Monday, April 18, 2011

Bad Horsemanship? Tell me what you think!

Chicago Equestrian spent this past weekend at the Midwest Horse Fair at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, Wisconsin.

The weather was not the best, it was cold, it was rainy, it snowed, the wind whipped but there were lots of horses. Horses of every size, shape and color. Horses for every possible discipline, horse lovers of every age and every type flooded into the Alliant Energy Center.

There were some great clinicians like Mike Major and Steffen Peters. There were breed demonstrations, discipline demonstrations, clinics, a Grand Prix and shopping for every kind of horse paraphernalia. Read all about it at Chicago Equestrian.

There was also the worst demonstration of horsemanship that I have ever seen, The Liberty sessions. It actually made me sick to my stomach to watch. I think as horse owners and horse lovers we have all at one time or another been witness to a case of bad horsemanship. A frustrated rider overusing a crop, a handler being overly rough with a horse, etc.
However, these 'Liberty' sessions took bad horsemanship to a new extreme. Below is what was in The Midwest Horse Fair guide for an explanation of Liberty sessions.

One of the not to miss events during the Midwest Horse Fair includes the 18 different liberty presentations, which are spread throughout the entire weekend. A liberty appearance exhibits the beauty and elegance of each horse as they are individually turned loose in the John Deere Coliseum. They have two minutes to strut their stuff. Some horses may gallop wildly, others may buck and rear to test out their freedom, while others may go through their various gaits. All of this is performed without a saddle, bridle or halter. The horse enters the arena with up to two handlers. At the first sound of music, the halter is removed and the horse runs free in the arena demonstrating various gaits, or just trotting to the music. A whip may be used to encourage the horse, but the handler may not touch the horse during the performance. Music is selected that will enhance the performance and is chosen to suit the style and movement of each horse. Liberty means freedom and this is just what every horse loves to show off each year during the liberty presentations.
So, from the above description I was envisioning a couple different scenarios. Scenario 1: a girl and her horse playing in a field, innocence, beauty and grace. Scenario 2: A horse turned out in a safe environment to get his energy out. A few minutes of bucking, playing and running while surpvervised. Scenario 3: a horse and the handler working together at liberty, using voice and body language to convey meaning and to encourage deeper communication, trust and understanding between horse and handler.

Of the 12 examples of Liberty that I witnessed only once did one of these scenarios prove true.

The eleven other examples were of handlers scaring the crap out of their horses, of thousands of people screaming, of music so loud that some of these horses were terrified. The arena was ringed with temporary fencing that a horse could get a leg through, the footing was a sticky clay and I could imagine multitudes of soft tissue injuries, a well placed kick to one of the handlers any number of things could have gone wrong. It was just so ugly and sad and wrong.

A family affair? Great lesson for a young rider...

or this owner with a scary bag terrifying her Thoroughbred. I can only imagine what would happen if a bag happens to blow by when they are in the show ring...

'BAD' Liberty

I must give credit where credit is due. There was one owner who actually showed at Liberty work with her horse. She did a very good job of it and put all the others to shame.

'Good' Liberty

I would really love to hear what everyone else thinks of this display! Am I being overly critical? or do you agree on this awful display? Please leave your comments... I want to know! You can leave an anonymous comment or add your name.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Midwest Horse Fair Starts Tomorrow!

Hello there Chicago Equestrian fans!

Are you heading north to the Midwest Horse Fair this weekend? There is still plenty of time left to plan a fun, informative horse filled weekend!

There are some great clinicians lined up for all disciplines!
Nick Karazissis for the Hunter/Jumpers
Steffan Peters for the Dressage riders
The Parelli Event Team for the 3-Day Eventers

Plus plenty of others for every horse enthusiast: Western, trail, driving, Judging competitions, tons of Vet talks, Stallion revues and more!

Don't miss out on Saturday Night's Headline Feature:

The Nutrena $40,000  Grand Prix

Featuring some of the best and up and coming Chicago Area riders! Charlie, Maggie and Haylie Jayne, Catherine and Lauren Tyree, Catie hope, Laura Linbeck and Thomas Cerra, just name a few from this great lineup of riders. The John Deere Coliseum promises to be filled with the excitement of the Grand Prix Jumpers! You really do not want to miss this premier event.

For more information on The Nutrena $40,000 Grand Prix and the Midwest Horse Fair click HERE.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Midwest Horse Fair is almost here!!

Hey there Chicago Equestrian fans! Don't forget that the Midwest Horse Fair is almost upon us.

Get ready to head on up to The Aliant Energy Center located on the southern edge of Madison, Wisconisn for 3 days of horse filled excitement.

The Midwest Horse Fair® will take place Friday, April 15 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday, April 16 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday, April 17 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Coliseum will close at 5:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and will re-open at 6:30 p.m. for the evening shows. A separate ticket is required for the shows.

General Admission tickets to the Midwest Horse Fair® will be available during the event at the gate of the Alliant Energy Center. Tickets at the gate are $15 for a daily pass or $45 for a three-day pass – cash only.

The Friday PRCA Rodeo and Saturday Nutrena $40,000 Grand Prix public through Ticketmaster.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Ramping up for a great Show Season!

Chicago Equestrian is ramping up to get ready for a great show season!

Instead of us up on our horses, working on form and function over fences and on the flat we are hard at work on the website. Making it better and better everyday! Adding more sections, more advertisers, more FUN.

We have been busy, busy! Getting in updates from all the winter festivals down in Florida. Updating the directories... do you need to find a great trainer? Maybe a place to board your horse? or what about a judge for a local show you want to host? Well you can find all those things on the website!

What else have we been doing? Well, Brenda and Stephanie have been busy at the Apple store, we are working on perfecting the transfer of data so that we can have show updates and photos up on the website as quick as possible. Now, how cool would it be to have photos and updates on the website from the shows within an hour or two? What about getting home from the shows and seeing all the re-caps there that same day? Well, that's something we are hard at work on.

Everyone is ramping up for the show season! The riders, the horses, the trainers, the show producers, the judges and even Chicago Equestrian!

See you at the horse shows :)