Wednesday, April 9, 2014

AZ Horseman's Challenge

In addition to clinics and demonstrations, the Verde Valley Equine Festival hosted the Arizona Horseman's Challenge.  They began with a parade into the main arena with the competing trainers standing in the beds of brand new Dodge Ram trucks while they were introduced to the audience.  For a second there, I thought someone had gone out into the spectator parking lot and "borrowed" my truck for the show.

The competing trainers drew a number from a hat to decide the order of how they got to choose the horse they would train.

Then the announcer went down the line and asked each trainer if they wanted a horse that hadn't been chosen yet, or if they wanted to "steal" another trainer's horse.  He also asked the trainers what they were looking for in a horse.  Interestingly, no one stole another trainer's horse.

I love this next picture because it shows many of the horses the trainers had to choose from, and then there is Christine's Frisian stallion Baron towering above them in the background.  Baron had a front row seat for the show.

Once the horses were chosen, the trainers set out to do the work of separating them from the herd and driving them into the round pen of their assigned trainer.

Easier said than done when you have a bunch of herd-bound 2-year-olds who haven't been handled much.

The trainers got to work showing the audience and judges how they go about starting a horse under saddle.

There were many different approaches.  Some trainers did the same exercises, but in a different order.  All of them included some level of desensitization repeatedly over the three days in which they modeled their techniques for a live audience.  I saw a lot of pressure and release going on.  The announcer brought the microphone around from time to time to let the trainers explain why they were doing what they were doing and how they felt about their horse's personality and progress, and to let the judges say something about what they were seeing and what they were looking for in a winning horse trainer.


Cut-N-Jump said...

LOVE!!! the movement of that last horse.

achieve1dream said...

I love the trot on that last horse too! I have never really cared for these horseman challenge things. Those horses are too young..... But I could stare at Baron all day LOL!