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....circa 2002

Here we go...set up and standing square (somewhat!) and ready to begin our pattern. WHY must every judge on earth choose the same pattern? I am tempted to turn Taylor loose and let her do it alone. I am sure she can, since we've had this same pattern at least 9 different times this summer!
Trot from cone 1 to cone 3. Wow, don't I look weird when I run! I never knew that! Maybe I need to practice jogging in front of a mirror.

Back from cone 3 to cone 2. Taylor will back with no pressure on the halter when she is really paying attention. Today is one of those good days. She is alert, yet not TOO alert, and watching me for signals. I love when our partnership is working out and we are actually communicating!

Turn a 270 degree pivot. When she's on, she's ON! We spent a good amount of time before the class schooling our pivots. If I am lazy in my body position, Taylor will respond by curving her neck and not giving a nice straight turn. Sometimes it is harder for me to correct myself! Today I am awake enough to make sure I am right, and Taylor stays straight through the turn.

Walk to the judge and set up. Here's where I am mentally telling myself 'Look her in the eye, look confident, but don't stare!'. It's hard to maintain eye contact with a stranger when you have a million things bouncing around in your head.

After inspection, 90 degree pivot to the right and trot off. Here I am urging her as there isn't a whole lot of room for the trot, and Taylor's long stride makes her hesitant to trot in close quarters. I have to click every stride and remain forward to keep her going.

The class is over, and we are happy and relaxed. Taylor (and I) held it all together to win the class! Showmanship is demanding, but such fun when your horse is in tune and responding to all your cues. Of course, it helps that we have made showmanship a part of our daily routine, even when walking out of the stall for turnout. And it also helps that Taylor is such a great horse who tries really hard to do things right!

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