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Dear Dana: Do you have budget tips for my show plans this year?

By DANA HOKANA / Horsetrader columnist - March 31st, 2010 - Q&A Dear Dana

DEAR DANA: I really want to show more than I did last year, but cost is a factor for me. Do you have any budget tips for the adult amateur?
–Betty Nugent, Arizona

DEAR BETTY: Many people are watching their costs of showing this year, and I don’t know a lot about you, but I can tell you some things that my clients and I are doing to watch our spending:

1. Get your goals in mind and only go to shows that will support you reaching your goals.

2. Do your best to go and show where you are giving yourself the best shot to be successful. I look at things like (1) the judges (Are they good for you and your horse?), (2) the facility (Is it one that you can prepare your horse well to be successful? and (3) the classes (Are they good-sized so you get the points that you want or need?)

3. Check prices carefully. I just recently considered going to an out-of-state show because the stalls and entry fees were less than at my local shows. The RV spots were also a lot less. By the time I factored in the extra fuel and travel time, I figured I would still spend less than at a local show and I knew the classes were big and there would be a lot of points. So, carefully check all fees — including all the little charges.

4. Do your best to have your horse really schooled and ready before you go so that you reap the most success that you possibly can.

5. You may consider smaller, one-day shows that you can go to. Close to where I live, there are many local organizations that give great year-end awards. You may choose to go for some of those year- end awards and forego some longer breed shows.

Hope these tips give you help! Good luck to you.

DEAR DANA: In your DVD,  you say the horse can get “clutchy”… could you explain what that means?   Is it the movement of the horse?
— Tonya Schnell, Boonville, MO

DEAR TONYA: “Clutchy” is a word that I have used for years, somewhat mindlessly because obviously many people don’t know what it means.  I would guess “clutchy” came from someone incorrectly using the clutch in a car, where they would surge forward and backward and be rough or not very smooth!  But my definition of “clutchy” is a horse that feels the pressure of the leg and shuts down or “clutches” through his movement.  I believe that incorrect use of spur control has created a lot of horses with this appearance. Most horses that become “clutchy” through their legs and in their movement will also become tight or intimidated-looking in their head and neck. One of the challenges of correct spur control is to prevent our subtle leg cues from being evident through the horse’s profile and movement.  A “clutchy” horse will often tell on the rider through his legs, his head, and his neck.  This usually stems from a lack of acceptance to the leg cue.

I hope this answered your question!


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