On the Road With Texas A&M in Paraguay

Versatility Ranch Horse and ranch sorting competition was the focus of the horsemanship clinic at the Asociacion Rural del Paraguay national livestock show.

Special to The American Quarter Horse Journal

The Verdugo Horsemanship Clinic in Paraguay was taught by the Texas A&M University Equine Initiative team. (Credit: Anna Morrison)

Day 1:

The Texas A&M University Equine Initiative team arrived in Paraguay yesterday, and was greeted by many of our great friends from Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina. The Asociacion Rural del Paraguay national livestock show is currently occurring in Asuncion, and it is here that we will be presenting the seminar. Yesterday, we had the opportunity to watch riders prepare for the trail portion of the horse show, as well as watch the grand champions be selected in the Brahman bull show. 

Today, prior to beginning the seminar, we will be watching the parade of champions, which is being attended by the President of Paraguay. This afternoon we will begin the seminar with cattle handling and ranch sorting sessions led by Dr. Jim Heird.  

Day 2:

On the first day of the seminar, Dr. Jim Heird began by talking about cattle handling practices. Then the participants went to the arena, where they each had the opportunity to work out of the herd. Though the riders and horses had limited experience with cattle, with Dr. Heird's guidance all participants did a good job of working quietly in the herd. 

After completing cattle work in the arena, participants headed back to the APCM office building for a performance horse nutrition talk by Dr. Josie Coverdale. There were many questions about how to increase the energy in a ration, and the participants were very interested in evaluating their horses' body condition

The first day of the seminar ended with a Paraguayan barbecue and live music. It's hard to beat good food, good music, good company and good horses! 

Day 3:

On the second full day of the seminar, participants started in the classroom with Dr. Heird to further discuss cutting, cow horse and cattle handling. The herd work on the first day of the seminar definitely sparked an interest in the cattle events!

Next, Anna Morrison presented about the new Versatility Ranch Horse division classes. The participants spent the afternoon in the arena with Josie and Anna working on ranch riding.  

The evening hours were filled with dancing and a banquet at the cattle raisers association building. The seminar is well attended, with more than twenty horseback participants, and up to fifty people watching in the stands each day. Attendees of the seminar come from Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina, Colombia and Brazil. Despite being a large group from many different countries, the participants are close-knit and supportive of each other, making it a great experience for participants and instructors alike!


Day 4:

Day 4:

The final day of the seminar brought with it torrential rain. Though riding in the arena wasn't a possibility, the group was able to work on cutting techniques through on-foot exercises in the classroom.

 After "cutting practice" the group spent the remainder of the day reviewing the reining scoring system and looking at examples of maneuvers ranging from poor to excellent.

 Overall, the seminar in Paraguay was well received and well attended. The Texas A&M Equine Initiative would like to thank the APCM and the AQHA for making such a wonderful gathering of horsemen, horsewomen and American Quarter Horses a possibility!