January 27, 2011

Camped Under? I think not.

I've noticed in a few of Rose's photos she looks camped under in front (like she's leaning forward). I never gave it much thought before, because I knew when the photos were taken she was always wiggling around and walking forward. Literally we would have a split second to take a photo before she moved. However, it occurred to me that anyone looking at the photos wouldn't have that knowledge and might think she has some sort of funky confirmation thing going on. I looked at all her photos of her standing, some show her standing straight and then some show her looking camped under. At inspection the judge didn't say anything about her front legs being camped under...so I wasn't concerned that it is a conformation thing. However, I've never really delved into the intricacies of confirmation, other than uphill, downhill, long back, butt high, etc. Apparently there is something to the whole showmanship thing, and although I don't have plans to ever show her in hand, learning how to get her to properly set up probably is a good idea.

Wednesday night I decided to take her in the arena and attempt to take photos of her after our longeing exercise. Just for fun, here are the results.

NORMAL (bored) ROSE.

Not Camped Under - sort of "set up"

Looking a bit camped under - trying to sniff me.
In order to make Wednesday night's photo shoot happen, and after pondering Rose's inability to stand quiet and square for more than a millisecond, I decided that after longeing we would work on "stand". First we worked on whoa and stand on the longeline. After that it was time to try it without the longeline. I have been working on ground tying with her, and she sort of does it. Her ability to ground tie tends to be more of an issue of does she want to listen today, rather than, does she know what she's supposed to do. Regardless, Wednesday night she chose to listen and I was so proud of her for being such a big girl and standing nice and quiet, without having anyone hold the reins, for an extended period of time while I took photos. Gold star for Rose!

I tried my best to get her to set up nice and square. Bare in mind that I know nothing about showmanship or how to correctly set up a horse, and we board at a dressage barn, so there isn't a wealth of showmanship knowledge laying around to absorb. I've just seen my western show cohorts do it on occasion, so I mostly made this up as I went along.

I asked Rose to halt and to stand. With a long dressage whip in hand I started with her front feet and asked her to "back" and "step up", simultaneously tapping the back or front of her foot with the whip as I asked. Eventually I got her front legs square, but struggled with the back legs. Every time she moved a back foot she'd move the diagonal front foot. You can see that I eventually called it good enough for one day and we got the front legs square, but not quite the back legs. I think I will have to do some research and learn how to really properly train her to set up. Any tips, or am I at least on the right track?

Happy trails and swooshing tails!


  1. I've given up on conformation shoots with Oz. He'll stand if I hold him, but the second anyone else has the lead, he's a regular wiggle worm. Then again, he DOES have a funny build.

  2. Horse's aren't known for posing for the camera. I don't usually judge conformation off a picture, unless something really stands out.

  3. Used to show some halter horses. You're on the right track, but start by setting up the back end first, then go after the front end. That always works.



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