Part Seven from AQHA Judge and Professional Horseman Mark Sheridan’s Series on Improving Your Horsemanship Scores
From the August/September issue of Show Horse Today
Have you been feeling the burn from Mark Sheridan’s last Show Horse Today article? Mark shared some great tips for exercises to get in your best horsemanship shape and position! “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?” is the question he is answering in his series on horsemanship, helping you to win the blue! In this issue, AQHA Professional Horseman and Judge Mark shares some thoughts on rail performance, and a few, last minute tips:
“In the last installment, I mostly focused my article on exercises you can do at home to strengthen your skills in the arena. There is no substitution for doing your homework well. It will pay off at the shows, and it is easy for most of us judges to see who has done their homework and who has not, just as a teacher or professor can see in school. I am not sure how many installments there will be in this series. That is due to the fact that I am always thinking of things that I recall while judging that have kept me thoughtful of how to always make one the best that they can be as a rider and exhibitor. So far, we have focused on the obvious areas that seem to plague many riders. As we progress into the installments, we will start to fine tune things to make you the best you can be. This will include areas of horsemanship that not everyone thinks about, but can dramatically impact your score.
Sometimes I will be judging a show and I realize that many riders do not have a trainer, or have the opportunities to practice as much as others. Hopefully all of these tips in the series will give you some insight to work on areas that you might not know were so important.
Let’s talk about showing on the rail after your individual performance. I take it for granted with my clients, and they know to never circle off of the rail to gain better rail position. I still see this at some of the smaller shows, and amazingly, will see it from time to time at the bigger shows. This sometimes includes circling around, cutting the arena in half and drastically cutting the corners to gain a better position. I need to warn you that this may dramatically drop your scores, if not place you at the very bottom of the class…”
To read the rest of this article and learn more ways to keep your score as high as possible, click here!