1. True or false: In a ranch riding class, the overall performance of your horse’s gaits should be similar to what they’d be in a Western pleasure class—that is, relaxed, measured, and unhurried.
T / F
2. In most trail classes, your horse will be penalized for
A) an artificial appearance over obstacles.
B) attentiveness shown to the obstacles.
C) moving straight through without pausing between obstacles.
3. Name the event where you lead your horse in hand and he’s judged on the basis of his conformation.
A) showmanship class
B) halter class
C) pattern class
4. Which of these statements is true of all circles performed in a reining class?
A) They must be run counter-clockwise.
B) They must demonstrate speed while still allowing correct form.
C) They must start and finish at the center of the arena.
HOW’D YOU DO? (Answers below.)
1. F is correct. In a ranch riding class, your horse’s movement should be forward, free-flowing, and ground-covering at all gaits. He’ll be penalized for exhibiting the slower and more measured movement often seen in Western pleasure events. (Learn what multi-carded judge Debbie Cooper says judges look for in a ranch riding spin—and how to achieve it.)
2. A is correct. In a trail class, a horse is penalized for having an artificial appearance over obstacles, but rewarded for showing attentiveness to the obstacles and negotiating them with style and some degree of speed. (Check here for tips on negotiating the metal trail gate, which is a bit trickier than the rope gate.)
3. B is correct. But you knew that! The halter class is the beauty pageant of the horse show. (Review master horseman Al Dunning’s advice for adjusting your horse’s show halter for form and function.)
4. C is correct. The common denominator for all reining circles—regardless of size, speed, or direction—is that they start and finish at the center of the arena…something beginners often forget. (Check out super-reiner Andrea Fappani’s two key exercises to hone your horse’s circling ability.)
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