Photo by Julia Shelburne-Hitti.Each day you arrive at the barn your horse allows you to stick your foot in the stirrup and swing up onto its back. At a horse show, your mount trots proudly into the show ring, often down an enclosed chute into bright lights and the sound of hundreds or even thousands of cheering people. To lifelong equestrians these events probably seem commonplace, but in truth they shouldn’t seem anything less than astounding, because both these examples portray an animal that is doing what its human asks, and actually dismissing some of its own instincts to do it.
Robert Gardiner showing Callaway's Blaire as a park horse.What is a park horse? If you ask this question of the three-gaited, five-gaited or fine harness horse, the answers are concrete. Five-gaited horses, known for their slow-gait and rack, are powerful and exciting, with energy that is channeled into forward motion. Three-gaited horses are known for their elegance, refinement and energy that is channeled into animation. Throw a mane on that horse and hook it to a viceroy and you have yourself a fine harness horse.
Facebook groups like this one have become popular places to advertise sale horses but since they offer unlimited space many sellers write long descriptions that no one reads.Strutting out of Freedom Hall and down Stopher Walk, tricolor in your pocket and carnations draped over your horse’s neck, walking on Cloud 9 from the victory pass. It’s just you and your trainer, and twenty people following you back to the barn wanting to buy your horse. That is the dream.
It has happened, and will continue to happen on occasion at shows across the country, but it is not the case with most horses for sale in today’s market. More often than not, sellers spend weeks, months or even years trying to find just the right buyer for their horses, through word of mouth, print advertising, and now even online and through social media. The process can be overwhelming, but with a little thought and effort, you can market your horse well, find the right buyer, and send him off to his new happy home with something close to the asking price in your pocket.
As August and the World’s Championship Horse Show quickly approaches, it brings with it the end of summer and a new challenge for young riders on every show circuit: balancing the time and dedication essential to competitive riding with equally demanding academic requirements.
From grade schoolers to high schoolers and college students, young riders make up a large percentage of the show horse industry. While student status works in their favor during the summer months, the fall and spring shows, and sometimes even Louisville, can become a nightmarish juggling act of missed material, makeup tests and suffering grades, but it doesn’t have to be that way. It is possible to keep up with schoolwork while showing at a high level; it just takes a little communication and a lot of planning ahead.
Photo by Avis.Not one, but three judges stand in center ring at most of the larger shows on the Saddlebred show circuit. The competitors have worked their hardest to impress each of these judges, with no room to make adjustments without at least one pair of eyes on them. The judges turn their cards in and take a well-deserved seat as the tabulators get to work figuring out who will walk away with the blue ribbon. What is this magic that takes the opinion of three different people and creates the official placings? In today’s day and age, you may assume it is a fancy computer system that spits out the results, but this is not the case. It’s paper, pencil and the human brain.