“The pattern will give the exhibitors the opportunity to showcase the connection and partnership they have with their horse,” Carter said. Photo © Kirstie Marie Photography

Bushes in Showmanship? AQHA Explains Challenging Showmanship Pattern at 2018 World Show

The Level 3 Amateur Showmanship is one of the toughest classes you will see at the Lucas Oil AQHA World Championship Show. Top exhibitors from all across the world compete for the chance to take home that special globe.

Showmanship is all about having control of every aspect of your horse and being a good showman. The Level 3 Amateur Showmanship class will have 61 entries this year for the prelims. From those 61 exhibitors, the elite 15 will be invited back for the finals. And this year, the finals pattern has one unique obstacle to maneuver.

We spoke with Patti Carter, AQHA Senior Director of Judges, about the finals class. She walked us through the pattern and gave us the details of what to expect. Click here to download and print the pattern.

  • They start on the off side, Carter said. The steward will nod and the exhibitor will switch sides. They will then back their horse around three bushes. The distance between the bushes will be 21 feet apart. It will give the exhibitors a long backup that isn’t tight. The exhibitors will have the opportunity to be able to show how well they can control their horse’s bodies while negotiating a long, curved backup.

  • Next, they walk and guide their horse through the bushes forward before picking up the trot and negotiating a Figure 8 back through the bushes and circle back around toward the judge. The extended trot to the judge will be a reasonable distance. I’ve measured it out where the finalists can show their extended trot.

  • Then, they show a collection and a square corner at the trot to the right. The next maneuver is to execute a straight stop. A square, collected stop will be credit earning. Next are two turns, a straight line back up, stopping with the horse’s shoulder on the judge, a setup and inspection.

  • To exit, exhibitors do a 180 degree turn and exit the arena at a trot. Last year, the World Show patterns included setups from a turn. This year, the setup is from a backup. The judges will be standing behind the inspection judge, therefore, the judges will still be evaluating the setup from the profile.

The exciting aspect of the pattern is using bushes instead of cones. This has been done in the past, but not in recent years.

“The pattern will give the exhibitors the opportunity to showcase the connection and partnership they have with their horse,” Carter said. “For aesthetic reasons only, we are replacing the cones with bushes. They are solid and contained. They aren’t super bushy. If a horse comes close, the bushes shouldn’t touch their legs. All exhibitors will be given the opportunity to let their horse see the bushes and practice around them.”

Carter adds, “It’s all about maneuverability around anything. This just looks more attractive and is something interesting to put in there. It’s the World Show,” Carter states. “I don’t think there will be any push-back from exhibitors.”

A challenge to the pattern this year is having two back maneuvers. “At a World Show, exhibitors expect more of a challenge,” Carter said. “The backup is challenging for any exhibitor. Two backups would be hard to pull off at most weekend shows because of time. With only 15 finalists at a World Show, we have that luxury.”

Carter is eager to watch the finals unfold. She has great faith in the exhibitors, their great Quarter Horses and their fantastic, talented coaches. The competition is always fierce.

“It will be really exciting,” Carter said. “I know they will handle it beautifully.”

Be sure to catch the action and watch the Level 3 Amateur Showmanship finals at the 2018 Lucas Oil AQHA World Championship Show on Friday, November 16.