Belt Buckle Quality

(The work … not the video. More short and grainy stuff.)

Sam took first in showmanship in Class A today at Chisholm Challenge.

This event gave him fits when he was younger. If you are not familiar with showmanship, here’s what little I know. In many horse shows, competitors are showing the animal to the judge — just like a dog show, for example — so it can be evaluated for its conformation to the breed.

Showing an animal is complicated. You’ve got to get the animal to do things on your lead. People sometimes hire professional handlers to show their dogs. Being judged on showmanship is having someone evaluate your handling skills.

For kids with autism and other disabilities, showing an animal can be wickedly difficult. You have to stay focused. You have to follow directions with many steps. If your animal doesn’t behave as expected, you have to deal with it.

That’s gray-matter growing stuff.

I highly recommend it for kids with disabilities. Some stables will take kids at-risk. Michael rode for a year after he had surgery on his ear to help correct some balance and perception problems. Sam has been riding at Riding Unlimited since he was five. If you can volunteer or donate to a therapeutic riding program, you will be a big part of making amazing things happen in your community. Some volunteer programs will help you learn to ride, too.

Just one caveat: make sure the program, the instructors and the facility are certified by the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship, or PATH International. They used to be known as NAHRA.

Here’s Sam’s showmanship performance. Class A patterns are more difficult. The other classes do simpler patterns for the judge, just walking up, turning and coming back.

And here’s his buckle!

Here is video his performance in trail.

We haven’t heard how he did there. It takes a while for them to run the tallies. Sam was tired. We went home for lunch and rested.


  1. TXsharon on January 13, 2012 at 11:57 pm

    Beautiful. It made me cry.

    Way to go Sam!

  2. Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe on January 14, 2012 at 4:26 am

    We learned that he took second in trail for Class A, and then won high point for Class A.

    This is the second year that he has won high point. I’m proud of Sam for becoming a consistent and well-rounded horseman.

  3. TXsharon on January 15, 2012 at 1:55 am

    Wow! He seemed so calm and totally in control. The trail class is my favorite.

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