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Summer Sizzler Stock Horse Show
On June 8 and 9, the Tennessee Stock Horse Association kicked off their summer show season with the 2013 Summer Sizzler Stock Horse Show at Clearview Farms in Shelbyville, Tenn. The weekend began with an all-day riding clinic on Saturday and concluded with the show on Sunday. The clinic featured Charlie Hutton, a world-class horse trainer who breeds and trains performance Quarter Horses at Riverdale Farms in Fayetteville, Tenn.
“Charlie Hutton has been in the horse business – I won’t say since Moses, but he probably gave him his first horse,” TnSHA Show Manager Patrick Kayser said at the clinic. “He’s a great horseman. If you want to talk about horses, he has years of understanding [to share]. He is a great resource for TnSHA.”
During the morning session, Hutton focused on various aspects of reining by guiding the riders through turnarounds, flying lead changes, and stops. He demonstrated the maneuvers on his own horse, Corona Extra Chex, a 2007 AQHA palomino stallion by Nu Chex to Cash and out of Kings Gold Cody.
“My spins and turnarounds are a direct result of my guiding and warm-up programs,” Hutton said. Using Corona Extra Chex as a model, Hutton demonstrated the importance of pushing the horse into the bit with your legs at the walk, trot, and lope in order to gain flexion at the poll. He also encouraged the riders to trot serpentines, exercises which can be used “at home, on the grass, if the ground’s not good, at a horse show – anywhere.” After demonstrating, he watched every rider trot serpentines, pointing out ways riders could improve or alter methods to suit the particular movements of the horse. Every rider had the opportunity to try out different exercises in the course of the clinic and benefit from one-on-one interaction with Hutton.
While the afternoon session was spent on cow work, the reining segment in particular resonated well with clinic participants and TnSHA members Brook Davis and Dee Hess.
“I would say that what we did in the clinic correlates directly to what you do in the show,” Davis said. “I watched people who didn’t have such great turnarounds [in the clinic] and their horses were turning around better in the reining classes. Even if you don’t do a whole pattern in the clinic, you get the pieces and you can put them together in the show-pen. It’s very helpful.”
Davis, who has been riding and competing in various disciplines for six years, attended the clinic with her six-year-old American Quarter Horse mare, Izzy. On Sunday, Davis and Izzy competed in the stock horse show for only the second time in their careers and placed first in the novice reining.
Dee Hess, of Kingston, Tenn., also enjoyed the clinic. Hess has been competing in stock horse shows for approximately three years with her six-year-old American Paint Horse gelding, FK Black Magic, or “Cash.”
“[Charlie] had a lot of good beginning information, breaking the horse’s maneuvers down,” Hess said. “He was very clear and concise, and there was a lot of interaction. Everybody was willing to jump in and try out what he was giving the instruction on. You could tell he had many years of experience.”
In the course of the clinic, Hutton passed on a lot of wisdom to the participants, and not just about how to get a good turnaround out of your horse.
“Wherever you want to go, you have to start from where you’re at,” Hutton explained. “Good horsemen and horsewomen are always working to get better. There’s no such thing as a plateau. You’re either sliding back or going forward.”
That kind of philosophy encapsulates what’s at the heart of the American Stock Horse Association: a desire to learn, progress, and develop as riders and trainers of today’s stock horse.
“You can’t become a better horseperson unless you’re willing to learn,” Hess said. “It’s a lifetime learning experience. The clinics and learning opportunities are one of the main reasons that I was drawn to TnSHA, because I knew nothing about ranch work, cow working, and reining when I started.”
In previous years, Hess has competed in the novice division. The Summer Sizzler marked her first time to compete in the limited non-pro division with Cash, which was “kind of intimidating” for her.
“There’s a lot of good people in [the limited non-pro],” Hess said. “Coming from the novice, it felt like a big step up. We did a lot of practicing. The camaraderie in that organization and the fellowship – everybody was very helpful. When you’re out there riding and doing well, they’re really supportive. You can hear them hollering [for you].”
All ASHA shows feature competition at the open, non-pro, limited non-pro, green, novice, and youth levels in Pleasure, Reining, Trail, and Working Cow Horse. The show on Sunday was officiated by Roger Elder of Maryville, Tenn., and nearly forty horse/rider pairs competed, according to Patrick Kayser, who served as show manager for the event.
“I was very pleased with the turn-out for the show,” Kayser said. “We had several new faces and several riders from out of state.”
The weekend included tough battles for the all-around titles in all divisions. Shon Wilson, from Rainsville, Ala., and Zach Johnson from Hernando, Miss., competed for the open all-around title through the final event, with Wilson emerging as the victor. Fran Bowers of Kingston, Tenn., won the limited non-pro title, while Lisa Jones won all-around in the non-pro division. Hugh Dunn was named reserve non-pro all around winner due to his victory in the working cow class, which served as the tie-breaker. Kelsey Graham won her first all-around youth title with her spotted saddle horse mare, Flower.
Upcoming TnSHA events include a show at Jeff King Stables in Arrington, Tenn., July 13 and 14, and a fall festival show at Clearview Farms in Shelbyville, Tenn., September 28 and 29. Check out the Tennessee Stock Horse Association on Facebook for more details.
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