Sample of 2015 AMHR Nationals
I love seeing horses move! Sooo, here are a bunch of different driving classes from the 2015 Nationals:
Click here to see Chariot racing!
Click here to see a Park Horse class
Click here to see a class of Western Country Pleasure over 34
Below is our Cameo competing in the under 32" Roadster class
Below is our Ruger in a lot of different Country Pleasure Over classes.
Below you can see "Sailor" and Allyson in Roadster 32 to 34
Below is a sampling of many Country Pleasure Driving horses. This is an over34 class
Click here to see one of my favorites, Grahams Apollo Cinco de Mayo, driven in Pleasure!
Click here to see our Beamer in Country Pleasure Stakes 34 and under
And, here is Beamer in the warmup arena! This boy came into my life "broke to cart," but Nancy Rivenburg cautioned me against trying to show him due to his temperament and due to his roaring. In 2011, Lisa, my oldest, started driving him at home and we found that he only roared when he got worked up and nervous. He started relaxing more and more so we tried to show him at the 2012 Touch of Class. We found that we could not get him to even trot in the show arena. Scratching him from all of his classes, we stalled him that entire show. He hopped and skipped nervously around the arena. We were so disappointed because Sheryl Peterson (who I knew loved this horse) was there and I wanted her to see him drive. Instead, he sat in his stall. That year I showed Design and Lisa so badly wanted to show the two paternal brothers together.....it could not happen.
I started driving him in 2013. He very slowly gained confidence, but when he got nervous or excited, the roaring would start up again. Long trailer rides seemed to cause problems, for he did fairly well in our "home arena" at Touch of Class. But, he bombed badly at Nationals. I left every class frustrated almost to tears. Here was a horse that I had spent oodles of time with at home, and had high hopes for and his nerves interfered so much that I actually had someone walk up to me after a class and tell me that I should have been asked to leave. LOL! We were not out of control, but we did have terrible drives! There were many very kind people too who told me of similar experiences and Sheryl told me at that show the memory of them trying to drive Beamer at shows back when he was young and not being able to get him to perform. It was comforting to know that his professional trainer back then had had the same issues. But, we kept on driving. In that 2013 Nationals arena, I was humbled. I will never criticize someone else's horse and assume that what I see in the show arena matches the horse's performance at home. Beamer hollowed out in the show arena, his butt went up and his neck no longer rounded from the withers. He short stepped and didn't even look like the same horse as he did when at home. He angrily threw his head and fought the bit. My connection with him was all gone. Nancy Rivenburgh had flown in and was getting to see 'her boy' for the first time in years, and he was all wrong. I was so disappointed. But, I learned that horse shows are not about how well we perform, and that relationships matter so much more! It taught me to respect others who are upbeat, encourage others and positive when their horse is not working for them. Below is a comparison of how he looked in 2013 and how he looked in 2015.
We did not show much in 2014, but Beamer was driven just as often here at home. I did take him to Touch of Class where he won Stallion Country Pleasure. One sweet judge really encouraged us. And, I kept on driving him.
I have tried a few things to help him. I think the biggest help has been time in the cart. I drive him everywhere and I often take him on trail alone to test him. I drive him in fun shows, I surf behind him in our irrigation water. I do give him a combination of flax seeds, Vitamin C and Fast Track for the antioxidants. He roars much less now, but still will start if he feels lots of pressure from me. Sensitive boy!! I basically had to restart his training for we emphasize bending and shoulder work and do not use many mechanical methods in our training techniques. This helps for when he gets worked up, I can start asking him to do things and get his mind focused back on me and not on the situation. When I talk about how we train, I am not criticizing those who choose another method: I see some really nice collected horses driving that have been trained completely differently.
2015 came along and Beamer is doing better in the show ring (he was able to win Reserve National Champion Country Pleasure Driving Stallions). Placing that well was even more rewarding due to his progress!! If you scan up on this link, you will find more videos of him at the 2015 Nationals. Beamer still does not drive like he does at home, but even at home, he can be upset by other stallions or by mares in heat. The challenge is on!! I will keep on driving him. I have learned that I can train at home and prepare, but my outcome in the arena is in the Lord's hands. There are way too many variables for me to control. And, if you are struggling with a horse, I encourage you to not give up.
Many horses have a long story that come with them. I see so much good improvement in horses from year to year. It is fun to see the progression that others make and it is a blast to watch my own horses change with time.