The difference between first and second place in horsemanship classes lies in the details of your horsemanship position. One of those small items that’s easily overlooked when you’re showing is your upper-body position—especially your free arm and hand and both of your shoulders. Keeping these small details top of mind every time you ride means they’ll become second nature in the saddle.
If you show in the trail class, you’re probably quite familiar with the rope gate obstacle. It’s easy for show management to transport and set up, and it’s forgiving when it comes to working the obstacle. But now we’re seeing the metal trail gate return to the show pen, which adds another item to prepare to face in a class.
Whether you’re a beginner or advanced, ride trails or rails, effective speed transitions are an essential part of your horsemanship. Controlled, smooth changes of gait make for a more enjoyable ride for you and your horse—less bouncing around, fumbled cues, and confusion for your horse. And they net you a better score if you compete. Here I’ll explain how one of my young riders works on her transitions to eventually make them effortless and almost invisible.