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Region Two: September 20

AQHA Region Two Championship offers great ranch pleasure advice from AQHA Professional Horseman Marty Oak Simper.

By Christine Hamilton
The American Quarter Horse Journal
September 22, 2013

AQHA Professional Horseman Marty Oak Simper at his ranch pleasure clinic at the 2013 AQHA Region Two Championship in Rapid City, South Dakota.

AQHA Professional Horseman Marty Oak Simper at his ranch pleasure clinic at the 2013 AQHA Region Two Championship in Rapid City, South Dakota.

The 2013 AQHA Region Two Championship in Rapid City, South Dakota, opened with a little more than 1,500 pre-entries, but by end of day September 20, entries had topped 1,800, and are still rising.

Speed events, cow horse, ranch pleasure, reining, halter stallions classes, ranch sorting, roping and western riding are done, and the hunt for the Markel Insurance all-around TexTan award saddles is in earnest. (Scroll down for the Journal slide show.)

Other show highlights include a livestream webcast by Ltl Twister Video Productions. The exhibitor party and dinner is September 21, along with the second “Ride for the Cure” Region Two Cancer Survivors Ride – a chance to honor and memorialize friends and family who’ve struggled against cancer.

The Region Two is selling pink ribbon pins for $5 to raise money for cancer research – go get your pin in the trade show at the Region Two hospitality table near the show office area.

It’s great to see faces new and old showing up to test their horsemanship. Scott and Shelley Rystrom of Trumbull, Nebraska, showed up with Tracy Harl’s makeover mare, Hairpin Sterling Sis, that the Journal met at the 2012 show – this time showing in ranch horse pleasure with Scott.

With the Region Two, Marilyn Wegweiser of Basin, Wyoming, returns to the AQHA show pen for the first time in 25 years, showing her homebred Bitzolena in novice amateur cow horse boxing and in open and amateur ranch pleasure.

Ranch Pleasure Advice on Ranch Pleasure Pattern No. 3

Marilyn was one of 72 total entries in the youth, open and amateur ranch pleasure, and one of about 25 participants in the Region Two ranch pleasure clinic with AQHA Professional Horseman and Team Wrangler Extreme Team Member Marty Oak Simper of Ogden, Utah.

Marty held a question-and-answer session on ranch pleasure pattern No. 3, before heading outside to give exhibitors a chance to ride through the pattern. Marty grew up in a ranching family in Elko, Nevada, and now trains out of his performance barn in Ogden, Utah, showing everything AQHA from western pleasure to roping.

Here’s a little of what he had to say on ranch pleasure pattern No. 3:

Don’t brush over the walk.

A lot of people come out of here and kind of forget this first walk. Don’t hurry through it, let your horse walk out and give the judges time to see it.

I like to see a horse up in the bridle and ready to do something, like a cow horse. I want to see a horse walk out and go, so he can get someplace in a ranch setting. And when you ask for the jog, he should move right up with a free cadence there. Remember, he needs to stay ahead of himself and not get behind the vertical (behind the bridle).

How slowly should you jog?

Your jog must have forward motion to it. You can’t come out here and do a western pleasure jog. You have to show that your horse is up, underneath himself and propelling himself forward, but not so much that you can’t show a speed difference when you go to extend the jog.

If you post the jog, do you need to worry about getting the right diagonal?

I do, yes. It goes back to horsemanship, to me. Getting your diagonal puts your horse in the right balance to make a turn and move right. If you’re not on the right diagonal and you’re trying to turn, you’re pulling your horse’s shoulder out.

When I’m on the ranch, trotting across the pasture where there’s no fenceline, I post the diagonal on the side my horse is stiff, to help him move. But if there’s a fenceline, I post so that I’m set up to turn off the fenceline. To me, here, you have a fenceline, and you’re making a turn, and you need to have the right diagonal if you post.

Do you have to post the extended jog?

No. Do what helps your horse move out into an extended trot. Growing up on a ranch, I don’t remember trotting my horses going across the desert, standing up and holding onto the horn; I always posted.

But this year, I have (stood up in the saddle at the extended jog) with some of my horses because I found it pushed them out into a trot a little more. For me, I could stand up in my saddle and hold on to the saddle horn, push them out in the trot, and then when I sit down, they’ll set back to me more.

But if posting helps you get your horse to move out and show that extended trot, then post.

How fast should you go from the stop to the sidepass?

When you come in to that stop before the sidepass, let your horse settle from the stop, but don’t hesitate too much, not as much as a reiner does (before he lopes off in a reining pattern). Finish the stop; and go right into that sidepass.

You’re supposed to be showing how your horse would work out on the ranch, and there you’re not going to stop and really hesitate to do something. But here you also want to show each maneuver and help the judge to see it. You don’t want those maneuvers to be all rushed and clumped together, you want to show them as separate maneuvers.

You can spin either direction first, which is best?

I’d spin to the right because from doing that sidepass to the right, your horse is already framed up in his body to go that way.

After your spins, do you start to jog after you make the corner?

I would go to my trot right before the corner; (the pattern is) drawn to do that. Again, don’t forget this walk, that’s a place where you can miss a lot of (credit-earning) points. Make sure you walk straight away from those sidepasses. But pick up your jog and then make the corner. You want to show it how it’s drawn.

Should you round your corners?

Ride it like it’s written. For me, showing, I want to see the squared corners, the way it’s drawn.

How much of an extension should you have in your lope?

You have to do what’s going to be the best to show your horse’s ability. I show each of my horses a little bit different. Some horses I can run out more than others, because I know they are going to come back to me.

In this pattern, where you lope down the left side of the arena, I really run my reiners out because they will come back to me when I ask. But if I get on a horse that I don’t think will come back to me as well, I don’t ask for as much. From the judges’ perspective, if that horse doesn’t come back to you, you’ll lose credit. If you kick your horse up and he sticks his nose up in the air and goes and takes off, that’s not showing your horse off.

The judges want to see a definite change in speed, with control. When you come around the corner and ask for that increase in speed, you don’t want your horse to jump into it and run off, you want to see a definite build to speed and then a definite slow down. You want the overall picture to be smooth.