Friday, September 4, 2015

NHA horse show finale weekend with Tips for success!

Last weekend was all about the Natural Horsemanship Association (NHA)- well except for Friday evening when I spent a couple hours with my centered riding coach Esther Johnson to start work on my freestyle routine for Kentucky. That was a lot of fun getting things figured out – we still have a lot of work to do, but we are putting together a nice routine for Kahleesi – Cupid you are next!

I was lucky to have a couple volunteers to help me set up for the NHA obstacle show – our gamblers choice had over 40 options so it was a lot to set up. We were blessed with good weather for the show and the best turnout for classes yet.

The horse agility classes seemed to be popular with 12 in the novice! The liberty classes still only had 3 entries, so perhaps this will condense to be just one class next year. Our judge, Shelley, gave some tips for scoring well in the class.

Tips for Scoring well in Horse Agility:
  • -        Find a way to get your horse motivated, even if that means using a treat as a reward after some obstacles so that your horse looks keen, interested, and has a little spring in their step.
  • -        Be careful to set your horse up nicely and straight to the obstacles so that they can complete them accurately.

We moved into the riding classes and there was a lot of fun to be had. We received a lot of great feedback about enjoying the Finesse, Speed, and Gamblers Choice classes because of the variety. 

Having prize money for the gamblers choice seemed to go over really well too - I guess everyone likes money? A lot of people stayed to enter the money class at the end of the day with 100% of the class entries going into prizes. We were happy with 14 people in that class, a good turnout for it's first time.

It was fascinating to watch the different ways everyone completed their gamblers choice, with more than 40 options there was a lot of variation to how you could do it. It was also interesting to see who dared master the big bridge for 15 points, and who was able to do the gamblers choice obstacle of the splash box worth 20 points.

The splash box is a box filled with water, with a floating piece of wood with holes in it. It looks solid to the horse but when they step on the floating wood, it sinks with water gushing up through the holes. You can imagine that a lot of horses find it intimidating at first.

The Unexpected Obstacle

What we didn’t expect, is that as everyone was splashing through the box, there was more and more mud created around the box which actually became more of an obstacle to some horses.

Being Impressed

I was super impressed with the riders and horses at the competition – I was also happy to have competition for the first time in the extreme division… the last two shows it had just been my horses and I, but this time there were 7 entries. It was great to see talented riders and horses competing at that level.

In particular a few things that impressed me –
  • -        Andrea and her ability to ride a gate in a few seconds. She made it look so easy and inspired me to practice the gate to master this skill better… I am still not as good as her at it, but now I can ride the gate with Kahleesi!
  • -        Dave with his horse that would walk on water if he ask or jump to the moon. He’s raised such a willing partner.
  • -        Cody with his young horse that he did just the right amount to progress his young horse without pushing him too hard.

Everyone really did a great job and I was super thrilled with everyone’s horsemanship and sportsmanship at the show.

From watching & riding gambler’s choice, here’s some tips I picked up:
  • -        Ride the high point obstacles first to make sure you get the big points
  • -        Only attempt the obstacles you are sure you can do pretty easily/quickly because the seconds count down fast
  • -        Have fun and smile! The horse can feel your tension, so if you smile and have fun your horse will do better.

All in all it was a great show day! 

We want to know what you like to see in the shows!

We are taking feedback for next year and would really appreciate you take the NHA Horse Show survey at 

– or email us any feedback (good or bad) you are willing to share to because want to do this again next year, and want to make it better for you.

Sunday Wrap Up

The day after the horse show we had a fun trail ride out to the pond – it was a nice day to take a quick dip with horses – thank you for everyone that came out!

Also a big congratulations to the PHH riders that showed at Oak Ridges Equestrian Centre, we had a few riders come home with champion and reserve champion ribbons. Well done girls and thank you Caileigh-Anne for being our show team coach!

What's up Next?

Tomorrow the fun continues with our Partridge Horse Hill Show – we have hunter, jumper, obstacle, and speed event classes. We hope to see you there! More information at

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