AQHA Judge Kendra Weis Breaks Down Congress Equitation Pattern
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AQHA Judge and Trainer Kendra Weis pictured with youth client Rachael Tearney who was a 2011 Youth World finalist in the Hunt Seat Equitation with her horse, Sonnys Hot Valentine. Photo © Mary Bluhm

AQHA World and Congress Champion trainer and judge, Kendra Weis, took time out of her busy schedule to break down the Congress 15-18 Youth Equitation pattern. Weis has also judged the AQHA World Championship show, so she knows what is expected at the highest levels of competition. 

Weis has a training operation in Moberly, Missouri where she concentrates on preparing all-around horses. Her client, Katie Jo Jones and her horse, Mostly Chocolate, most recently were 2011 AQHYA Reserve World Champions in the Horsemanship. Some of her clients include Kody Zaagman, Cara Walker, and Ashley and Jessie Hadlock.

We thought it would be beneficial to our readers to find out from an AQHA Judge whose customers have had success in this class, how the patterns should be executed. Weis' customers have done well in the Equitation at the Congress and World Show level.

As far as why GoHorseShow chose the 15-18 Youth Equitation pattern, we wanted to breakdown the harder patterns because the easier patterns have many of the same maneuvers.

We would also like to thank for letting us post the pattern in the article as well as provide a link to the pattern. Please print out the pattern and follow along or click here to open the pattern in a new window.

Major Tips from Kendra Weis:

When judging a Hunt Seat Equitation class, I look at the pattern as a test for the exhibitor to see where their skill level is toward the advancement to the ultimate goal of over fence classes. It is very important that the exhibitor read the AQHA rulebook for this event because this is the guidelines for judges.

As I look at the 2011 Congress equitation pattern, I would tell my customers the following:

  • Know the pattern by heart and execute it as written
  • Ride forward with a purpose
  • Pattern needs to be free flowing and smooth
  • Don't give away easy points
  • Know where you and your horse shine and excel
  • Remember there are many exhibitors so you have to SELL your performance to the judge.

    As a judge, this is what I am looking for:

  • Find the straight lines in the pattern based on A and B.
  • This pattern will really test the exhibitor's ability. Starting at A, be one step behind A so you can insure that you are already in a sitting trot at A. Ease into the sitting trot using your seat as this will show me who is in rhythm with their horse. Know where the center is as you pick up the right diagonal. I am counting one, two, one, two to ensure the diagonal and rhythm stay the same.
  • Approaching B--I am looking for a timely soft transition using my eyes to establish a line a few strides past B. The canter should be flowing forward and horse and rider should be in rhythm. Using your eyes then looking with your body is very important as you approach the turn.
  • You then should round the corner using A and B as guidelines in the working canter--then easing up to a two-point position that should illustrate your ability to make the transition smooth with an increase of pace and lengthening of stride. It is very important to have your eyes up and forward as there are no cones to guide you---just A and B. (Photo © Hollie Byers--Rachael Tearney at World Show)
  • Catching the left diagonal is tricky, however, picking up the left diagonal on the rise is the easiest way from the hand gallop. The approach to the stop needs to be centered, straight, and soft. Take a deep breath here and settle your horse. Have a soft and straight back and know what one horse length is.
  • After the back, steady your horse and softly go into your right forehand turn. Again, I cannot stress enough how important it is to be exact with your cues in order to be in the correct position at the end of your pattern.
  • Exit at a trot, and remember this is the last look before the judges mark their score to your performance. Make sure you maintain good equitation position.
  • You are now ready to show in the 15-18 Hunt Seat Equitation at the Congress.

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