Summer means the world’s most versatile ranch horse is coming to Bowling Green, Kentucky! The 10th annual ARHA World Championship Show was held at the Western Kentucky Ag Expo Center, July 7- 12. The American Ranch Horse Association (ARHA) provided an opportunity for Ranch Horse fans and equine enthusiasts to watch hundreds of ARHA Ranch Horses from throughout the nation display their talent and versatility.
The six day event focused on open, amateur, youth and novice competition. Spectators saw Ranch Horses performing in classes ranging from cattle and performance classes to speed events and conformation. In keeping with the concept to promote the all-around versatile ranch horse ARHA will also held a Junior and a Senior Ranch Horse Challenge. This 5 -class event provided an opportunity to showcase the talents of our ranch horses.
The annual ARHA World Championship Show isn’t just about competition – Good Times, Great Friends & Excellent Horses is the real theme.
I set certain goals for myself at the ARHA World Show. One was to ride within my abilities and the training of my horse. I got that accomplished. We competed well in the classes we were most prepared for and could have been better at others except for goal 4. Number two was to learn from watching, asking questions of others, and the experience of competing at that level. I feel good about # 2, check that one off the list. Number three was to have fun competing and enjoy the camaraderie of my friends. Blew that one out of the water! Number four was to control nerves, not make mental mistakes in the classes I was unsure about and stay controlled in execution of maneuvers. Number 4 was a glorious failure. Suffered major brain freeze, fought nerves like wrestling a grizzly bear and made too many mental mistakes. Add up the score and it’s a 75%, a passing grade. Not bad for my first major test on a national stage. Watch out next year!
“Handy and I are finally home from ARHA World Show. After a little rest it was time to start preparing for the ranch roping clinic at the state 4-H show coming up and for the inaugural Fundamental of Western Horsemanship at Diamond TR.
I believe I’ve got me a working cow horse started, reining pattern needs some work. We did as well as we’re prepared for. A solid foundation in the fundamentals got us through a course in which there were numerous DQ’s. In the Ranch Cutting the competition sure made us step up our game. Handy and I had a great time, we’ve made great progress and enjoyed the challenge!” ~ Steve
I am a believer in using all the natural aids we have at our disposal to communicate to our horses what we want them to do. The natural aids are hands, seat, and legs. The next principal in successful horsemanship is to give cues to the horses in a consistent manner. Horses must learn from repetition. The third principal in successful horsemanship is to apply the aids (pressure) and release immediately when the horse responds. To successfully apply these principals the rider must be balanced on the horse. One of the biggest problems I see with riders is an improper seat. Things that contribute to this are improper stirrup length, poor posture, lack of confidence, and not enough hours in the saddle.
The horse has the job of carrying the rider, but it is difficult for him to be very comfortable if the rider is “sloshing” around like water in a rolling barrel. The better balanced a rider is, the better balanced his horse can be, and the easier his movement. When the rider makes it easier for the horse to perform, there’s less resistance, so both the horse and rider enjoy a far more comfortable and enjoyable ride.
Steve Jones with participants at a clinic during Celebration of the Horse, El Paso, AR
After 33+ years with LSU and Arkansas Extension Services, I am retiring. I want to pursue my passion for horses and teaching folks how to improve their horsemanship. Steve Jones Horsemanship is my new equine related company. So, starting July 2, I am available for group workshops, semi and private lessons.
On May 31, 2014 Steve conducted a horsemanship clinic during Equine Quick Response’s Celebration of the Horse event in El Paso, Arkansas. The event was held in the state of the art arena at the Crossroads Cowboy Church Two Bar Two arena. The clinic kicked off the regional equine exhibition with 13 participants of a variety of riding levels. The clinic subject was “From the Ground to the Saddle”, which focuses on rider/horse connection and communication. Participants enjoyed group as well as individual instruction and work with their horses. The event was enjoyed by all and was very successful! It is always deeply rewarding to be a part of watching riders from a variety of riding levels, as well as horses from a variety of training levels, come together in a group training situation such as this and see all of them come away with something positive and valuable to their horse/human relationships.
In the photo: All 13 participants of the Steve Jones Horsemanship Clinic during Celebration of the Horse @ the Crossroads Cowboy Church/2 Bar 2 Arena, El Paso, AR. Great folks and horses!