The Sooke Saddle Club will begin our show season with our usual English/Western Funshow on Saturday, May 28 at the Metchosin Arena. Judge will be Tatum Claypool.
This is an informal show which emphasizes safety and fun with your horse, without requiring the horse and rider to have proper show clothing and tack.
Of course, the rider’s clothing should be clean and neat; helmets are required for English riders and all riders under 19, whether they are riding English or Western.
We encourage adult Western riders to wear helmets as well. All riders must wear appropriate boots with a heel.
The horse’s tack should be clean and in good repair. Horses do not need to be braided and we recognize that at this time of year, they may still be shaggy and shedding, but should still be clean and groomed.
Each rider is judged according to the type of bit they are using on their horse, so other styles of saddles are also welcome (i.e. Australian).
The Funshow includes some ground classes as well as riding classes, and our perennial favourite – the musical ride class.
This is not a dressage event with specified patterns. Each rider chooses their own music and creates a routine to ride to the songs.
Judging is based on creativity and how well the horse and rider work together. Music should be no longer than four minutes in length.
Due to insurance rules at the Metchosin Arena, the same helmet rules do apply, but riders (and horses) can wear a costume. Bareback riding is also not allowed at the Metchosin Arena.
We even have a “Nervous Nellie” class, or riders new to showing, or those with young horses in training. The judge uses this class to teach the finer points of competing in a show without the stress of competition.
It is an excellent opportunity to introduce the riders and horses to being in a busy show ring with other competitors.
Classes are divided into the Walk/Trot Division, and the more advanced riders who can canter their horses (Open Division) in the show ring.
These divisions are again divided into junior and senior riders (over 19-years-of -age) so that young riders on smaller mounts are not in the ring with larger animals.
Many classes in the Funshow and in the following shows qualify for high point awards at the end of the day, and SSC members accumulate high points for prizes at our AGM/Awards night at the end of the year.
We have a couple of fun activities planned as well. Location to be announced – a clicker training weekend clinic with Dr. Amanda Booth May 13-15.
You would be amazed what your horse can learn to do, with the right reinforcement at the right time.
With clicker training, you can teach your horse to bow as an example. More importantly, clicker training can be used to divert a nervous horse in a frightening situation, or to enable a vet to work with the horse, as the animal concentrates on gaining the reward it expects when it hears the clicker instead of reacting to a stressful situation.
This can be very valuable when training a young horse to be ridden alone out on a trail past potentially scary things – a step ahead in the right direction, click and reward.
Soon the horse is happily moving forward and forgets about what was frightening him.
Once clicker training is understood by the horse, it can be used until the expected behavior is well-established, then gradually replaced with positive voice rewards and pats.
– Gail Nash, Sooke Saddle Club