PostHeaderIcon Cisco Futurity -What the Heck Am I Studying to Be?

Cisco is destined to be a versatility horse because that is what I love best in the show world.  Cisco has the latent talent to be a performance horse. I also show in certain classes in the Ranch Horse Events.  I can show at the Kansas City Pony Express shows in the “rail” classes.  People have asked…what are versatility, performance and ranch horse show events?  I’m here to tell you the great opportunities we have in the fox trotter horse shows.  I’m not getting into a discussion of all the events there are in trail riding like the ACTHA and NATRAC events which feature trail riding, endurance and obstacle negotiation.

Versatility is

English Pleasure (not for me)  I would have to be forced into an English saddle for many lessons.  I would also have to buy an English saddle of some kind and then learn to love it.  cry
Western Pleasure  - all three gaits, smooth and comfortable
Reining -my favorite…canter fast, canter slow, slide stop, turns, spins….  oh feel my heart beat with love especially over the words, lead change!  If I could do a flying lead change on Cisco, I would trade off my husband.  That’s not unreasonable is it…  a husband in exchange for a flying lead change?
Showmanship –  part of the points toward Versatility World Grand Champion.  I have to suffer in this class.  In my mind, if you are not riding a horse in a class, it’s not fun.  Showmanship is leading a horse in a pattern with flat foot walk and fox trot gaits, turning on the hindquarters and setting up a horse so the judge can see all four corners of the horse without the handler being in the way.  The horse must shine and be faultlessly groomed.  The handler should look pretty darn good too.
Western Horsemanship – pattern showing precision and finesse of riding in all three gaits
Trail – finesse and control of every part of the horse’s body, all four feet and all the gaits with many obstacles to negotiate
Pole Bending  - my need is slow just for fun
Barrel Racing – my need is slow just for fun

Ranch Horse Events are

Ranch Horse Conformation – Is horse well balanced and  muscalarly able to rope a steer (that last part is my own definition).  You ride in and perform two gaits, get off, take off the saddle, be inspected by the judge, put the saddle on and get your ribbon if placed!
Ranch Horse Versatility – it’s a trail class and reining pattern combined
Ranch Horse Roping  …nope
Ranch Horse Cutting…maybe

Performance Classes

Horses show two or three gaits on the rail.  The horse showing the best gaits in a consistent manner are the winners.  Gaits are flat foot walk, fox trot and canter.  All fox trotter classes have flat foot walk and fox trot requirements.  Some classes also require the canter.  Classes are group according to horse age, rider classification (novice, amateur, open), rider gender, horse gender and rider age (for the senior citizen class).

So the upshot is that the performance class horses have to be expert in the consistency of the correct gait going both ways on the rail.  Easy to say, but gait correctness, precision and consistency are the key words.

The versatility horses have to be trained in moving all parts of the body (hindquarter turns, forequarter turns and side passing), moving each foot, immediate response to gait changes and immediate response to stopping.  Versatility horses have to stop or change gaits in one or two steps.  They have to navigate objects.  They have to canter. They do lead changes and slide stops (reining and Western Horsemanship).  Versatility horses must negotiate the patterns and obstacles with the correct signature gaits which  nearly always include the canter.  Versatility people have to train their mind to memorize complicated patterns.  I always said if I can do the versatility patterns, it proves I’m not suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

Ranch horses have to be trained to understand their object is a cow.  They must stop and turn, run fast etc…as they cut or herd or rope a cow.  But we do have the Ranch Horse Versatility class which is a combination of reining and trail class.  I do show in that!

I love the versatility, but occasionally I long for the peace of mind to ride the rail and concentrate on the precision and consistency of the signature gaits instead of the concentration needed for riding patterns.

I started this blog to tell you how my first lessons have been with Cisco, but this is what you got instead!  Lessons with Cisco are focused on developing all the above.

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