Journal at the World

August 27, 2013

Tips From the Nutrena Ride the Rail/Ride the Pattern Clinics

Here are the tips the Journal staff gleaned from the Nutrena Ride the Rail/Ride the Pattern clinics at the 2013 Adequan Select World Championship Show.

By Journal Staff
The American Quarter Horse Journal

Nutrena Ride the Pattern showmanship clinic with Jill Newcomb at the 2013 Adequan Select World

AQHA Professional Horseman Jill Newcomb of San Marcos, California, teaches the Nutrena Ride the Pattern showmanship clinic, featured the evening before the showmanship prelims at the 2013 Adequan Select World. (Journal photo)

AQHA Professional Horsemen teach free Ride the Rail/Ride the Pattern clinics sponsored by Nutrena at the 2013 Adequan Select World Championship Show. At the free clinics, AQHA Professional Horsemen demonstrate how exactly they would approach the class or pattern. Spectators have the chance to monitor and attend these demonstrations.

The Journal staff is attending each clinic and will post some of the clinicians' talking points here.


AQHA Professional Horseman and judge Leslie Lange of Greeley, Colorado, walked through the horsemanship pattern with exhibitors August 27 during her Ride the Pattern clinic, with AQHA Professional Horseman Deanna Searles of Scottsdale, Arizona demonstrating.

Leslie's main points:

  • Horsemanship is 60-90 seconds for the exhibitor to shine
  • Horsemanship is a chance to show how well the rider and horse operate in concert
  • Horsemanship is a chance to answer a set of questions from the judges.
  • Don’t try to ride like the person in front of you. Good horsemen know how to show off their horses, and if that means riding at a slightly slower pace, do that.
  • It’s the job of a horseman to know what she can ride and maintain without losing form.

AQHA Professional Horseman Jill Newcomb offered insight for Tuesday’s showmanship preliminary pattern, which featured a walk, stop, presentation of the horse, trot, plus a trot-corner, then a break to the walk, followed by a stop, three-quarter turn and set-up for inspection. The final steps were backing two horse lengths, a quarter turn, then a walk or trot to exit the arena.

This is what the San Marcos, California, trainer and AQHA judge had to say at the Nutrena Ride the Pattern showmanship clinic:

  • “The one key, important part is going to be that trot corner. Make sure that when you trot that corner, you’re off of the judge enough to where when you do your turn, you aren’t on top of the judge. The judges did say that if you were too close to the judge it’s going to be a major penalty.”
  • “The other important part that the judges are going to be really critical on is your back. When you start that back, it’s two horse lengths. Whatever distance from your horse you start that back at, you need to stay that exact same the whole time. If you start out away from your horse, and you end up crowding your horse at the end, it’s going to be a major penalty.” 
  • “If you look at the bottom of the pattern, it says, ‘You should utilize the arena space to the part that best exhibits your horse.’ That was kind of the key that they stated to me: It’s on showmanship. They really want to see how you and your horse perform together. They want you to make it look easy and effortless. However you guys can best show off your horse tomorrow, that’s what they’re looking for.”
  • “I think (the challenge of showmanship is having) the ability to be able to show your horse kind of like your dance partner; it’s a real team effort.” 
  • “You can tell when a horse is over-schooled and not really the dance partner. It’s kind of like bad dancers on ‘Dancing With the Stars.’ It all shows. It has to be a lot of team work, a lot time and a lot of preparation.”

The showmanship prelims were Tuesday morning and the finals will be featured Thursday afternoon.

AQHA Professional Horseman Charlie Cole walked exhibitors through Tim "The Trail Man" Kimura's trail course at the Adequan Select World. Here are some of his talking points:

  • "When you walk into the arena, just know you are being judged. Don't take that last opportunity to school on your horse or two-hand it."
  • "If one judge tells you they are ready, don't wait for nods from the other judges, just proceed."
  • "The serpentine in this course is pretty tricky ... You could go on the lower side of the poles and only take two steps between the poles or you could hit the higher side of the poles and get three steps between the poles. Make sure you plan it well so you end up in good position for the next obstacle."
  • "Treat the gate and the following backup as two separate maneuvers. So, do the gate and back up to shut your gate. Stop. Then begin the backup maneuver. Treat them as separate maneuvers to avoid looking like you are out of control."

The Adequan Select World trail preliminaries are Monday, August 26, at 8 a.m. The finals in trail are Thursday, August 29, at 8 a.m.