Schooling Your Horse

Schooling Your Horse

Our Gem State shows are known for being great schooling opportunities! We welcome and encourage schooling, but we ask that everyone using our shows to school their horses remembers that there’s just as many people that take our shows very seriously and are working very hard towards year-end awards. Gem State has a great mix of people with a wide range of goals.

We’ve had some questions about what is and is not allowed when schooling, so we’re hoping to address that here.

Let us know if we missed anything by emailing!

1. Keep It On Pattern

Please stay on pattern when schooling at our shows. We understand if you need to countercanter or run all the way to the fence instead of stopping at the marker, but please keep from loping additional circles or stopping extra times in your rein work. The judge may whistle you out at their discretion if you’ve gotten too far from the original pattern.

In the fence work and herd work, turning tail counts as breaking pattern and may result in being whistled out.

Why? Going off pattern can add a lot of time to the runs and we do our best to run fast, efficient shows. Adding additional maneuvers to your run means the judge, gate help, cattle help, and the other members showing after you are waiting.

2. Keep It Legal

Please keep your tack legal! This means no cavesons, tie-downs, martingales, illegal bits, etc. If your tack is visibly illegal without dropping your bit, you may be whistled out or not allowed to begin your run.

Why? It’s in our rulebook that illegal equipment is not permitted in the show pen. See the rule here.

3. Keep It Age-Appropriate

Horses can only be entered in classes they are eligible for. For example, this means you cannot school your bridle horse through a Futurity run.

Why? We’ve got big classes and late nights already, so not allowing entries into classes where horses are ineligible helps keep this in control.

4. Keep It Under Control

Please avoid excessive schooling that may be construed as abusive to horse or livestock. Excessive schooling/abuse will be at the judge’s discretion, however, complaints can be filed with the secretary for board review. See the full process here.

Why? This doesn’t really need explaining, but abusive behavior is counter to our Conduct policy in our rulebook and is not good for our sport in general! 

5. Keep It Timely

While we won’t be running a timer for each run (except the herd work, of course!), we’ll leave it up to the judge to whistle you out when he or she feels you’ve used the allocated amount of time for a run in your class.

Why? Again, our shows tend to be very large and keeping your run within the general parameters of your class helps our show continue to run smoothly and efficiently.

Thank you for being a part of Gem State!

Please let us know if you have questions or if we missed something! We’ll see you at our next show.

What is ``schooling``?

Note: this is an excerpt from our article “What You Should Know if You’re New to Showing” where we answered the question “Why are so many Open riders getting zeros?” Check it out if you missed it!

Horses are smart. The more they’re showed, the more they begin to recognize that being in the show pen is a little stressful or a little scary, or even begin to notice that they’re not being reprimanded for acting up like they would be at home.

Because of Gem State’s affordable entry fees, many trainers use our shows as an opportunity to get their horses ready for larger shows. Using a run to train the horse instead of trying to win is called schooling.

This may mean that the rider may use an illegal bit (note: this is not actually allowed!) in order to train on their horse a little more, or they may countercanter a horse that worries about changing leads, or they may turn around more than the pattern calls for in order to stop only when the horse is feeling correct, or they may work on getting their horse to stop straight instead of making a fence turn.

There are as many ways to school a horse in the show pen as there are trainers.

Schooling is an essential tool in keeping show horses tuned up. Talk to your trainer about it!