Final Installment from AQHA Judge and Professional Horseman Mark Sheridan’s Series on Improving Your Horsemanship Scores

December 7th, 2013 7:00 AM | No Comments

Originally published in November/December issue of Show Horse Today

MarkSheridanHere we are! Our final installment in AQHA Professional Horseman and Judge Mark Sheridan’s series “How do I give my horsemanship patterns the polished look that can win, and what are the first things that catch your eye as a judge?” He has taken you through it all so far —attire, patterns, circles, backing, and even some good homework to get you in better riding shape! Today, he wraps it up by divulging a few last tips and things that take your patterns that much further.
“This article will be the final installment in the series of riding correct competitive horsemanship patterns. I could probably write thirty or more installments, but it is time to wrap up this series and get going with additional interesting topics that I have in store. I’m sure I have left out some issues affecting most riders occasionally, but if you review the installments from time to time, I am sure it will help with the basic issues riders need to be aware of to improve their scores and success in the arena. All of the previous installments can be found on my website listed at the end of this article.

As I have mentioned in earlier installments, most of my ideas have come to me as a coach, trainer and judge. Over the last few weeks, I have judged some major shows across the United States and International Championship competitions. I see the same mistakes from a majority of the competitors. As your horsemanship skills improve, you will advance to tougher competition and more will be asked of you by the judges. It is time to step up and show off your skills. The patterns will become tougher to ride, as the judges will need to ramp up the difficulty in the patterns to match the competition. It is the only way that judges can separate the riders and find the true winners.

I usually ask for numerous maneuvers in the advanced classes, such as counter canters, loping and trotting square corners and putting in a flying lead change or two in the patterns…

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