Haley Franc and Jacs Shy Boy—January 25, 2013
From: Guest Judges Tom McCutcheon and Tim McQuay
Overall we agree that you do an excellent job and are impressed with your presentation in the show pen. You present a good picture, fit your horse well, and seem to be a good match in terms of experience. We are particularly impressed with your patience, taking time during back up and standing in between spins. When your horse wants to look around and not focus, you wait until you have his attention and then ask to spin to the right. This is very smart. Circles in both directions were done well. Although hard to tell from the video, if we were to be nit-picky, it looks like the right circle missed the middle a bit. You had good stops but would like to see them be a little smoother. A stronger “Woah” before going to the bit should help with this. Try giving your horse a little more time before asking him to roll back as well. We also appreciate your great horsemanship, giving your horse a nice pat as a reward for a job well done!
From: Guest Judge Kristin DeLibero
I like the initial look of the presentation. That is important to have that all turned out look or polish if you will, so you have the overall picture. The color and outfit choice for that is perfect and your horse is turned out and conditioned great.
For your initial lope off departure and as you lope into the ring for your entry you have your left shoulder back and the right shoulder is leading by a lot which is causing a shift or twist in your body. To have a great straight line you must ride your horse straight with your body, especially your hips and shoulders. Bringing your right shoulder back and left shoulder forward will help to adjust the twist as well as allow to keep your hips in alignment as well. This will allow for a straighter line with no greater ease to you as the rider so you are not “fighting” your own body if you are pushing the horse crooked. Think shoulders are always square and straight with your hip square and straight when riding a straight line. I know the hold of the free arm is all personal preference, but my personal preference is to see your arm open not hugging around your body. I think it gives a tighter appearance, especially from a distance such as across the arena. With the twist in your body it is allowing your left shoulder to get behind your body. You don’t want your shoulder to get behind your hip you want hip, shoulder and heel alignment so by bringing that left shoulder slightly forward and right shoulder slightly back you are putting your body into a balanced alignment or a centered position.
For your stop I would like to see you soften through your back and not stiffen in your back and lean back. We don’t want to pull or force our horse to stop, so think soften and slightly round through your back to allow yourself to soften through your stop not stiffen and lean back.
Remember even shoulder and hip through the back and that helps to keep our horse straight as well as softer in their body. I would like to see a little more supple and lighter back. I am not so much worried about the speed being a slower back, but that your horse appears slightly heavy to the back. A soft back is light and moves off light pressure with a softening response to the aids. So I would like to see your horse sit back and soften when you back as well as lighten in the body for a little more responsive, and yes a slightly quicker, back.
As you begin your spin to the right your horse is distracted and looking to the left so you try to begin your spin with your horse counter bent and stiffened to the outside. That never makes for a nice fluid step out transition into your turn. Look up and into the direction you are going to go before you ask or make a movement with your aids. Look up and over to the right which allows a slight shift in your shoulder and seat to cue your horse you are going to turn right. Through both the spins I would like to see you stay a little quieter in your seat you don’t have a lot of movement, think tighter and secure.
For your lope off transition I felt like your horse was not responding and a little heavy on the leg for the lope off. I also want to see you bring your leg back slightly under you and keep your shoulders back over your hip as you ask for your lope off. Use more hip and seat to help encourage your horse to move up and forward not your upper body. Think push your horse forward not lean forward. For the large fast circle you have a nice look, but again be aware of how much upper body you are using to encourage your horse forward. Hand up and forward is great, with a slight shift just in front of the body but when you get to out of the saddle and up in front of your horse and body you actually loose the ability to push your horse forward. Still staying deep in your seat and push with a slight forward with upper body and hand/arm up and forward. To forward takes away from your ability to be effective with your body and balanced. Close your left elbow so you are tighter against your body with less elbow and arm movement. As you adjust your upper body be aware of your inside right shoulder dropping and leading which leads to a twist, as well as encourages your horse to lean and drop onto the inside shoulder and appear heavy.
Nice slow circle and transition. Think tight through your abdominals and lift through chest to bring shoulders back, but the twist is very evident through that transition. Lift, tighten and soften but with the least amount of movement or cues you can. Keeping your shoulders even and elbow in will help adjust that transition as well.
Your horse has a great rundown and slide! With the adjustments and shifts to your body position and upper body it will help keep your rundown straight and help your slide quality as well. Think about concentrating on your upper body and shoulder position and your fine tuning or polish will be there. I really enjoyed watching your ride!! Keep up all the great work!!!