We are very happy that Select Amateur, Kirsten Farris, will be reporting
for GoHorseShow.com from the Select Amateur World Show in Amarillo,
Texas. Kirsten Farris is a regular contributor to GoHorseShow.com and a
Certified Sport Consultant and creator of Quarter Horse Show Entries.
Kirsten will be competing in Amarillo in Hunter Under Saddle with her
horse, Lyles Al Lie who is by Allocate Your Assets and under the
guidance of Deanna and Jim Searles.
Report 6 from 2012 World Champion Kirsten Farris
Sorry, I just had to do that to see how it looks! Anyway, as some of you may know, the Hunter Under Saddle Finals were Friday, and yes, I did in fact end up with the trophy at the end of the day!
In preparing for show day I often think about the many things that could happen and how I would best handle them. However, one thing that happened during the class that I never thought would. Two of the three banks of lights went out about three-quarters of the way through the class! That's a new one. My eyes aren’t so great in the dark, so I am glad I was still able to see my way around the pen and make it safely into the line up.
Many of us imagine what it would be like to win, how we would take a victory lap and what we would say during the winning run interview, and then none of those things happen the way you thought they would happen. When you hear your name called as the World Champion, it’s one of those things that is hard to explain. I am still surprised how emotional I get when I think of Lyle and how much I really enjoy having him as my teammate. I just picture his little white nose poking through the bars in the stalls looking for a peppermint. He is just amazing, and I could go on forever, but enough about me, lets talk about Linda O’Brien for a moment, shall we?
I caught up with this petite dynamo who is like Amy Sedaris on a twelve pack of Diet Coke to find out her thoughts on winning the Western Riding. When she says Dusty is a trail horse, she means it. He has only been doing the western riding for over a year, and last year, he was just starting to get the hang of it. When I asked what Linda liked the most about the Western Riding, she said her shirt. Spoken like a true woman!
As a young girl, Linda learned to sew and would make all of her clothes, from bras to underwear to shirts. If you wore it, she could make it. She decided when she grew up and had enough money to buy clothes she would stop making them, but she still makes all of her show shirts and jackets. Her pink shirt project started in April. She hung it in the living room and each day she would put crystals on it until she got tired, and then get up the next day and do it again, until it was done. The shirt made her feel confident, which is always a good thing, so I would say it’s a Lucky Shirt. As most of us know, when we put something on that feels and looks sharp, we are sharp. Linda lives in Southern California and Dusty lives in Texas at HighPoint Performance Horses. The only time Linda gets to ride and practice is at shows, and I think that is pretty amazing to be able to hop off a plane, hop on your horse and come out a winner.
In the Equitation Finals, Gretchen Kurzweg Keller was Reserve Champion on Hot Chicks Like Me. I am mentioning Gretchen because as a rider, she had tremendous scope. She was 4th in the Boxing class with The Smart Dude who was her husband's horse and became the family pet. When he stopped showing him, he thought they should sell him, but Gretchen couldn’t bear the thought so he told her she would have to learn how to do the cattle classes with him, and she did. She also rides in the over fences events, so I would say she is a true All Around Rider. Incidentally, her boxing horse was stalled right across from my horse Lyle. Did I mention that we....Oh yeah, I have probably said too much about him already.
Report # 5
Wow! I can’t believe I will be going home Saturday, the show went by so fast.
Thursday, Linda O’Brien won the Western Riding, and I have to say, it could not happened to a nicer person. I met Linda last year at the Select World Show and would never have known that she had surgery right before the show. That is what kind of person she is. She does not dwell on the past, she just takes things in stride and moves forward. When she did not make the trail finals this year, she came to the conclusion that Dusty had other plans, and I guess he did, he had really big plans. Congrats to you both, you are not only inspirational, you are fun to be around too!
I know I have been very positive whilst blogging this week, but I do have a bit of vent, so I am getting out my soapbox now. Now I am standing on it. During the western riding finals, there were about eight children using the bleachers like an outdoor park, sliding down the railings, sitting in the seats, getting out of the seats, waving their arms and generally being distracting. Really? During a World Champion Event?? Like Western Riding??? I get I don’t have kids, and you can probably tell why, but watching Western Riding for people who are big fans can get a little boring, so why not let the kids play someplace else? I know, the horses are broke, they shouldn’t care, blah, blah, blah, but it is a big deal to make the finals, and enough stuff is out of your control without kids being out of control too. A little common sense and respect for people showing isn’t too much to ask. Whew! Climbing off box. Putting box away. Onward and upward...
Friday are the Trail Finals, Western Horsemanship Finals, then approximately seven hours of Penning and Sorting before the English Classes with Hunter Under Saddle, Eq, and then prelims of Eq over Fences and Working Hunter. I feel my soapbox coming out again- maybe the schedule could be tweaked a bit to have things grouped together a little more logically. I don’t think that people that come to watch Cattle Classes (now I said watch, not participate) and most people who come to watch the ‘mellow stuff’ like trail, western riding, eq, etc...are here to watch both types of classes. I get there needs to be some separation of divisions so if you are doing Trail, Horsemanship and Pleasure you would not be going on the same day (but they did if you were in the pleasure finals). It is a very sticky wicket, I don’t understand all of the ins and outs of scheduling, but, in my little world, the show could be longer with cattle stuff at one end of the schedule, and then spread out the other classes, or have two show pens going at once, each one with events that don’t typically have crossover participation, like the Youth World Show, but there isn’t enough room to do that in Amarillo.
Which brings us all to the elephant in the Room... Why Amarillo Why? There has been lots of chatter about moving the show, and GoHorseShow even did a survey about moving it and 50% of the people voted to have it run with the Amateur and Open World Show in Oklahoma City. If I was a betting person, I would say No, I think Amarillo is going to continue to be the home for the Select World. I personally would like to see it moved to a bigger facility, like Oklahoma City, or heck, when they finish West World in Scottsdale and it is all air-conditioned, that would be perfect. But perfect for me isn’t perfect for everybody else. So we will see.
AQHA honored their 10 Year participants Wednesday night and one of the vendors who has been to every Select World Show is Shine to Go. I had the pleasure to get an appointment with Donna and she
transformed my dull, dirty boots into a work of shiny art. It takes a lot of
time and elbow grease to get boots show ring ready, and a lot of competitors
are stopping by to sit in the massage chairs where your boots as well as your
back come back to life while watching the show. A few of us decided that the
only thing missing was a cocktail, but we were able to get those at the party.
The Horsemanship Preliminaries were Wednesday, and it was another nice
class. The pattern that could be ridden 'subject to interpretation' proved to
be a great test of riders and horses with 2 lead changes in a serpentine and a
simple change thrown in just for fun. There were some really nice rides and the
finals Thursday should be very competitive.
Western Pleasure Finals
Like I said before, this class makes me nervous. It is hard to believe
that 15 horses could be walking, jogging and loping and you don't hear a thing.
Not even the pitter-patter of hooves. Watching Michael Hershberger and A
Certain Illusion win the class was another nice 'Select Moment'. He looked
happy, excited and a very appreciative to win such a nice class, and that is
what is should be all about.
If anybody thinks tuning 50 will make your showing career a little easier
because of the 'maturity' of the exhibitors, they better think again! This is
the case where age matters, but experience counts.
The English Stuff
The Preliminaries of Hunter Under Saddle, Hunt Seat Equitation and
Hunter Hack got all of us out of bed at 0 dark 30 this morning, but sometimes
it’s nice to get up and get going. There was one split of Hunter Under Saddle
Preliminaries with 21 in the class, but we all behaved ourselves and avoided
anything that resembles roller derby. I am excited to be showing in the finals
with an awesome group of Hunt Seat Horses. Good Luck to everybody Friday.
I am sitting in the arena waiting for them to trade cows for cones and
then it’s on to the Western Riding Finals, one of my favorite classes to watch.
As the show is winding down, there are lots of finals classes today and
tomorrow, and then the over fences classes on Saturday. However, a lot of
people are done, packing their trailers and going home. I hate when that happens.
Having to stay until the end of the show is like being at a New Year's Eve
Party at 2 am, when there is still a party in your mind, but there are a lot of
empty wine glasses on the table.
But for those still showing tomorrow and Saturday just remember to
Tuesday was a long day! I got to the fairgrounds and had time to catch the end of the showmanship finals. I am always surprised at how emotional I get watching the last two people standing in the arena together hugging each other, waiting to hear the final results. I happened to be sitting right behind Anne Wilson and I was a big crybaby when I saw her hugging, petting and telling Dudley what a good boy he was. It was one of those touching moments that makes shows like this so fun to watch. After getting some Kleenex and attempting to fix my running mascara (it may be waterproof but it isn't tear proof) I had a little time to check out some of the roping classes.
I know nothing about cows, and have only heard about ropes from friends who have read 50 Shades of Grey, so it was fun to watch something new for a change.
After the dust settled, it was time for Western Riding, and I was able to watch and cheer for my fellow barn members. A big congratulations to the Searles' Circle S team for getting all of their Western Riders a spot in the finals.
After that, as if that wasn't enough, it was time for the Ride The Pattern / Ride the Rail demonstrations. I got to participate in the Hunter Under Saddle demo, and not only was it informative for the audience, It gave me time to realize that my boots and Lyles' girth were still in the horse trailer, so it was nice to have a 'dress rehearsal' before I show Thursday morning. Ride the Horsemanship Pattern given by Robin Frid was very well attended, and hearing him explain all of the things one would have to be aware of to execute a flawless pattern had my head spinning in 360's, literally. That's when I knew it was time to go back to the hotel and get recharged for tomorrow which is a day filled with Trail and Western Horsemanship prelims, Western Pleasure Finals and much, much more.
The pleasure prelims were very deep Monday with multiple Congress and World
Champions hoping to make their way into the finals. As a Hunter Under Saddle
rider, watching Western Pleasure makes me nervous. So many good horses, riding
right against the rail and no room for error. In the Semi-Finals, the top 20
came back, and as I was watching the first direction, it seemed like an
eternity until they reversed, so instead of letting time distortion be my
guide, I timed the second direction. If have ever wondered how long the horses
are expected to be flawless? Take this breakdown and multiply by two for the answer.
Reverse and walk: 40 Seconds Lope: 3:20 seconds Jog: 59 seconds Extended Jog: 1:41 seconds And then the waiting begins... Time in line up: 6 Minutes Hearing your name called back to the finals...Timeless
If you want to see some great pleasure horses, then you better tune in for the finals,
it is going to be a great class.
The Dirt on the Dirt
One of the other improvements made to the Amarillo fairgrounds this
year was a complete overhaul of the footing in the Bill Cody Arena. There is
brand new base and footing in the popular warm up arena, and believe me, it
makes a big difference and we all appreciate it. Between the footing and the
air- conditioned windowed enclosure that houses the new bathrooms, the Cody
Arena is a nice place to chill between classes. I had a nice relaxing time
watching the reining prelims while working on this blog post.
There were some great runs in reining, but I actually had more fun
watching the trainers ‘ride the bench’ while coaching their clients through the
One horse in particular that caught my eye was Starbucks For Chex.
This horse's mane brought this fifty something woman back into childhood with a
mane that would make My Little Pony envious.
So many parties, so little time
If you are a social butterfly, there are more chances to mix and mingle at this
show than any other. Monday night is the Museum Party, which is always a well-attended
event. If I can manage to put my contacts in, wash my hair and put on something
that doesn’t look as though I came from the lunging pen, I just might show up.
Click here to view story and slide show from AQHA.com about the Museum Party Report #1
I finally arrived in Amarillo and the show is already in full swing. The things that people always say about the Select World Show being fun,
laid back and less stressful are really true. Everybody seems to just want to
be here and have a nice time, have some good rides, and maybe win a trophy or
I grabbed a Starbucks Refresher for a burst of energy and thought I
better get going if I was going to get any good scoop for GoHorseShow.com today. There were still
a few showmanship runs to go, and I wanted to check out the pattern and see how
people were doing.
But first things first, I had to stop at the loo on my way over to the
arena. Sorry if you think that's TMI, but I mention this because one of the upgrades to
the fairgrounds is the 'facilities'. I think this is the first time I have
experienced a ladies room at a horse show that looks like it belongs at Neiman Marcus instead
of the fairgrounds. My boots have never experienced marble floors before, so I
had to walk carefully so that I did not slip and fall and break my hip (hey, it is the Select World Show, right? )
Another cool addition to this year’s show is the BBQ trailer that made
my mouth water as I walked by. Note to self, check this out tomorrow, I think
it’s a winner, winner chicken dinner as Guy Fieri would say. No more
distractions- on to watch showmanship.
You can click here to see the Select World Showmanship Prelims pattern. I caught up with fellow competitor Laurel
Champlin, and got her take on how to execute the pattern.
Laurel's Showmanship preparation plan is very simple and straight forward-
she does not believe in over-practicing. "Showmanship is such a challenge
because it is the closest you will ever be to your horse. No legs, No hands,
just moving your horse with your body," Laurel told me.
For Laurel, this is kind of a new event,
but for That Would Be Me aka Tyler he is an expert at showmanship, and the team
at Highpoint have done a great job in keeping him sharp. The showmanship
pattern only has two cones, and like most of the patterns at this years show,
absence of markers is the new black. This is a good pattern for Tyler because,
according to Laurel, cones are the enemy. “He knows that those markers mean
something, and it is much easier to execute patterns without a cone”. Laurel’s plan
was to trot 5 steps past the judges, and then back 5 steps, but when she did
her turn, she felt she needed to straighten Tyler up, so she did. “I think when
you do a pattern and you make a mistake, it is better to fix it then to just
move on to the next part of your pattern”. Her walk up to the judge was great,
and Tyler set up like a pro in one step. Her turn and a 1/2 may have been a bit
conservative, but Laurel felt it was better to execute it correctly instead of
going for speed. Her trot was nice and straight, and at the end, another one
step set up finished her pattern on a high note, and as a result, she will be
back for the first time ever in Showmanship.
Laurel said she really likes the finals pattern, which I have posted here, and I
will be watching her to see how the finals go. The one thing I know I won’t see
her doing is practicing all night. Just a few minutes is all she needs.
After showmanship, I had a chance to watch the Boxing class - and all I
can say is WOW! Those people can not only ride, they know how to have fun. It
was great to see everybody congratulating everybody in the class, and the
winner, Nonie Casselman-Reed of Hico, Texas, didn’t have to do a victory lap since her horse took a bow for all of
us to see. Pretty cool stuff.
Lots of halter and Pleasure Prelims Monday, as well as the Museum
Event, so I need to plan my schedule to make sure I have time to ride my horse!