By Dan Roark
I’ll begin with the American Quarter Horse Association events for those who would like to view the Monday (1/8) events before the Chisholm Challenge events on Tuesday (1/9) and Wednesday (1/10), and those who may simply be interested.
Showmanship – designed to judge the showmanship skills of the exhibitors. Judges evaluate the grooming and fitting of the horse, and expertise of the exhibitor in presenting the horse. Each exhibitor is required to perform a pattern designed by the Judge with emphasis on preciseness of pattern and degree of confidence exhibited by the showman.
Hunt Seat Equitation – tests the rider’s ability to ride – not the performance of the horse. Contestants work a predetermined pattern and top riders return to be judged as they travel the perimeter of the arena performing gait changes at the judge’s discretion. Emphasis is placed on ability to sit correctly, hold the correct riding posture and control the horse on a precise pattern.
Hunter Under Saddle – class for English riding disciplines in which judges evaluate a hunter-type American Quarter Horse on the flat, at a walk, trot and canter. Emphasis is placed on the smoothness of gait, free-flowing stride and willingness to perform.
Trail – an obstacle course providing a reasonable test of skill levels. Competitors will be judged on performing the course in sequence and initiate all steering and basic control of the horse.
Western Horsemanship – designed to test the horsemanship abilities with riders using western tack. Divided into two sections, riders first follow a prescribed pattern of maneuvers at a walk trot or lope. Finalists ride as a group around the perimeter of the arena. Judging focuses on the rider’s body position seal in the saddle and ability to control the horse.
Western Pleasure – Contestants compete simultaneously, traveling the perimeter of the arena, and at the discretion of the judge, are asked to walk, jog, lope and reverse the direction of the horse. Horses are evaluated on quality of movement while staying quiet and calm.
Reining – judges the horse on movements, mastery of a prescribed maneuver and attitude as she/he is guided through an AQHA pattern. The horse is required to perform a number of stops, spins, rollbacks, lead changes and circles at a lope. The horse should be willing to be guided with little or no resistance.
Chisholm Challenge Events:
English Equitation – Competitors use English tack and saddle. Judging is based on the rider’s ability to communicate with the horse to include gait transitions, halts, circles, reverses, seat and hands.
Western Equitation – Competitors use Western tack and saddle. Judging is based on the rider’s ability to communicate with the horse to include gait transitions, halts, circle, reverses, seat and hands. The “Heroes on Heroes” class is comprised of veterans from U.S. Armed Forces.
Ranch Riding – the ranch riding horse should simulate a horse riding outside the confines of an arena and reflect the versatility, attitude, and movement of a working horse. The class is judged on the ability to work at a forward, working speed while performing the required and optional maneuvers. Disqualification (DQ) for breaking pattern.
Driving – Therapeutic driving classes are judged as Pleasure and Reinsmanship classes, which are a test of the skill of the driver. There are two individuals in the vehicle, the Able Bodied Whip (for safety) and the competitor.
Showmanship at Halter – Exhibitors are judged on their ability to present horse at halter. Points will also be given in regard to care and grooming of horse by the exhibitor. Conformation of the horse will not be relevant to judge.
Barrels – Timed event in which the competitor must complete clover-leaf formation without knocking any barrels over or breaking pattern. A 5-second penalty will be added to time for each overturned barrel. Disqualification (DQ) for breaking pattern.
Pole Bending – Timed event in which the competitor must complete pattern without knocking poles over or breaking pattern. A 5-second penalty will be added to time for each fallen pole. Disqualification (DQ) for breaking pattern.
Trail – An obstacle course providing a reasonable text of skill levels. The competitor will be judged on performing the course in sequence and initiate all steering and basic control of the horse.
Ride on and ride for hope.