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Discussion on Standing square for showmanship

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Shari Robertson
Member
Username: Srobert

Post Number: 110
Registered: 7-2003
Posted on Tuesday, Aug 22, 2006 - 11:47 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Okay, here's one for you. A small thing but important! My daughter is working with her boy for showmanship class - not her favorite event, but required in her youth division of an upcoming event. Raj will square up easily, but as soon as all four feet are in position he IMMEDIATELY rests either one back foot or the other. EVERY SINGLE TIME! There he is looking gorgously Arab with everything at attention - but with one leg propped forward.

He is perfectly sound - but I believe this has become a habit. (I think he has learned to conserve energy from his TWH buddy).Silly boy. Any suggestions?
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Chris Stevens
Member
Username: Stevens

Post Number: 107
Registered: 8-2002
Posted on Tuesday, Aug 22, 2006 - 5:29 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Practice is the name of the game in showmanship. Your daughter's horse has gotten in the practice of relaxing after squaring up. He needs to get retrained to be totally "at attention" instead.

You can try a couple of different things, but the key is to mix it up so that he doesn't get into a different rut. For example, have her set him up and before he goes into rest mode, immediately turn and trot him off. Next time, set him up and then immediately back him up. Next time, set him up and immediately do a pivot. Next time, set him up and then let him stand as you play the judge and inspect him. If he starts to rest, tell your daughter immediately, move out of the way and have her trot him off.

It may take awhile to retrain him out of this habit but it'll be worth it. Eventually, he'll keep focussed on her in the show pen instead of resting.

To be honest, I couldn't stand showmanship until I got a horse that had started life as a halter horse. That boy was gorgeous, had great movement and stopped square each and every time. A showmanship machine.

Good Luck!

Chris
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Shari Robertson
Member
Username: Srobert

Post Number: 111
Registered: 7-2003
Posted on Tuesday, Aug 22, 2006 - 9:50 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Sounds like great advice. We do a lot of ground work - giving to pressure, moving hips, shoulders, backing etc, but not as much of the showmanship stuff. Any suggestions on training a good pivot?
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Shawna
Member
Username: Qh4me

Post Number: 188
Registered: 3-2005
Posted on Friday, Aug 25, 2006 - 1:50 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Excellent advice from Chris.
Another suggestion, when he rests his back foot, make him move a front foot, cause he can't stand on only 2 feet.

I had this issue with my yearling, and I was constantly trying to get him to stand on both, when a trainer came over and told me to pick up and set the opposite front foot. Mind you, this was for a halter class, so we can actually touch the horse. In showmanship it might be a little bit more difficult.

Best of luck
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Shari Robertson
Member
Username: Srobert

Post Number: 113
Registered: 7-2003
Posted on Saturday, Aug 26, 2006 - 5:24 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi Shawna: Tried your excellent suggestion. Guess what? He CAN stand on two feet - no problem. Maybe that's what makes Arabs so sure footed?

Anyway, I use clicker training and we have been working in 15 minute chunks every day. He doesn't get "clicked" until the foot bears weight. We are at about 80% right now so making good progress. I STILL don't like showmanship however (and I probably have passed this along to my daughter). Ground work FINE but showmanship....I would rather show from ON TOP of a horse! LOL
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Chris Stevens
Member
Username: Stevens

Post Number: 108
Registered: 8-2002
Posted on Monday, Aug 28, 2006 - 3:30 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi Shari,

The way I learned to pivot a horse was to start small. I believe that which foot the horse pivots on isn't as crucial as it was back in the day; but I guess I'm a purist and expect the horse to pivot on the right hind when pivoting to the right.

You want to make sure that both the horse and the handler are thinking forward and not back; that way he's more likely to step forward with the left hind and cross it over the right. If he's backing up anyway, try setting him up with his butt against a fence or wall. Again, go with just a step or a quarter turn at first, then work up slowly to a full pivot. It's important that the horse's body stay straight. If he's actually stepping forward instead of turning, have your daughter hold a crop in front of him. She should be turning to face his neck and walking directly into his neck. If he doesn't move away, she can poke him in the shoulder with the crop. If he's really resistance and you're up to it, use a hoof pick or a spur, yeah the pointy end. You don't want to make him bleed or anything, just a couple of pokes should get the message across.

Then it's that darn practice, practice, practice. When I was showing all-around, we practiced showmanship for at least 30 minutes a week, but whenever I was leading him, it was showmanship time. I agree that it's much more fun to ride, but hey, he needs to pivot in both directions for horsemanship anyway.

By the way, he's probably got enough weight on the resting foot to keep from falling down when you pick up a front foot, which is of course a big no-no in showmanship. But he sure can't back up with it resting, once he's "tuned up" you should be able to correct the resting foot by increasing pressure on the lead as if you were going to ask him to move off or back.

good luck,

Chris
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Shari Robertson
Member
Username: Srobert

Post Number: 114
Registered: 7-2003
Posted on Tuesday, Aug 29, 2006 - 2:55 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

WOW! This is exactly what we needed! It makes me even think it might be fun to work showmanship on after all. I'll let you know how it goes. Shari
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Chris Stevens
Member
Username: Stevens

Post Number: 110
Registered: 8-2002
Posted on Tuesday, Aug 29, 2006 - 3:16 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hey, don't thank me yet; let's see if it works!

A really good source is the Lynn Palm book on Longevity Training. She does alot of ground work that is applicable to showmanship and general horsemanship.

Chris
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Lori
Member
Username: Maggienm

Post Number: 230
Registered: 6-2004
Posted on Tuesday, Oct 3, 2006 - 9:48 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

My mare leaves one leg out behind. When I get her to bring it forward she also move her front leg forward. I try to ask as quietly and gently as I can, I even stand in front of her with my hip on her chest to try to get her to keep her front legs still. Suggestions?
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Chris Stevens
Member
Username: Stevens

Post Number: 147
Registered: 8-2002
Posted on Tuesday, Oct 3, 2006 - 11:04 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi Lori,

I was taught to pick one back leg as the set leg and then move everything else to square up. I used the left hind leg.

The cues I used for moving the back leg was a forward and back motion. I used more of a downward motion on the lead shank either to the left or right (of the horse) and very very slightly forward or back to set the front legs. The point is to direct the horse's weight towards the foot that you ARE NOT trying to move.

The first thing we did was to just move the "other" back leg forward and back. We did this for about 2-3 minutes, then would walk forward, stop and do it again.

Your mare probably is leaving one leg out behind because she isn't stopping sharply. I would suggest that you work on the stop first, then worry about setting her up. If she sort of dribbles into the stop, I would turn and immediately back her up, then trot off and stop again.

Standing in front of her with your hip on her chest sounds very dangerous to me. If something spooks her and she comes to life you're in a very bad position.

The Lynn Palm book on Longevity Training that I mentioned in a previous post is an excellent resource. I highly recommend it.

Good luck!
Chris
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