A couple weeks ago I mentioned how excited I was about Pinto World Show coming up, and I was happy to sneak away from the ranch for a day and sit in the bleachers at the Tulsa Expo Center and watch a little.
I planned my trip around the ranch riding classes, because I wanted to get an idea of what I was up against if I happened to decide to show there next year. The Tulsa Expo Center is a huge landscape of horse stall mazes, lunging rings, warm up rings, and concessions. I had to look at my map several times to find the right arena. But you can be sure I strode around staring at the horses, the stall setups, the clothes, the fried food, and the big rigs unabashedly. One must know what she’s up against, correct?
I like many aspects of the Pinto Horse Association, one being that anyone can show at the World Championships. The AQHA World Show, on the other hand, requires you to have a certain number of points in each class you plan to show in, which requires more time and more expense to even get there in the first place…
I got there a little early and had to sit through some, uh, different halter classes. I’m just not personally into this look, but to each their own!
And then I waited for a realllllllyyyyy long time for the ranch riding classes to start. They had to drag, and then set-up the pattern. I read a book while I waited, and it has been enthralling. Consuming. I’ll tell you about it later.
They used AQHA pattern four for all classes, which conveniently was the SAME class I videoed myself riding for the trainer. Ha! There were four classes in all:
- Open Ranch Riding
- Open Ranch Riding, Solid Horse
- Amateur Ranch Riding
- Amateur Ranch Riding, Solid Horse
The Solid Horse classes I planned on paying special attention to, since my horses have zero white. I’m really glad I went, because the ranch riding classes were night-and-day, compared to the AQHA ranch riding classes I’ve watched in the past. Here is what I learned:
- Many pinto competitors consider themselves all-arounds, so ranch riding horses are seldom specifically ranch riding horses. Instead, they are also HUS horses, Western Pleasure horses, etc.
- Because of #1, the “ranchy-looking” horses, with lots of forward movement, stand out. In a good way.
- Also because of #1, most horses in the pinto ranch classes have pulled manes and trimmed faces and feet. Big no-no in AQHA…
- Many competitors didn’t use a “ranchy” saddle, but a general rough-out training saddle. Also a big no-no in AQHA…
- Simple lead changes were completely acceptable! Yay! In fact, the champion horse used a simple change, instead of a flying lead change.
- Turns on the haunches were nooootttttt great. I mean, how can you expect a pleasure horse to perform a quick and precise spin? Ain’t gonna happen.
- This was a huge arena, so knowing your pattern well-enough to get the most use out of the arena was key.
- Expression, attitude, confidence. They pay in dividends.
The winner of this class was the horse all the way to the right. Short, stocky little horse with good forward motion. No bells or whistles, just an excellent ranch-type horse!
I believe, in my heart of hearts, that if I found the courage and time to prepare for next year’s Pinto World Show, Hot Rod and I could be competitive. He is as good, if not better, than most of those horses. Whoop whoop! And bonus, after seeing all the different show clothes, I decided exactly what my dream show outfit would be. The denim shirt paired with nice chocolate brown chaps is a gorgeous color-combination. And the plus side is, I could use any color saddle pad I wanted and it would look great.