Over Reacting in the Show Ring – 5 Actions Which Make You Look Like a Loser

5 over reactions which make you look like a loser

I was out “horsing around” this week end and saw some interesting sights. Although I wasn’t juding at the time I have seen some of these and maybe have even subscribed to some of them.

Eye of a Horse (Andalusian)

Have You Seen or Heard Comments You Hope You Never Say or Do? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Have you ever seen any of these or some which you would like to bring to our attention?

Number 1. Shooting your horse in the poll with a pistol made from a fist.

The rider had just completed a schooling tip with many runouts and shays and spooks and over jumps. As he completed the round he pulled up and said loudly what a bad horse he was riding and made a hand gesture which looked like a gun and pointed it at the horse’s head and mouthed the word, “bang”.

You know, as riders, we have had bad days and ridden young horse’s which may have not understood, or risen to the occasion. We load accolades on those young horses which rise to the occasion and perform brilliantly. Unfortunately for those who are unsure or a bit more reserved, we demean them by shooting them in the head with a pistol made from fingers. Not cool.

“This is his first time off the property,” is a favored expression. From this we can conclude:

a) he performed brilliant even though he has never been off property.


b) he performed sub par because he has never been off property.

If he isn’t performing as he should we understand. Now get home and start doing some training.

2. Leaning back and sea-sawing on the horse’s mouth.

Yes being on a run away is dangerous. We all agree on that. My question is, “why are you in the show ring if you do not have control over the horse?”

If you are on a true run away (and believe me I have) then sitting in the ‘back seat’ and pulling the horse’s back teeth out may be one option.

In the show ring, however, sitting back and pulling, will more than likely get you a quick trip to the bottom of the placings. If you have to make that big of a move to get the correct striding in, or to slow the horse down, you’ve missed out on a possible placing.

Making a less obvious move, sit up and holding on the reins for a couple of strides, for example, would be noticed as a proper technique and would keep you in the ribbons.

3. Excessive Elbow Flapping and Clucking.

Equestrian Jump 1

Use Everything You’ve Got to Get From Point A to Point B (Photo credit: JDB Photos)

Alright, if you are going for the ‘big money’ jump off, please be my guest. Use everything you got to get that horse from point A to point B. Elbow flapping, clucking and ‘git-up’ seem to be acceptable.

If you are in the hunter ring, hunter judges would like to maintain decorum and have as little talking as possible. Use of whip and voice is recorded and could be a tie breaker.

Also remember dressage! Use of voice is scored against riders.

4.Complaining About the Horse

The horse knocked a jump down, or the horse refused. Bad, bad horsey! The reason the horse refused or knocked down is most likely because of pilot error. It may be as a result of poor preparation, getting left behind or getting too far ahead of the horse.

Now is the time to get a seasoned coach who knows what they are doing and get a training program working for you. Please review number 1, about shooting your horse in the head with a pistol made from your finger.

5. Complaining about the course

This one is always difficult. “My horse didn’t do very well because the distances, angels, jumps <insert other object of complaint here> were not correct”. This sometimes occurs after several other people have ridden it correctly.

Please review number 4 above about getting a seasoned coach who knows what they are doing. Prepared riders often like the challenge of a well made course..



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About Laura

Laura Kelland-May is the founder of Thistle Ridge Skill Builders Development Program. She more than trains horses, she trains people to train their horses. In addition she is a Sr. Judge and can offer insight into What the Judge Is Looking For. Follow her here and get more tips.
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