When is it appropriate to use a header at a show?

Miniature Horse Talk Forums

Help Support Miniature Horse Talk Forums:

KellyAlaska

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2011
Messages
87
Reaction score
1
Location
Fairbanks, AK
I have never shown at a driving show before so I am not sure of all the details. We have a very small show here in Fairbanks in August that has a driving class. They had one entry last year. LOL I would love to show my little horse this year if I can get him ready. He had been driving for about 2 years and has gone to AMHR Nationals and apparently was very successful. They did mention one thing that kinda has me worried. His previous owner mentioned that at Nationals he reared up during the line up. I am sure a very very small show and AMHR Nationals are two different things but that will be in the back of my mind. They were driving him pretty aggressively and had a pretty tight overcheck on him when they showed. He is a Western Country Pleasure horse and I think they wanted to try to create more action to show him in Country Pleasure classes. When I brought my Comfy fit harness for a fitting they had no idea what breeching was or why it was used. All winter I have been refreshing him on basic ground manners as he was quite pushy when I purchased him. I will be working all spring and summer on relaxation and a really solid stand in harness. He seems to have some anxiety and always shows me the whites of his eyes when I yell at him so I know he has been handled roughly. He is just now starting to come around and trust that I am not going to smack him or jerk him around. He was very aloof but obedient when he first arrived. He is now starting to enjoy my company and trust me.

The whole point of this long post is to ask more experienced drivers if it is appropriate to use a header for this show.

Thanks,

Kelly
 

kuelinkellyville

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2009
Messages
114
Reaction score
8
Location
Kellyville, Oklahoma
Headers can be used in all driving classes, and are a must in youth driving classes. So practice a lot with someone standing as header for you. It used to be that the header had to step back and let the judge walk between the header and the horse but now that has changed and the judge will walk around the header instead. Don't forget to practice the backing, they will need to back at least two steps for the judge and before you back look behind you for safety, a lot of people forget to do that. All this is AMHR rules by the way..

Danny
 

susanne

dB
Joined
Nov 30, 2002
Messages
5,285
Reaction score
314
Location
To your left
In the show ring, horses are asked to back in deep footing with no breeching, using the saddle to back the cart. It can be difficult for them to get the cart moving, so it's no wonder when they rear.

Headers are more common in breed shows as opposed to open and ADS type shows, but if it is a matter of you and your horse feeling more confident, I wouldn't worry about protocol and go for it.

Practice backing, in soft footing if possible, and continue to build his confidence and trust. To me, the partnership with your horse that is developed with driving is the true joy of it all.
 

MiLo Minis

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 12, 2004
Messages
3,608
Reaction score
0
Location
ON Canada
Headers are ALWAYS appropriate particularly if you feel the need for one to keep you safe. Your header should be ready and available to step in immediately when they call the horses to the center of the ring and he/she may have to speak to the ring steward to let him know they will need admittance to the ring at that point as not all shows call for headers to enter.
 

Barnmother

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 12, 2008
Messages
296
Reaction score
11
Location
Montana USA
We were always told to step our horses up a step or two before asking them to back, is this not allowed in AMHR? It was supposed to be the wakeup call that hey I am going to ask you to do something, get up on your feet.
 

Sandee

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 12, 2005
Messages
2,862
Reaction score
29
Location
Wisconsin
Barnmother, you can and I think it would be the best idea if they were all trained this way, but very few do this in the arena and particularly Nationals. If they changed that horse from going Western to Country with a tight overcheck, they probably did it with very little practice (training) and he/she was confused and upset by the overcheck and reared when the reins were tightened while asking for a back. There's another reason that horses rear when being asked to back and that is that they learn they can get away with "murder" IN FRONT of the JUDGE!
 

disneyhorse

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 30, 2002
Messages
5,382
Reaction score
192
Since your initial question seems to be asking when it's appropriate to have a header at an AMHR show,

I almost always use a header in breed shows unless it's a very seasoned show horse that I've driven plenty at shows and I know the horse will stand and back with no fuss.

At Amhr nationals, it's almost a custom to have a header no matter what!

Rearing is not uncommon for a green (first couple years in the ring) driving horse I've seen... There is a lot of anxiety and tight checks. It's not a "big deal" but not encouraged.

You sound like you're doing a great job so don't worry about it. Have a header, it will help calm your nerves and in turn your horse.

Andrea
 

KellyAlaska

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2011
Messages
87
Reaction score
1
Location
Fairbanks, AK
I think my original post was kinda confusing.
default_smile.png
I am asking about having a header at a small local non rated show. The show is held at our small state fair every year and they have one driving class that usually has one or no entries. Because no one really shows in driving classes here in Alaska no one really seems to know how the class works. I would like to have a header but obviously need to have someone ready if it is allowed. I guess I can always ask whom ever is planning the show as it gets closer. I have been asking about what to wear for the class and I think the girl that showed a Mini last year just wore black pants and a shirt or jacket. I am thinking about braiding my pony and trying out my new hat and apron. When we finally get back to the lower 48
default_thumbup.gif
I am planning on showing at the carriage driving shows and anywhere an overcheck is not required. I figured this will be a great opportunity to try to put together my turnout and see how it looks.
 

hobbyhorse23

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 27, 2004
Messages
7,805
Reaction score
36
Location
Lakeport, CA
KellyAlaska said:
I think my original post was kinda confusing.
default_smile.png
I am asking about having a header at a small local non rated show.
I don't think there was any confusion, Kelly.
default_smile.png
People are just replying that headers are generally allowed, required for youth in AMHR, and are up to the driver's discretion. If you want one, let them know you're going to have one and do it! Nobody should have a problem with it.

That said, I'll lay you even money your horse only reared because he had a tight check on. Some of those poor horses get so stressed and so confused when asked to back that way they can't help but go up! A proper reinback requires that the horse be able to round his back and step backwards with his legs moving in diagonal pairs...which requires he be able to put his head down. Sure they can learn to hollow out and scramble backwards which is what most of them do, but it's not natural for a horse and their first reaction to being asked to go back into what they feel is an immovable object is to say "I CAN'T go back!" Can't go forward, can't go back, so they go up. A horse who knows how to do it at home may still feel they can't at a show where the footing is deeper or the pads have been removed from their fine harness. Add the stress of Nationals, the long wait for the judges, etc., and it's not unusual at all. Doesn't mean he'll do it when you ask him to!

Barnmother said:
We were always told to step our horses up a step or two before asking them to back, is this not allowed in AMHR? It was supposed to be the wakeup call that hey I am going to ask you to do something, get up on your feet.
I don't know if it's allowed but it shouldn't be necessary. Your horse should be trained to "wake up" when you take up contact and you ought to be able to ask them to gather themselves and prepare to move forward without actually doing so. Backing is a forward movement so you ask the horse to go up into the bridle then keep your fingers closed and continue asking for movement until the horse steps backwards as being the only direction they can go. That's why they should move their feet in diagonal pairs, just as in a nice trot. No shuffling back one dragging foot at a time!

Leia
 

susanne

dB
Joined
Nov 30, 2002
Messages
5,285
Reaction score
314
Location
To your left
I still say, if you feel more comfortable with a header, then do it. I assume you are entering this class for experience and fun, not fame and glory or promoting a future breeding horse. What does it really matter if they don't approve?

As for clothing, Mingus and I were the one and only entry in a driving class at our VERY western county fair. I wore my apron, hat and gloves. A few looked at us like we were from outer space, but most were just concerned about their horses freaking out over a mini and a cart. I don't believe the judge had a clue about a driving class, but hey -- we had a great time, chunky rodeo footing and all
 

Marsha Cassada

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 20, 2005
Messages
9,759
Reaction score
9,575
Location
Southwest Oklahoma
I actually think a header looks professional. My sister does the header job for me. She wears a black grooming smock. A pet peeve of mine is the header that is tugging and pulling on the horse's head, chatting with the other headers and drivers, and generally creating a diversion from the entry. I think the header should stand calmly and quietly in front of the horse, ready to help if need be, but unobtrusive. It is also nice for the header to hold your ribbon after the judging so you can think about holding reins and not about gripping a ribbon.

The header should enter after the horses are lined up. If you are the only driver at a small local show, likely the announcer will not ask for headers to come in. Just have your header come in as soon as you are in line ready for the judge. If you are the only entrant and want to use a header, perhaps you should tell the steward or judge that you will be using one.
 

Latest posts

Top