Equestrian 4-H Club members from around the region were put through their paces during the judging events held at the Williams Lake Stockyards riding arena Saturday, Aug. 15.
Most of the morning was spent in judging showmanship. The judge is looking for the 4-H member that does the best job of showing/exhibiting their horse to the judge, as well as being scored on the grooming and presentation of both horse and handler.
In the competition the handler holds the reins and walks, then runs with the horse the length of the arena to where the judge is waiting to get a close look at the pair.
During the judging, the handler must face the judge at all times. As the judge walks around the horse, the handler moves from one side of the horse’s head to the other so that she is always facing the judge.
For some of the smaller handlers bringing a big horse to a full stop on the mark proved to be a bit difficult.
The riding portion of the competition filled out the afternoon.
This work involves riders completing various patterns according to the class they are in with the more difficult patterns reserved for the experienced riders.
The competition starts with the riders saddling up their horses. The younger riders are allowed some help from assistants in the ring.
A caller is designated to prompt the riders through their particular exercise.
Caller Sally McCarthy says that while most riders know their patterns ahead of time, in the heat of competition the less experienced riders may get nervous and forget, so she is there to help them along.
“They have to know when to walk, when to trot, and when to canter in addition to where to go next,” McCarthy says.
Each level of competition has a different required pattern which has been specifically developed for the 4-H Clubs. Patterns include riding at various gaits around the arena and riding in specific sized circles at various points in the arena.
Large print letters are placed at various points around the ring for riders to follow.
The riders are also judged on their mount and dismount skills. Senior riders are also required to back up their horse a few paces and make 190 turns on their horses.
The ride ends with the rider stopping at the centre ring, dismounting and then walking their horse out of the arena.
Most of the riders ride in the western style but there was one English rider participating.
4-H horsemanship winners named
The following riders were top winners in equitation and horse showmanship at the 4-H Show and Sale last week.
Grand Champion Equitation: Karena Sokolan, Chimney Valley.
Reserve Champion Equitation: Skye Forcier, Rose Lake/Miocene.
Grand Champion Sr. Horse Showman: Laura Pfleiderer, Rose Lake/Miocene.
Reserve Champion Sr. Horse Showman: Skye Forcier, Rose Lake/Miocene.
Grand Champion Jr. Horse Showman: Elizabeth Van Immerzeel, Rose Lake/Miocene.
Reserve Champion Jr. Horse Showman: Adanna Nustad, Chimney Valley.
Best Groomed Horse: Skye Forcier, Rose Lake/Miocene.
High Point Horse Jr.: Elizabeth Van Immerzeel, Rose Lake/Miocene.
High Point Horse Sr.: Laura Pfleiderer, Rose Lake/Miocene.