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View Full Version : How to do well in an IHSA flat class?



*JumpIt*
Sep. 29, 2010, 01:04 AM
NA

SpicyMonarch
Sep. 29, 2010, 05:35 AM
It's fair to say that most judges at IHSA shows just want to see a perfectly positioned rider. Especially at the WTC level, they don't really care too much what the horse looks like. So as long as you're sitting pretty and he isn't going around like an absolute maniac, you're going to do pretty well.

They definitely prefer pretty over effective.But at the open level, they start to look for it all.

enjoytheride
Sep. 29, 2010, 06:16 AM
Whatever you do, try not to draw the 28yo morgan mare that comes with the instruction "don't get anywhere near any other horse or she'll attack."

Brush up on your sitting trot on any horse you can as some of the IHSA horses are really hard to sit.

theinstigator
Sep. 29, 2010, 06:59 AM
Make sure your boots are shiny, your clothes are clean and pressed, gloves on, hair tucked in, and have fun :)

It's really hit and miss with IHSA. Get your diagonals, try to get your leads (although I once won an intermediate flat class with a horse that apparently couldn't canter on the left lead) and relax. And hope you don't draw the one I drew at my final IHSA show--he was a three year old barely broke Shetland/QH cross. By the time I rode him he had been in 5-6 classes and no one could get him to move. I mean he walked in, halted, and wouldn't move other than to buck straight up in the air. I got him to trot and pick up the canter once I think. Poor guy!

Oh the memories. :)

Buglet
Sep. 29, 2010, 08:06 AM
Good Luck and have fun!!!! My started out in that same division. I agree with the others have said. Keep in mind that the judges will know that you are riding an unfamiliar horse. Try not too look nervous and stiff. Make sure you are looking forward and not down at your horse.

netg
Sep. 29, 2010, 08:56 AM
Practice quickly feeling if stirrups are the correct length for you and if they are even.

I've seen all the preparation and practice in the world go out the window for riders who get on, let someone else adjust their stirrups, and partway through their ride realize they either have to point their toes to post or are about to launch themselves over the horse's head because their stirrups are too short.


Read the notes on the sheet, watch other people ride your horse first (checking out the warmup rides can be especially helpful, as those are the people who know the horse), listen to any advice handlers try to give you, etc. But just think about getting on and riding. If your position has been worked on enough, you'll get in there and think about the horse and watching where you're going and should do great. Good luck!

Tap2Tango
Sep. 29, 2010, 09:07 AM
Not to hijack the thread but anytips for the O/F class?

*Jumpit* What show will you be at?

caradino
Sep. 29, 2010, 09:31 AM
IHSA flat classes were my favorite thing!!

one of the most important things to do is WATCH YOUR HORSE GO. watch it school. watch other riders show it. stalk the people who rode it and talk to them about how the horse goes. hopefully you will have ridden many different types of horses in your lessons, and can formulate a plan about how to best ride your draw.

then get on and equitate like your life depends on it. take the time to set up your transitions so they are smooth and quiet, don't rush into a transition like it's a race, try and make sure your horse is as balanced as possible and get all your leads/diagonals. don't let yourself get bunched in a crowd.

overall, the judges want to see correct position. sit tall, eyes up, straight back, long leg, heel down, quiet hands, quiet seat. good control and balanced transitions. if you can do that AND make your horse go better than anyone that's been on it that day, bonus points. even if your horse is naughty, if you handle it well and stay secure in your position, you can still pin well.

one last thing, if the judge is standing on the rail, PLEASE COME OFF THE TRACK WHEN YOU PASS THEM! judges #1 don't like to get run over, and #2 cannot see you if you are right on top of them. ride the quarter line on that side and take the opportunity to show off your lovely equitation!

HAVE FUN!! IHSA is so much fun, i have really fond memories of showing in college. :)

danceronice
Sep. 29, 2010, 09:41 AM
Whatever you do, try not to draw the 28yo morgan mare that comes with the instruction "don't get anywhere near any other horse or she'll attack."

Brush up on your sitting trot on any horse you can as some of the IHSA horses are really hard to sit.

Or the bitchy tired mare who's been ridden all day and decides that first canter request means "spin on your haunches and run for the gate." (I didn't come off, but it didn't do much for our score.)

caffeinated
Sep. 29, 2010, 10:12 AM
One of the things that won me a lot of IHSA flat classes (hahah! That's my claim to fame! heheheee) was really just going in and acting like I was having a good time. Not smiling like a crazy person, but looking confident, relaxed, and like I was enjoying myself.

Position helps, of course. But seriously, go in the ring like you know it's all going to be great, keep your eyes up, don't worry so much about the horse is going, and have a good time.

I would also recommend getting a good walk. Don't piddle around when you're waiting for the class to get rolling, find out as much as you can about your horse in a short amount of time - is he sensitive to leg, is he somewhat rough, is he forward going - you can figure that out at the walk, and when you go in the ring, a forward, marching, "together" walk will reflect well on you :)

Also, it pays to get good at finding your place in the ring and staying by yourself as much as possible. Be proactive in avoiding traffic jams :)

Sheila
Sep. 29, 2010, 10:19 AM
Lots of great advise already posted especially about finding the horse ahead of time and watching it go in a class before you or in warm up. You will have to ask your coach where the "horse list" is posted which lists each class and what horses are in which classes. And about your stirrup length. I always said, if other students are helping you adjust the stirrups, the rider is still ultimately responsible for the length so make sure you check them. Stirrup length is very individual and the person helping you may not know you ride better one hole longer or shorter, but YOU do. And I highly recommend being ready for your class an entire divsion before your class. That way, you have a better chance seeing your horse go in a class beforehand (but, check horse list), than missing him because you were getting dressed. And, you won't feel rushed.

During your class, try to focus ahead- pick a point on the far wall to focus on, that will help you pay attention to traffic or naughty horse and keep you from looking down. Also, the Adv WTC can be quite competitive and a "hands wide and low" position can put you out of the ribbons. Think about pushing your hands "forward" rather than "down". If you are a rider who is trying to get a frame and has used hands wide and low to do that- try to keep yourself from doing that :) but, if you feel like the horse will frame with some half halts, or a little wider hand, try to do it discreetly.

You are a freshman in her first class- "proving my skills and value to the team" seems like you are putting alot of pressure on your self.

Just try to stay by yourself and make sure you have a positive attitude- if you are the 10th person to ride that horse, he may need a good pat before and after the class.

Have fun!

SquirrellyBred
Sep. 29, 2010, 10:28 AM
All good advice so far! Play close attention to the horse cheat sheet and ask the handler for any tips they may have. Sometimes the draw will happen early enough that you'll know which horse you're riding when watching warm up, but if not you'll want to talk to people in the know. Ask for any particular likes/dislikes - as in hates to pick up left lead, or likes really light aids or she may buck through the transition, etc. If the judge sees a horse blowing the left lead transition all day, but you're able to really set them up and nail the lead...voila! Higher placing.

Aim to put together the smoothest ride you can, and equitate the hell out of it! A tip for keeping your eyes up and back flat - it's important in any flat class to look where you're going, but extra important when people are riding unfamiliar horses because you never know what sort of madness could happen just in front of you with an IHSA class.

Does your team keep any notes on judges? Since we often had the same pool of judges year after year, we kept a record of what each judge seemed to prefer: stickler for lower leg position, wants to really see you ride forward into contact (or show that you are attempting to), etc.

Good luck and have fun! I LOVED IHSA flat classes. Jumping classes made me a nervous wreck though.

Tucket
Sep. 29, 2010, 10:39 AM
best advice I have... don't think so much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Riding is a "feel" sport, ride the horse you draw to the best of IT'S ability, don't try and make it something it's not (you will just get frustrated), don't worry so much about your position (you will just get tense), and if diagonals are a worry, look at your coach as soon as you start to post trot (a simple thumbs up or down is a great tell tale if you are too novice or nervous to feel them)

It's good to be a "thinking" rider, use those skills over fences, walk your lines, your angles, etc and execute your plan with adjustable and productive thought processes. In an under saddle though just ride the horse given to you, the rest will all work out.

I always use this philosophy and encouraged the girls on my team to as well. As a former team captain and open rider. I won 5 of my 7 U/S classes last year including winning one on a broken ankle (a 4 day old injury) where it was impossible to put my heel down and was riding in one field boot and one obviously oversized half chap. The judge didn't give a rip that I didn't over flex at the heal or my turnout wasn't up to snuff on the right. I simply rode the horse.

flopsaut
Sep. 29, 2010, 12:01 PM
Always be on the alert in a crowded IHSA flat class, because seriously some of those people don't know *what* they're doing. I did the open division in college (at the college I went to for a semester that actually had a team) and though that was supposed to be the most advanced level there would be riders who couldn't control their horses in the flat classes. I'm sure this could be even more true at the w/t/c level. It could get scary sometimes, with 30 going in a ring. I remember winning an enormous class where, at the canter, someone's horse started freaking out/bolting and I was just like, okay, I'm coming back to the walk before this gets really ugly. Just keep your wits about you and be aware of what's going on in the ring (in addition to all the other good advice given!)

Thanatos
Sep. 29, 2010, 12:03 PM
Everyone else has already offered some great advice. My other piece of advice in the flat class (and O/F) is to not worry too much about the horse you draw. If you draw the draft cross that makes you look like a midget, walk in the ring like you hadn't even noticed. If you draw the western pleasure horse that wants to go with her head to her knees, you just sit up there and ride like she's the fanciest eq horse you ever rode. I was always either 1st or 2nd on the flat and just went out and rode confidently on every mount. I went right back to basics, like someone else said: smooth, even transitions, soft and consistent each way.

O/F, don't try to be a super star. You're riding an unfamiliar horse: go out and find 8 decent distances. Not perfect, decent. If the perfect one rolls up, great. If not, work on being able to add up or jump from the gap (not flying on the winger!!!!!) comfortably and effectively on many different horses. I once won an O/F class on a horse that was a retired jumper and went at the speed of freaking light, but I stayed soft and balanced and even though we were quick, we were consistent. I jumped her in off a slight gap to each line and then I could have her back up to jump out. I also discovered that if I rode one that didn't have a change, the judges much preferred to see me do a well-thought out and executed simple change with a trot step.

sptraining
Sep. 29, 2010, 12:52 PM
Just in general in IHSA, watch the horse go with different riders. Is he quick? Does he get annoyed if people sit on him? Does he require a lot of leg? One lead easier than the other? Difficult or easy to stop? etc,etc. Each rider brings out a different side of the horse so try to figure out what works for the horse and try to do that.

For the flat, pose pretty. Heel deep, eyes up, back straight, hands quiet. I would always try to get the horse in a frame but that's because I hate trying to sit a trot with the horse's nose in the air. At the wtc level though, I wouldn't worry about the frame part.

For over fences, try not to get in the horse's way. Figure out how to "mask" what's going on and just go with the flow. Don't pick at the horse. Just try to find a rhythm and stick with it. That will help you find your distances too.

And...it always feels worse than it looks so video is good if you can get it.

Stay on and have fun! :D

HenryisBlaisin'
Sep. 29, 2010, 12:57 PM
It's been a long time since my ISHA days, but my best advice is look at any information the host school gives about horses. There should be a board that says if each horse needs a crop or if yuo should never carry one on a certain horse. If it says carry a crop, carry one, and if it's not necessary leave it on your van so it won't get lost. The host school should also be warning about horses that kick, and these should have red ribbons as well!

Watch the horses being schooled so you get some idea of how its gaits are. Remember that the rides may be green and so may some of the horses, though schools do try to put horses in appropriate classes.

During your class, be aware of all that is going on around you! One school we showed at often used their horses for polocrosse which had given them some bad habits, like kicking when crowded. Depending on the venue, some rings are ALWAYS crowded!

Meadow36
Sep. 29, 2010, 01:08 PM
Practice dropping and picking up your irons. Be able to get your diagonals without looking. Keep your eyes up and sit up really tall. Put some Sporty Haaft spray (sticky stuff) on the inside of your boots. Kick your heel out of the bottom of your boots so it looks like you are really pushing them way down. If you can put your horse in a frame, that is money. If the horse clearly hasn't done that before and is fighting, then don't worry about it. Keep a decent contact and don't loop your reins.

You have a few minutes when you first get on where you are allowed to walk in circles before the class starts. Make sure your irons are even and use these precious moments to figure out what your horse knows - does he bend, take contact, frame up, halt, back, etc. Try to watch your horse go earlier in the day. Check your girth (seems stupid, but you never know if the last person on that horse loosened it).

Nationals were a blast - they were in Los Angeles the year that I qualified. It was soooooooo much fun. At nationals, most of the trot work was sitting.

During regionals I actually had to counter canter as part of a ride off tie breaker.

sptraining
Sep. 29, 2010, 01:18 PM
Put some Sporty Haaft spray (sticky stuff) on the inside of your boots.

I've been out of it for a couple years, but they wouldn't let us use tacky stuff for boots. Did they change the rules?

DuffyAgain
Sep. 29, 2010, 01:20 PM
Sticky spray (or roll on) not allowed in IHSA.

monstrpony
Sep. 29, 2010, 01:39 PM
I would also recommend getting a good walk. Don't piddle around when you're waiting for the class to get rolling, find out as much as you can about your horse in a short amount of time - is he sensitive to leg, is he somewhat rough, is he forward going - you can figure that out at the walk, and when you go in the ring, a forward, marching, "together" walk will reflect well on you :)

Also, it pays to get good at finding your place in the ring and staying by yourself as much as possible. Be proactive in avoiding traffic jams :)

No wonder caffeinated won a lot of IHSA flat classes! I've seen more classes lost by people who didn't do these two things. Think about it; you're riding a schoolie who knows more about catch riding than your coach and your entire team put together. How do you think he's going to size you up? I've seen so many of these horses size up a rider and have their class plan set before they've cleared the mounting block. Granted, you're not supposed to "do" anything with the horse before you enter the ring, but you can make it clear to the horse that you are a rider and not just a passenger, just in a free walk.

Meadow36
Sep. 29, 2010, 02:06 PM
Hmmm well I rode in the IHSA ten years ago, so I guess the rules have changed about the sticky stuff.

c'est moi
Sep. 29, 2010, 02:30 PM
Assuming you don't draw a totally nutty horse and your Eq is already very good, I think you'll find that what really seperates Advanced W/T/C riders (and sometimes the riders in all levels) is the quality of the walk and transtitions. If you can produced a nice forward walk and have smooth transtions (and of course do everything else correctly :)) you should do well.

Oh and I agree with whoever mentioned that you need to find your own space. I'm often crisscrossing the arena to get away from other girls in my IHSA flat classes!

To the MAX
Sep. 29, 2010, 02:32 PM
Have fun! Everyone has pretty much covered everything else.
What zone and region are you in?

Sheila
Sep. 29, 2010, 02:39 PM
Practice dropping and picking up your irons. Be able to get your diagonals without looking. Keep your eyes up and sit up really tall. Put some Sporty Haaft spray (sticky stuff) on the inside of your boots. Kick your heel out of the bottom of your boots so it looks like you are really pushing them way down. If you can put your horse in a frame, that is money. If the horse clearly hasn't done that before and is fighting, then don't worry about it. Keep a decent contact and don't loop your reins.

You have a few minutes when you first get on where you are allowed to walk in circles before the class starts. Make sure your irons are even and use these precious moments to figure out what your horse knows - does he bend, take contact, frame up, halt, back, etc. Try to watch your horse go earlier in the day. Check your girth (seems stupid, but you never know if the last person on that horse loosened it).

Nationals were a blast - they were in Los Angeles the year that I qualified. It was soooooooo much fun. At nationals, most of the trot work was sitting.

During regionals I actually had to counter canter as part of a ride off tie breaker.

Better check with your coach- Bending, backing up and framing before a class can be cause for elimination- some Regions don't mind it if you are in the ring walking before the class starts- but outside of the ring, in some Regions, its a No- no- Like using your stick on the horse before the class starts. \
Also- MANY regions do not allow you to tighten the girths-You have to ask a steward or the horse holder.
Also- No sticky stuff or saddle tight in some regions- if they borow saddles, someowners do not appreciate that all over them when they are returned. I know it was a rule in our Zone. If you need saddle tight, you should not be riding a strange horse- stay home and take more lessons.

Renn/aissance
Sep. 29, 2010, 02:54 PM
Practice the fundamentals of good position- weight in your heel, leg around the horse, angle in your elbows, sit up straight and tall, eyes up. Remember to demonstrate a good working walk (sometimes easier said than done on Saint Old Man Pony who's already done five classes and would rather be eating hay) and a good sitting trot will only help you.

Dramapony_misty
Sep. 29, 2010, 03:08 PM
Sticky stuff and saddle tite is the devil when it comes to ISHA and you just may be murdered by the host school if you are found to have used it on one of their saddles/horses.

We had one very sweet, talented, and valuable EQ horse at our barn when I was there who had very thin sensitive skin. His flanks were hairless, swollen, and bleeding at the end of one show because one of the teams decided they were above the rules and used sticky stuff. It took him a full week to totally heal and even longer for the hair to grow back in.

Lazy Palomino Hunter
Sep. 29, 2010, 03:10 PM
I won a lot on the flat in IHSA. Pointed out of Novice flat in well under a season, spent an entire regular season undefeated in Intermediate flat, made it to Zones as an individual in both Novice and Intermediate flat, and pinned third in Intermediate flat at Nationals.

Lots of people have good equitation. You have to do a little more to be "the" winner.

1. Clothes that are clean and fit well. Seriously. You don't need to own the most expensive everything, but it is important that your clothes are well tailored and fit the way they're supposed to. A good first impression is priceless.

2. Ride like you want to win. Ride forward (straight off the bat, too- BIG MARCHING walk into the ring). Keep solid (and obviously sympathetic) contact with your horse's mouth. Sit up tall. You should project that you've come to claim your blue, and that all the other riders just there to fill space.

3. Ride the ring. You don't have control over how long your legs are, or how comfortable your horse is... but you absolutely have control over where you are in the ring at any given moment. If things aren't going so well, try and blend in a little. If things are going well, show the judge!

a. Stay alone- you're not in short stirrup, there is no reason to ever get stuck in a pack. Circle, use the quarter line, cut/go deep in a corner... even if other riders in the class aren't good, there is plenty you can do to pro-actively steer clear of them.

b. Use the quarter line- if you're on the rail on the judge's side of the ring, it's really difficult for them to get a good look at you (since a lot of the time you're heading straight at them or straight away). Riding the quarter line gives you a chance to give the judge a good look at you.

hj0519
Sep. 29, 2010, 03:12 PM
Better check with your coach- Bending, backing up and framing before a class can be cause for elimination- some Regions don't mind it if you are in the ring walking before the class starts- but outside of the ring, in some Regions, its a No- no- Like using your stick on the horse before the class starts. \
Also- MANY regions do not allow you to tighten the girths-You have to ask a steward or the horse holder.
Also- No sticky stuff or saddle tight in some regions- if they borow saddles, someowners do not appreciate that all over them when they are returned. I know it was a rule in our Zone. If you need saddle tight, you should not be riding a strange horse- stay home and take more lessons.

I don't think we're even supposed to check the girths at all (at least in my region), from what I recall we always ask the horse holder to check and tighten the girth if necessary.

And yeah..definitely no sticky stuff on boots. At my regionals last year the riders that had been on a certain horse in the first few classes had to have their boots inspected because they thought they found sticky stuff on the horse's tack...

Sheila
Sep. 29, 2010, 03:14 PM
hj0519- I think you are correct :)

CR Gorge Girl
Sep. 29, 2010, 03:24 PM
I won a lot on the flat in IHSA. Pointed out of Novice flat in well under a season, spent an entire regular season undefeated in Intermediate flat, made it to Zones as an individual in both Novice and Intermediate flat, and pinned third in Intermediate flat at Nationals.

Lots of people have good equitation. You have to do a little more to be "the" winner.

1. Clothes that are clean and fit well. Seriously. You don't need to own the most expensive everything, but it is important that your clothes are well tailored and fit the way they're supposed to. A good first impression is priceless.

2. Ride like you want to win. Ride forward (straight off the bat, too- BIG MARCHING walk into the ring). Keep solid (and obviously sympathetic) contact with your horse's mouth. Sit up tall. You should project that you've come to claim your blue, and that all the other riders just there to fill space.

3. Ride the ring. You don't have control over how long your legs are, or how comfortable your horse is... but you absolutely have control over where you are in the ring at any given moment. If things aren't going so well, try and blend in a little. If things are going well, show the judge!

a. Stay alone- you're not in short stirrup, there is no reason to ever get stuck in a pack. Circle, use the quarter line, cut/go deep in a corner... even if other riders in the class aren't good, there is plenty you can do to pro-actively steer clear of them.

b. Use the quarter line- if you're on the rail on the judge's side of the ring, it's really difficult for them to get a good look at you (since a lot of the time you're heading straight at them or straight away). Riding the quarter line gives you a chance to give the judge a good look at you.

These are all excellent, but I want to stress the STAY OUT OF A PACK!! Seriously..a lot of people in IHSA have never shown before and have no concept of ring manners. It's defensive riding. I got caught in a pack, riding all by myself on the rail, and then the pack just engulfed me and my horse. Horse was NOT happy and broke gait because we also got cut off really bad, so sometimes there's nothing you can do about it other than just get focused on your horse and try to think of a way OUTTA there. And usually there's at least one rider who is REALLY bad about cutting people off, and try to spot her/him from the get go so you can try to avoid that rider.

I always try to be one of the first riders in the arena, and I'll do subtle things like seeing if the horse will move off your leg, if he gives to the bit at all, ect.. That way when the class starts I have some sort of clue whether or not he'll frame up, if he works off of legs..ect ect. It helps a lot. At the last show last year I drew a horse who did NOT go in a frame. I found that out during walk in, and then maintained contact but didn't attempt to frame him up and let him be. (He also spooked really bad, several times, at the mirror in the arena..but I just kept my cool and kept going), I won the class.

Good luck!! IHSA flat classes are great, you'll have fun.. Over fences on the other hand. :eek: lol.. haha, just kidding. Just depends on the horse you draw. :D

Sancudo
Sep. 29, 2010, 03:46 PM
Stay out of the pack is right!

I was also very competitive at Flat- but dressage is my first passion, so it was a no brainer. Sitting trot- I could let my horse swing while everyone jog trotted, so do a lot of sitting trot.

Also, I tried to make the horse look a little bit better with me on it, than the judge had seen from other riders. With most of the horses, a little leg to hand and good timing with subtle half halts had the horse over it's back, into the bit, and traveling straight, when they'd been moseying around all day.

supershorty628
Sep. 29, 2010, 03:52 PM
Practice your sitting trot as much as you can. I've drawn all types of horses for the flats and I've always been glad that I have a strong leg and core, as it keeps me still no matter what I'm on.

Make sure you space yourself away from the other riders. IHSA horses do a lot of work in a day and can get pretty cranky by the end; if you don't have to be sandwiched by other horses, don't.

This doesn't make a difference in judging, but always pat your horse when you're done, regardless of the ride you had. I got some nice comments from coaches and handlers because I always made sure to give the horse a pat or a scratch on the neck when I was done - just a nice way to say thank you to the horse.

As for the person who asked about the over fences... don't focus on numbers in the lines. You have no idea what you're going to be sitting on and numbers do not count in IHSA (except for combinations), so there is no reason to get married to a number. Go with your feel and make sure that when you start out, you have enough canter that you have options at the jump; if you are a little long or a little deep, you aren't going to die.*

*If you draw a horse where that might be the case, I suggest crossing your fingers and holding your breath while you go around. ;)

Good luck and have fun! IHSA can be a riot... just search back in my threads to see a trainwreck about a horse who lay down with me in the line up for one of my flats. It's a lot of fun though!

sptraining
Sep. 29, 2010, 03:59 PM
Good luck and have fun! IHSA can be a riot... just search back in my threads to see a trainwreck about a horse who lay down with me in the line up for one of my flats. It's a lot of fun though!

So many fun(ny) stories come out of IHSA...Could spend days talking about great and not-so-great experiences. :)

Never a dull moment...

RyuEquestrian
Sep. 29, 2010, 04:00 PM
I competed for Mount Holyoke in the Open division and was always told to:

1) Stay on the Quarter lines
2) cut the ring when/where necessary to get as many times in front of the judge
3) keep your pace forward to "show off" and stand out
4) Anticipate the next pace: After the walk is called after a trot, you know that canter is coming, position yourself in the ring appropriately and ensure the correct lead.
5)If no stirrups is required, always take the time to cross them- it makes your leg look longer and it decreases the chance that the horse will be banged on the sides- especially useful if your horse is sensitive
6) get into the middle of the ring for the line up early and centered.

kateh
Sep. 29, 2010, 04:01 PM
These are all excellent, but I want to stress the STAY OUT OF A PACK!! Seriously..a lot of people in IHSA have never shown before and have no concept of ring manners. It's defensive riding. I got caught in a pack, riding all by myself on the rail, and then the pack just engulfed me and my horse. Horse was NOT happy and broke gait because we also got cut off really bad, so sometimes there's nothing you can do about it other than just get focused on your horse and try to think of a way OUTTA there. And usually there's at least one rider who is REALLY bad about cutting people off, and try to spot her/him from the get go so you can try to avoid that rider.

I always try to be one of the first riders in the arena, and I'll do subtle things like seeing if the horse will move off your leg, if he gives to the bit at all, ect.. That way when the class starts I have some sort of clue whether or not he'll frame up, if he works off of legs..ect ect. It helps a lot. At the last show last year I drew a horse who did NOT go in a frame. I found that out during walk in, and then maintained contact but didn't attempt to frame him up and let him be. (He also spooked really bad, several times, at the mirror in the arena..but I just kept my cool and kept going), I won the class.

Those were going to be my 2 biggest comments-traffic and the "size up."

We have a saying at Pitt-STAY OUT OF THE AMOEBA! Especially below Novice I can guarantee there'll be a clump of riders that creeps around the ring together and you don't want to be stuck on the rail of it! Plus some of the horses get nasty-I've had two separate horses that would kick or buck every time someone got too close, made it kind of hard to equitate ;)

Sometimes the hardest lesson to learn is don't try to fix your horse. You're in the ring <10 minutes, if your horse won't go in a frame, don't force the issue. (In 2B around here, a frame may decide between 1st and 2nd but won't kick you out of ribbons.) Depending on the barn, you may get anything from an ex-eq horse to something they pull out of a field twice a year. If for example, you're on a speed demon that pitches a fit when you really check him, then a better option may be to just keep a quick (controlled!) inside track.

The descriptions are usually cause for laughter. In our region spurs = dead-sided, quick = NASCAR, and spooky = OMG SHADOW!! IME the cuter the name the worse the horse. Bunny is probably named Bunny because she has a nasty buck to her :lol: I once drew a horse who's name was his auction number. Favorite description so far? "Has left lead over fences but not on flat"...?!? :eek:

ETA: Totally agree about mastering the sitting trot! You'll eventually ride some jackhammers and if you can sit a working trot on one of those guys you'll pick up some major brownie points.

sptraining
Sep. 29, 2010, 05:42 PM
Oh. I'd also recommend reading the rulebook from cover to cover. These shows aren't like regular shows and it's good to know the rules. Bring a copy with you. You might be surprised by some of the stuff people *think* is okay to do.

Lazy-Pony
Sep. 29, 2010, 07:33 PM
Whatever you do, try not to draw the 28yo morgan mare that comes with the instruction "don't get anywhere near any other horse or she'll attack."

Brush up on your sitting trot on any horse you can as some of the IHSA horses are really hard to sit.

Exactly. On both accounts. ;)

CR Gorge Girl
Sep. 29, 2010, 08:18 PM
I totally agree with Supershorty saying to not get stuck on a number for the over fences. When you walk the course you can figure out what should be in there, but you'll get everything from the jumper pony who adds two down every line and still is long to the second fence to the warmblood with the huge step that takes one out.. However, make sure you have enough pace starting with the opening circle! A lot of the horses can be lazy, so establishing that pace early will really help. One girl on the team last year drew a super lazy horse, and she didn't bother to even try to speed it up, she ended up putting like 9 strides in a 6 stride.

Also, always watch the horses warm up, and then when you find out your horse, watch him in other classes, speak to other riders, and the person holding him when you get on. One time I asked the handler if she knew anything about this horse, and she's like "Yes, I'm his owner! He has a horrible trot, so don't even try to sit it for the opening circle, and he always wants to take long spots to oxers, so hold him and he'll take the last stride" I was really happy I asked, it really helped in the class.

lindsay.anne
Sep. 29, 2010, 08:25 PM
Watch your horse, watch them warm up, watch other riders on that horse and take some mental notes. Ask the handler if they know anything about the horse, most handlers are nice and will give you all that they know.

Equitate from the moment you get on your horse. Although the announcer may not have called the infamous "you are now being judged at the walk", the judge usually is still looking in the arena and possibly at you.

It quite cliche, but have fun. I dont mean go around with this face, creepy looking smile on your face. But if your horse acts up, act as if its not bothering you. I had a horse buck every single time he passed the gate, I was laughing and I ended up placing 2nd out of a class of about 15.

When you're lining up, give the horse you were on a nice pat. I was in charge of the judges card once at our host show, and saw that she wrote down the riders who gave a 'thank you' pat to their horse. You never know.


Some don'ts. No grippy spray or roll on's. They're illegal in IHSA. Don't carry a crop if the horse sheet says no crop, in my old region people were DQ'ed for carrying one if the horse sheet didnt specify "crop optional". If you have a crop, and your horse is being stubborn at the gate, have someone lead you in! Again, a girl on our team, during our host show (which we all know is hectic) she tapped the horse on the shoulder to tell him to cut the crap and get in the ring, and the steward went straight to the judge and she was disqualified. Little things like that get you DQed , so read the book!

supershorty628
Sep. 29, 2010, 08:25 PM
Nuts, I just deleted what I was writing...

Anyway, if something goes wrong, try not to be too hard on yourself. Sometimes, weird stuff is going to happen, or you won't get along with the horse you drew, etc. etc. I blew a class at Zones because I thought the horse I was on had a little more scope than he did and went from scoring a 90 to scoring a 60 because of 1 jump. You can use opportunities like that to learn from your mistakes, but try to laugh about them too.

Example of things going...interestingly: http://hphotos-snc3.fbcdn.net/hs222.snc3/20950_1236476396195_1357770419_31194198_5736937_n. jpg

Renn/aissance
Sep. 29, 2010, 08:30 PM
Nuts, I just deleted what I was writing...

Anyway, if something goes wrong, try not to be too hard on yourself. Sometimes, weird stuff is going to happen, or you won't get along with the horse you drew, etc. etc. I blew a class at Zones because I thought the horse I was on had a little more scope than he did and went from scoring a 90 to scoring a 60 because of 1 jump. You can use opportunities like that to learn from your mistakes, but try to laugh about them too.

Example of things going...interestingly: http://hphotos-snc3.fbcdn.net/hs222.snc3/20950_1236476396195_1357770419_31194198_5736937_n. jpg

You prefer that that doesn't happen in the ring :lol: That assumes she's about to go down for a roll, which is what it looks like, rather than a slip?

supershorty628
Sep. 29, 2010, 08:35 PM
Nope, no rolling... just lay down. The picture was taken as he was getting up.

Weirdest class ever.

Renn/aissance
Sep. 29, 2010, 08:38 PM
Nope, no rolling... just lay down. The picture was taken as he was getting up.

Weirdest class ever.

How to do well in an IHSA flat class- don't draw that one.

supershorty628
Sep. 29, 2010, 08:42 PM
How to do well in an IHSA flat class- don't draw that one.

I won... draw that one. Bonus points for teaching a horse how to sit/stay.

Sunsets
Sep. 29, 2010, 10:22 PM
This one would appear obvious, but make sure you get on the correct horse!

I still don't know how this happened (it was a different team), but a novice W/T rider ended up on the wrong horse. Bad enough, but her actual ride was on the crop list, and her accidental ride was not. So she had a crop. Accidental horse did not like this, and bolted.

And ran, and ran, and ran, with a terrified begninner clinging to the saddle, and the judge entering training mode to coach the rider and try and diffuse the situation. Poor rider was too scared to even think to drop the crop, and the horse just kept going. Finally rider gave up and bailed, and horse ran into one of the other horses in the class standing patiently on the rail.

The horse that got plowed into was MY draw, meant to go in two classes, but they pulled him after that incident. So I had to quickly size up my replacement horse. I think I won the class, so it all worked out in the end.

LulaBell
Sep. 29, 2010, 10:55 PM
NEVER, under any circumstances, say anything negative about one of the horses. Obviously, back at home, whatever, but at the show/out at dinner that weekend/etc...you or your teammate or whoever had the worst ride of your or their life, DO NOT criticize the horse. IHSA horses are donated for a reason, more often than not, and many times it is a kind soul letting the school use their horse for the show.

Sportsmanship goes a really, really long way in college riding.

*JumpIt*
Sep. 29, 2010, 11:01 PM
na

CR Gorge Girl
Sep. 29, 2010, 11:05 PM
NEVER, under any circumstances, say anything negative about one of the horses. Obviously, back at home, whatever, but at the show/out at dinner that weekend/etc...you or your teammate or whoever had the worst ride of your or their life, DO NOT criticize the horse. IHSA horses are donated for a reason, more often than not, and many times it is a kind soul letting the school use their horse for the show.

Sportsmanship goes a really, really long way in college riding.

This is so true! I know last year we heard a lot of people complaining about the horses at a particular show, and the school that hosted the show heard everything, and you bet that got adressed to each team. Sometimes you really feel like you want to blame the horse..but that's the nature of IHSA, get on something and do what you can with it. Sportsmanship. :D :D

An interesting moment/ride I had last year. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XLO1JnogxBA Spooking at about 3:40. lol.. yea, he was PERFECT the other direction.. once we reversed, no way!! That mirror was scary! lol. I got first, and when I talked to the judge after the show was over, she said that she realized I had a difficult ride and handled it well. So sometimes that difficult ride is a good thing!

To the MAX
Sep. 30, 2010, 12:20 AM
Aw come on, you won't tell us what school you'll be riding for?!

And I second (third, fourth?) asking the owner (if they're there) about the horse. But also, make sure you LISTEN to them! That sounds super obvious but I've seen people ask about a horse then tune out or think they know better. For example, when I was a sophomore I let our school use my old timer eq. horse for our show. A girl from another school mounted up and asked if I knew anything about him. I told her I was the owner and spouted off for 5 minutes on how to ride him to ensure a good ribbon. She nodded along and thanked me for the info. Well....the single most important thing I told her about my guy she completely ignored, and actually crashed him through the first jump on course.
The poor girl who got him next looked like she would rather jump off a cliff than ride him. I reassured her that she would have an awesome ride if she listened to my advice. She went in and nailed the course on him, and actually ended up 1st or 2nd.
I also want to echo whoever talked about not badmouthing horses. Totally unsportsmanlike and uncalled for. The people who allow use of their horses are VERY generous people, and I'd rather ride a horse that's a bit wacky than not have the opportunity at all. You bet if I ever hear someone speaking badly about my horse I'll find out what school they're from and bring it to the attention of our regional president.

kateh
Sep. 30, 2010, 12:25 AM
I was poking around looking for info on Western IHSA (my most recent adventure on horseback) and found this:
http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/showthread.php?t=167861&highlight=western+IHSA
Don't get too scared :winkgrin:

netg
Sep. 30, 2010, 01:21 AM
I remember when we took some of our horses to nationals one year, and there was a girl watching me warm one of our guys up. I hadn't ridden him before because he was pretty new to our program so not many of us had ridden him, but he was a wonderful ride. Nice gaits, beautiful lead changes for me, great transitions, etc. She asked me about the lead changes, because apparently the info on him said he had none. I shrugged and said "apparently he does. Just don't throw your weight, because he can counter canter really well if you don't set him up for it. He did a lot of dressage before we got him." She went on to win her open fences class on him I think... after he refused jumps with two other riders who didn't ride him enough between jumps and pulled too hard on his mouth without leg supporting them. She thanked me afterward, and I was glad she was smart enough to ask, because she was a lovely rider and he was such a lovely horse.

To the MAX
Sep. 30, 2010, 10:42 AM
Oh, I looked at your picture and the number one thing that popped out to me was your hands. Close your fingers around the reins and no puppy dog hands! :)

Sheila
Sep. 30, 2010, 12:30 PM
Just my humble opinion on a few flat photos---- please feel free just to scroll on past my post.


just took a quick look at the flat photos only - try to remember- soft arms- I call them "spaghetti arms" it looks like you are a little tense thru your shoulders and arms and then you widen your hands. The little black horse in one pic is locking his jaw a little- it could be in response to your tight arms. There is a happy medium between arms in front no contact and arms locked with wide hands.
The one thing certain to piss off a tired school horse is a tight elbow.

How tall are you? You look like a petite, little rider ...(the term "small but mighty" comes to mind ..lol). Careful that you don't get that right foot in front of you to brace- one photo looked like it was straighter rather than the natural turn of the ankle slightly out. Usually indicates, you have had to brace a time or too. And with a hard elbow, that would piss off a tired horse who has had it with showing for that day..

Love your heel and your back and you looking ahead (!great!!) ...talk to your coach about what the judge likes, some are more into a slighlty more open hip angle for the "equ" classes.

also- your turnout for the photos is very good- with the polo shirt, boots and breeches, its easy to comment on your riding-

PS- you are going to do fine...I wouldn't kick you off one of my old teams...

Just IMHO...

HUET Brunette
Sep. 30, 2010, 02:12 PM
There is a lot of fantastic advice here. I’ve been involved in IHSA going on 15 years and began showing at Novice Flat/Fences and graduated at Open Flat/Fences. I continued showing in Alumni for quite a few years.

Do your research: Get to the show early and watch the warm-ups. Talk with teammates about the horses going around. Review the horse descriptions. If you draw early enough, make sure you watch your horse in every class before your own. Speak to the riders who get off your horse after they’re out of the ring. IHSA may be competitive, but we are a friendly group of people! Ask the horse handlers/owners questions. Every horse has its own quirky personality. That’s the luck of the draw!

Walk into the ring a winner: Watch your posture, be confident, and go in with a strong walk. If you have time, get to know your horse for that minute in the ring before the class is underway. See how he reacts off your legs and hands. Not every horse will get into a frame. Find your own space. Note where the judge sits or stands and where his or her line of sight is and how off your stuff. When your class ends, line up quickly in the center of the ring, sit straight, and don’t fuss as the ribbons are called. And always pat your horse. He has a long day, too!

Be prepared: Make sure your jacket fits, your boots are polished, and your hair is always tucked in a hairnet! I still see girls trotting around with wisps of hair that find their way out of the helmet. It drives me crazy. If you can’t mount up outside the ring, have a teammate walk in with you and ensure your stirrups are comfortable and bring a towel for that last-minute boot polish.

In college, IHSA provided for some of the best memories in my life. To this day, some of my best friends are my teammates. I love the history of IHSA and what it gives to young men and women; which is why I’m still helping out my team to this day.

Oh, and don’t be that girl who knocks over a jump standard with her foot as she takes the corner too tight during a flat class! Best of luck to you!