By: Brandy Brown
Just throwing this out there as a discussion point if anyone else has any input or wants to speak on it as we approach a new show season. Friendly, respectful discussion, disagreement, and alternating opinions are welcome!
The last few years, I’ve noticed a trend with patterns at local breed shows that are very repetitive from previous years, at times unclear as to the maneuvers required, not challenging for the advanced divisions, and often overly simple. Further, it amazes me that I’m still seeing hand drawn patterns these days when we have ample options to access clean, clear, nice-looking patterns that are computer generated and easier to read. Or more specifically, I’m bothered by hand drawn patterns that look like they were drawn on a paper napkin over dinner and are very hard to read and understand. A clean, well drawn, hand-created pattern is always acceptable.
As an amateur and long-time showman, I personally prefer a pattern that has at least enough difficulty that I feel I’m able to exhibit the hard work that has gone into training and preparing my horse, and that I can get my monies worth. By showing at breed shows, I expect a higher level of challenge than I would see at an open show. I don’t believe I’m alone in this. Horsemanship patterns should ask for more than what a Western Pleasure class asks for on the rail. Equitation should ask for more than a Hunter Under Saddle class. Showmanship should have at least one pivot. I don’t believe that novice classes should exhibit on the exact same patterns, or almost identical, to an amateur or older youth. In my humble opinion, there should be some additional challenge to the patterns in an amateur or older youth class. An amateur pattern shouldn’t look like a walk-trot pattern with a lope portion added.
Use the same cone structure to save time resetting, but add some more challenge to the pattern for those more advanced classes. For example, having a pattern that includes a lead change maneuver allows for a rider to perform a simple lead change, or if they’ve worked hard/paid a lot of money for a horse to learn a flying lead change, they can show that off. It’s a simple way to add some difficulty, as well as an opportunity for exhibitors to strut their stuff. I’m not advocating for World Show level patterns at a weekend show, but rather for just a little bit of challenge involved. There’s a happy medium that can be found between patterns being accessible a newer rider, while still having enough challenge to please the extremely seasoned exhibitor.
Again, these are just my humble opinions, but they’ve been formed as someone who has been in the industry for my entire life, has shown multiple breed organizations, and is the daughter of horse trainers, breeders, and judges. I would love to see some respectful thoughts and opinions on the subject from other exhibitors and people in the industry. This info can then potentially be presented to show organizations as evidence of what exhibitors would rather see.
If you have an interesting topic for the Blog section of The Equine Chronicle, email B.Bevis@EquineChronicle.com for consideration.