Yearlings, Model and In-Hand Horses and the Show Ring

(chapter 4)

 

Preparing and showing a yearling can be more challenging than showing weanlings.  As a young horse grows so does his independence. He will take more patience than the weanling because they are more aware of their surroundings.

If your colt has had no previous training all of the exercises that I mentioned in the Weanling segment will apply so letís review some of the basic principles that you will be using during your training program: 

∑          Patience  

∑          Discipline

∑          Establish leadership

∑          Use the same words over and over

∑          Establish a work routine

∑          Always PRAISE for good behavior

 Lungeing and Long Walking

As I mentioned before, lungeing is a wonderful tool but it can be abused.  If the colt is lungeing for one to two hours before a class then you have lost all of the excitement in the job for him.  Some colts have a lot of energy and take a long time to settle down but remember if your legs are tired of going in circles so are his.

Long walking is such a great way to gain your coltís trust and teach him timing and rhythm as you walk.  When you walk a colt around the farm or arena use the time to talk to him and tell him what they see.  Let him go up to something that is scary, you touch it and tell him it is O.K.   Remember you are his protector and he wants to hear your soothing words to remind him of this. 

In The Show Ring

Yearlings are very similar to the weanlings however they look around more and sometimes they are much more afraid than a weanling.  For some reason things are much bigger and scarier to them.

Always present your colt and never, never stop showing him while you are in the ring.  Walking in a big arena can be very tiring because you are putting all your efforts into the class. Keep encouraging the colt to keep his ears forward and keep a long motion in his stride. At the line up donít hurry the park out, take time to set him up to look his best.  Most judges will be patient or come back.  Be sure to thank the judge if he extends this courtesy to you.

When the judgeís cards are in be sure to praise your colt for a job well done.

MODEL AND IN-HAND HORSES

Model and In-Hand horses are trained in the very same way as weanlings and yearlings.  Model horses are not judged on movement, rather they are judged on conformation. The idea when showing in a model class is to present your horse to the judge with poise and grace.  As you enter the ring, the ringmaster will instruct you where to lineup, usually head to tail.  As soon as you are in the ring set your horse up or park him out and begin showing.  After the judge has evaluated your horse praise him for a good job but remember that judges frequently look back at horses in the class when comparing one to another so NEVER STOP SHOWING until the cards have been turned in. 

When parking a model horse you want a nice wide stance in the hindquarters. The knees and hooves should be forward standing under the shoulders.  Do not allow the front legs to get out too far in front which causes your horse to become sway backed or rear high. The head should come straight out of the shoulder arching to the poll with ears forward and paying attention.

The two most important considerations for a judge in a model class are the proportion of the body and the design of the legs.  The ultimate model horse can be split into thirds which means that everything in front of the withers, the back and everything behind the hip bones should separate into three equal parts when viewed from the side.  The distance between the front and back legs should be twice as long as the back.

The legs should be long and graceful with short cannon bones. The fetlock joints should be medium--neither long nor short and the legs should appear to be straight from top to bottom. The back inside of the leg should have a round appearance matching the contour of the hip. The hip should be long and deep sloping towards the ground. The front leg should have a forward appearance on the body with the bone between the shoulder and elbow being short. When looking at the buttocks from the rear it should be wider at the top of the thigh muscle than at the hipbone. The front hooves should be longer than the rear hooves and wider at the bottom than at the coronet band.  The chest should be medium wide but carry good muscle at the shoulder.

The head and neck should be pretty and represent the sex of the animal in appearance. The throatlatch should be moderately thin and the horse should have wide set eyes. Wide jawbones are desirable; you should be able to place your fist between the jawbones. The ears on a stallion should be much smaller than a mare or gelding.  The headset should be medium to high. 

A mare or gelding should have a general appearance of pride, elegance and grace.  A stallion should appear to be slightly cocky. The horse should stand with his back supported in a position of strength. 

Major Flaws in Model Horses

A judge will consider and count you down for:

         A swayed back or dropped belly

         A stallion that does not have two testicles

         Teeth that do not meet in correct alignment

         Club feet or dished feet

         Excessive angulation of the hock joints, i.e. a horse that is cow hocked or sickle hocked

         Short neck

         Pig or small eyes

         Protruding nasal bone when the head is viewed from the side, ie a Roman nose

         Long tails that interfere with the horseís performance in the class

 

 In-Hand Classes

In-Hand Classes are judged based upon 50% movement and 50% conformation.  The ultimate In-Hand horse is loose and long striding with a headshake.  His head should not be lower than the withers. Keep your reins loose so that he can move freely beside you.  In open breed shows some judges will ask you to gait your horse or move up to a faster walk to see if he four beat walks, paces or trots.  Be sure you are ready for this request because it can win or lose the class for you.  No matter how well your horse slow walks they must be able to move up and keep walking. 

A Word About Grooming

Preparation before the class is as important as what goes on during the class.  Clean and neat is where it is at!  Your horse should be bathed.  The mane and tail should be combed, shiny and soft.  We usually apply Show Sheen to the coat while it is still wet.  The face (including the muzzle and jaw line), bridle path and ears should be clipped.  The same goes for the backs of the legs and the coronet band.  Your braids should be fresh and clean.  Apply hoof polish, clear or black if you prefer.  To define the facial features there is a product called Ultra Clear Highlight.  Just before entering the show ring apply it sparingly to the muzzle, lightly around the eyes and the inside of ears.  The halter and matching leather lead should be clean and leather of good quality.  The halter should have a brow band and throat latch.  

One Final Comment

I hope they have helped you to better understand all the hard work that goes into preparing weanlings, yearlings and model horses for the show ring.  Most people think they are very easy classes but the reality is that they can be just as hard work as the riding classes.