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Riding the Perfect Horsemanship Pattern with AQHA Judge Brad Kearns

Horse Showing 101: Approach a horsemanship pattern with your best skills and a solid plan.

Horsemanship is about creating a dance between you and your horse that everyone else watches and thinks, “Wow, how did they do that?” It’s about showing off your partnership. You have to think of it as a dance, and you are your horse’s lead. Tell your equine partner where to go and guide him to his most graceful position correctly. A good lead can make a partner look a lot better than he or she might actually be.

That’s what a great horsemanship pattern is all about: Showing what you’ve got the best you can.
 Here are a few strategies I teach my students, and how they apply specifically to potential maneuvers in a pattern.

1. Have Plan A and Plan B

Any time you do a pattern class, the most important thing is to look at the drawing of the pattern and read the words. It’s more than memorizing the horsemanship pattern. You need to make sure you understand it and you know where to execute each element as instructed. It sounds simple, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t take time to do that. 
Once you understand the pattern, then you can make your plan to ride it. When I work out how I will ride a pattern, I always have a Plan A and a Plan B. Plan A is what you want to do; Plan B is what you’re going to do if something goes wrong so you can recover and go on. A judge might never know you made a mistake and didn’t do your Plan A, if you just move right into your backup plan.

CLICK HERE to read the rest of the article from The American Quarter Horse Journal.