one down, three to go

The show season is well underway for many, while others are just getting started. Like Brad.

Cierra has been very looky in the show ring, especially at the main venue. 
She is getting noticeably better, but it is still obvious. Therefore, Brad's trainer wants her to get more show exposure. Brad had made the decision early on to do the same four shows he did last year, and no more. His priority this year is getting our house & barn built. There were other things out of our control that went on for months, and he didn't feel ready for an early start. He simply didn't get enough training time in the saddle.

His trainer took Cierra to an early AQHA show and showed her in three Ranch Classes: Pleasure/Trail/Conformation. We went to watch, and helped care for Cierra. I tried to talk Brad into at least showing her in Conformation, but he wouldn't budge. She came home with a few halter points, and the circuit champ conformation award. It's really nice, but not as meaningful if the classes were larger and Brad had showed his pretty girl. 

Cierra's circuit award
Cierra's second show was in Minnesota. We trucked up to watch the ranch riding classes. It was the only ranch they offered. I don't recall the placings, but it wasn't noteworthy.

One year ago, Brad made his AQHA show debut. I remember he was so nervous you couldn't even talk to him. He didn't remember a thing about his rides and showed Cierra in Conformation for the first time, with zero prep. Surprise! But he did it. 

Fast forward to his first show of this season - at the same venue. What a difference a year makes!! He still has some nerves, but manageable, and is doing flying lead changes. Although Brad's rides weren't perfect and he has things to work on, he also has much to be proud of. Including two first places in Ranch Riding (out of 9 entries) and two firsts in Conformation. They have already qualified for the World Show.

The video above is of his first place ride. You'll notice some transitions need work, and a pole clunk - but don't blink or you'll miss the lead change :)) Speaking of missing, I didn't catch the very beginning, and the end of the pattern (they walk, and back). Everyone watching cheered loudly. I was very happy for him, they've come a long way.

The second set of judges were not Ranch judges, they were Western Pleasure judges. Suddenly the Pleasure horses started winning everything, and all the true extended ranch horses were bringing up the bottom. Go figure. It's far from all about winning, but that was ridiculous.

Any new readers wondering why I don't have photos of Brad showing, it's against AQHA rules. Altho other people do it. I can't. The show photographer who shoots all the shows, got her undies in a bundle last year and complained. Now I get written permission every year from the local organization, just to take photos of my husband and horse during non judged times (insert eye roll). Whatever, I like to keep the peace.

Cierra's trail classes have left something to be desired. Needless to say, they've switched lessons to include trail work. Thank goodness we can finally ride outside, most of the time! 


Shirley said...

Well done Brad! And no, I didn't miss the lead change- very smooth. My friend Shayla shows in ranch riding at open shows with her half arab, so I knew what to watch for from seeing her videos. Congrats on qualifying for the World Show! Hope he goes.

Grey Horse Matters said...

Great accomplishment! Congratulations Brad. And I did see the lead change,nice. And eye roll here too,stupid rules about photography at shows. Love the last picture of Brad and Cierra walking away,I'd fare that one for the tack room.

Grey Horse Matters said...


Linda said...

Wow!! I had no idea they were riding at that level! It looked beautiful. I love Ranch and despise pleasure. But I rarely watch or go to shows. Actually, I lied--I never do. Lol. I saw a ranch competition on an actual ranch though. They had to haul butt across the pasture, through water, open and close a gate, pull a log, and jump a ditch. That was about 8 years ago and I haven't seen any since then. I thought about doing it with Leah though if I could ever get her to that level. I'm a long way off now, but there's hope, right?

aurora said...

Thanks you guys! Brad reads & also appreciates your comments. I only attend shows around the time when he shows. When not in the ring it's like watching paint dry. I have no desire to go and/or photograph them otherwise. He showed in 4H (youth) and now as an adult Brad is fulfilling his dream of competing at AQHA level. No interest in Open Shows, around here there are too many unschooled horses and incompetent riders. He may work up to the World Show some day? It's a whole different level.