Pro Tips

Showmanship – Perfecting Your Position and Achieving an Accurate Set Up
By Valerie Kearns

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Multiple World Champion Trainer Valerie Kearns shares tips to improving your Showmanship score

One of the best things about Showmanship at Halter is that any level of horse and exhibitor can compete and be competitive.  It also creates a bond between you and your horse that carries over to every class you do.  Showmanship is your chance to connect with the judges and let your personality come out.  Let the judges see that you love what you are doing and that you have put in the work to be successful with your horse.

The first step to improving your showmanship score is to read the AQHA rulebook.  You should know exactly how the class is judged and what the judge is looking for.  The rulebook is a great tool to use for any class you compete in.   The rulebook clearly explains the correct showmanship position.  Make sure you are in the correct position before you ask your horse to execute a maneuver.  You should remain in the position required for that element.  This means that you should be in the correct position before and after the maneuver.  Only once the maneuver is complete do you move to the correct position for the next maneuver.

The set up is the easiest way to raise or lower your showmanship score.  Your horse should set up the same way you would set up for Halter.  It is critical that your horse is set up squarely.  You will earn the highest score with a set up that places your horse perfectly square in a minimal amount of time.  The accuracy of the set up is more important than the amount of time it takes you to set up.  The more that you practice with your horse the better you will become.   You don’t have to be practicing showmanship to work the set up.  You can practice it any time you are with your horse by setting it up every time you stop.  Put your body in the right position and ask your horse to place their feet square at every opportunity and before you know it you’ll raise your showmanship score!


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