seven maneuvers
  • Serpentine with varying sizes in its loops
  • Exhibitors are encouraged to utilize the arena space to best exhibit their horses

2012 AQHA Amateur World Finals 

  • Five maneuvers
  • Quite a few straight lines
  • Final maneuver is a real doozy: trot around corner, walk, trot two-thirds of line, walk, stop to end pattern

2012 Adequan Select World Finals 

  • Six maneuvers
  • A serpentine, but with lots of stops, turns and transitions in between
  • First maneuver calls for a stop and 360-degree turn, immediately followed by a rounded corner at the walk 

2012 Ford Youth World Finals

  • Seven maneuvers
  • One-and-two-thirds turn puts horse and exhibitor on a diagonal line
  • The trot circles – one to the left followed by one to the right – equal size

2014 Adequan Select World Finals 

  • Six maneuvers
  • Very similar to the 2014 amateur prelims pattern, but with a two-and-three-quarters turn
  • A tight trot corner in Maneuver 2 

2014 AQHA Amateur World, Ford Youth World Finals

  • Eight maneuvers
  • Maneuver 5 calls for a long walk 
  • Note Maneuver 8: “When dismissed, one-quarter turn, then walk or trot to the wall until the next exhibitor reaches the middle of the arena”

Memorizing a showmanship pattern can be a bit tricky. Check out these 10 best-kept secrets for remembering patterns