Friday, February 19, 2010

Horse in Hand

Some people think showing a horse in hand at halter is easy compared to riding one in a show, but what I saw in Scottsdale proved to be otherwise. I did not see a single rider fall off or get thrown off a horse. However, I did see quite a few handlers in the halter classes have various mishaps.

When entering the arena in a halter class, the handler must run beside the horse as the horse moves at a trot. One handler came in with a false start. The announcer called for someone to fix a shoe -- but not for a horse. The handler had thrown her shoe while running in through the gate.

That gave everyone the giggles.

Another handler came in with a beautiful black horse that was so full of itself that it was rearing, bucking, and running circles around the handler all the way up the rail of the arena.

I kept shooting off pictures trying to catch the horse in mid-buck or mid-rear.

You know I love a spirited black horse.

Round and round it went. It looked kind of like when I showed Gabbirielle as a yearling at halter. I could not keep her beside me.

The handler was doing his best to hang on, but...

I heard the announcer call out to close the gate and looked to the end of the arena to see a runaway horse.

Fortunately, it stopped at the opposite end of the arena, and both horse and handler were reunited.

On another occasion, while photos of the winning horses were being taken, I looked over to see a handler on the ground. Either he tripped or his horse knocked him down. Fortunately, he wasn't hurt. The photographer's assistant had to brush the dirt off his suit before they took the picture. (The photo below is of a group getting set up for a photograph with a winning horse, but not the handler who fell.)

I also saw one of the judges get whipped several times when he walked too close to a handler who was swinging a whip up over his head and not looking to see if anyone was behind him. So, there definitely are some hazards that go along with showing a horse at halter.


Sydney said...

Arabian halter is insane.
Like isn't the point of halter/showmanship to show you have a conformationally correct horse that you can handle well?
Crazy, just crazy. I don't think they need to be crazy jumping all over to show their gaits etc. I have seen some very, very gorgeous, conformationally correct and well handled arabians.
I know if my horse did that in a show ring I would be asked to leave the show grounds. Crazy arabian show people @__@

Shirley said...

I just don't get the Arabian halter class either. If you have to swing a whip around to get your horse to look it's best, and have an ill-behaved horse that is a danger to yourself, it's time to re-evaluate the class. I'm not dissing the breed here, I think they are a wonderful and beautiful breed, but the politics of showing is not always in the best interest of the breed.

Breathe said...

Wow! That's too wild! But they are so beautiful you can almost forgive them

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

I love seeing how animated the Arabians get when they are motivated by their handlers. It's never boring watching them, and you can tell many of the horses enjoy all that stimulation. It really shows off the high energy of the breed.