Yesterday I judged the trail portion of the Indiana Pony of America's club show in Rochester Indiana. It has been a while since I have last judged but I am pursuing getting my judge's card in a few associations currently. The catch is you must have some judging experience to get your judge's card. Fortunately for me some friend's knew I was getting back into judging and gave me the opportunity to judge yesterday's show. I really enjoyed myself! They had arranged the trail course in a separate arena and it was a show at will type class. For those of you who are unsure what that means I'll explain. This is becoming quite popular with many associations as interest in trail classes is growing and let's face it, since it is individual work it takes a lot of time to complete the class thus slowing down the whole show.
Basically the course is set up in a different area than the main arena, it is open for a specific period of time in which you can come and perform your pattern between your other classes.
I really liked the way the POA had organized their show. They had contestants purchase tickets for each class, you did not have to specify which class you were riding in at the office just how many tickets you wanted. Then when you wanted to show you simply rode up to the gate gave the ring steward your ticket and back number and away you went.
I judged 10 different trail classes all at one time. The contestant would simply ride in and hand me a ticket, tell me which class they were riding in and I would judge them accordingly. The pattern remained the same, only the pace of gait changed for the younger contestants i.e. the lope portion was only done at a jog for the small kiddos 8 & under. My favorite class was the lead line trail! I never had seen that done and I must say the mom's rocked! They really were patient explaining to the little ones what to do and when and only helped when necessary. I had to hold my breath once when the wee one leaned almost all the way over her horse to work the rope gate!
I really enjoy trail and I thought all in all the kids were prepared for the class and did a great job. There was of course the one "ring side mom" who screeched in my ear at her kid the entire course, boy I felt sorry for that kid. I witnessed some things yesterday that of course I did not agree with, like the over dressed and extremely to much make up on an 8 year girl. I mean really people is this what we are teaching our children??? I tried to give each rider some creative help with the mistakes they made on their patterns and they were all very polite and thanked me, something I was impressed with.
I found the POA group to be very relaxed and a nice bunch of people very in tune with the youth. Something I think is very important in these days of chaos kids are living in today.
Off to the remodeling project of the big blue trailer for now.......