It has only been a short time since AQHA introduced leveling to our horse show world. There have been some kinks to work out, and trainers have had to re-strategize with clients to maximize the benefits of the system. Now that we have had a few years to play the leveling game, I thought it would be beneficial to see what kinds of tips and tricks we could find out from our elite group of trainers at this show.
Tip #1 from Ryan Kail– “If you have a horse and rider that are kind of green in an event, and they’re just starting to get the hang of it, we will kind of pull back near the end of the year if they’re getting close (to moving up a level). This way, we will have a whole year to really get after it.”
Tip #2- from Kellie Hinely– “If I have someone who’s strong in a certain event, I recommend the Level 3 as there are more points. You’re only as good as your competition, and if you’re good enough to have pointed out of the Level 2, then you belong in the Level 3.”
Tip #3- from Eric Felt- “If you have a Level 3 horse with a Level 2 rider, I have them show in the Level 3 where you have a bit more room and will not get covered up. Also, this way, you’re showing against other Level 3 horses and you can truly see where you stack up.”
Tip #4- from Kellie Hinely– “If there are not many horses in the Level 3, and the Level 2 and 3 are run separately, then the Level 2 exhibitors will count towards the point total for the Level 3. For example, if there were 14 in the Level 2 and 6 in the Level 3 then first though fifth would receive points in the Level 3, unlike the Level 2 where only first through third would receive points.”
Tip #5- from David Archer– “You can always roll back from the Level 3 to the Level 2 as points drop off after three years. This always gives you a place to go if you stop showing for a while or find you’re not being as competitive in an event as you once were.”