Arabian Community Tournament Shows
APAHA has adapted it’s own version of the ASHA Academy Program. Read the following to learn more about this exciting new program
“The American Saddlebred Horse Association Academy Awards program encourages and recognizes juveniles and adults participating in academy classes at horse shows throughout the country. Academy classes create an opportunity for beginning saddle seat riders to develop and fine- tune their horsemanship skills, sportsmanship, and appreciation for the American Saddlebred.
An Academy class is any class offered at a local tournament in which two or more stables are participating, or any class at an open show that is designated “academy.” Participants compete on horses designated as school horses, or horses that are regularly used in riding lesson program instruction. Acceptable riding attire is jodhpurs or dark pants, boots and dress shirt or a sweatshirt bearing the stable’s logo. Riding suits are unacceptable, and hard hats are optional.”
At ﬁrst glance, one might think that we could just adopt this Academy program into our own breed, and in fact some shows have tried in the last few years, but the wheel was not tweaked enough to accommodate several crucial points, and the classes have not yet taken off.
1. One of the biggest components behind the success of the Academy program has been that horses of ANY breed may be shown in the Saddlebred’s Academy classes, as long as they were from a lesson program. To the best of our knowledge, when these types of Academy classes have been offered so far at Arabian Class A shows, they have been open to Arabian and Half Arabian horses only.
The simple fact is that this, yet again, has left us showing our great horses ONLY to ourselves. We MUST give participants that have not yet experienced an Arabian horse a REASON to come to our horse shows.
2. Our Arabian horses are a versatile breed that encompasses all seats of riding. The Saddlebred Academy program focuses almost exclusively on Saddle Seat riding; the suggested ACT classes incorporate classes and opportunities for hunt seat and western seat, as well as Saddleseat, in order for it to be right for our Arabian community.
It’s a point of fact that over 50% of new Arabian horse owners are second-time horse owners, or what some call “step up” horse owners, who have found the Arabian horse after having owned another breed or cross-breed. In order for these proposed ACT classes to be able to ﬁll and immediately bring new owners and riders and showmen to our Arabian horse shows, it will be crucial that ANY horse of any breed, or no breed, be able to be shown in these classes.
While many Arabian trainers and farms around the country have begun riding lesson programs, the simple fact is that we don’t currently have an existing “core” of constituents to automatically ﬁll these classes when we add them, so we are going to have to make it as easy, affordable and as attractive as possible for riders on other breeds of horses to come experience an Arabian horse show for a day.
There are several crucial points that horse show committees and managers should understand.
1. These are NON-RECOGNIZED, NON SANCTIONED classes.
2. These are suggested classes only, in that every individual show can combine or split them according to their own demographics—the only thing to keep in mind is that we need to give riders enough incentive to come, which means at least two classes per rider.
3. The goal is to give new, non-Arabian owners and riders a reason to come to an Arabian venue, and to make this as in-affordable and easy for them as possible.
4. APAHA pledges our support to help Class A Shows around the country get these classes ﬁlled and sponsored through outreach to our peers and through them to all-breed lesson programs in each individual area.
5. These classes are NOT meant to replace existing AHA sanctioned classes such as Walk Trot for 10 and under that qualify riders for Regional and National classes, or 6 and under Leadline that is focused solely around the young children.
Introduction to APAHA Arabian Community Tournament Shows, or ACTS.
In an effort to promote growth at the base of people interested in participating in the showing of Arabian horses, we propose a program to be installed at the Class A level horse shows. This program, while similar to the Academy program, is meant to incorporate more of the versatility of styles of riding that the Arabian horse can provide, by offering not only saddle seat but hunt seat and stock seat classes as well.
The purpose of this division is to introduce potential new owners to the joys of showing and riding Arabian horses by giving beginning riders of any breed an opportunity to gain experience by offering beginner classes at our Arabian Class A horse shows.
Riders are encouraged to be in a professionally operated lesson program and to be a member of AHA, with neither being required. Riding suits and chaps are not allowed. Riding pants, jodhpurs, breeches or colored jeans are considered appropriate. A neatly ﬁtted shirt or top is suggested. A riding helmet is also mandatory for riders 10 and under and suggested for all ages. Appropriate footwear with a small heel is mandatory. Riders are NOT allowed to cross enter into any non-academy riding classes, and are ineligible to compete in ACT classes once they have shown in a full riding suit or in a Class A Arabian horse show.
Horses are encouraged to be lesson horses of any breed and should display the characteristics of such, but it is not mandatory that they are utilized by in a professional lesson—all horses are welcome, as long as they display good manners and a quiet disposition. A cut-back saddle for saddle seat, western saddle for stock seat, and hunt saddle for hunt seat are to be used. Work bridles and bits, including snaffles, are allowed, and
running martingales are permitted and encouraged. However, tie down martingales are not allowed. Any horse or rider that is deemed unsafe or is not abiding by these rules may be eliminated by the horse show management.
APAHA ACTS entries are to follow horse show rules but are not AHA or USEF sanctioned classes. Show grooming is permitted, but not necessary as HORSES ARE NOT TO BE JUDGED.
All ACTS classes are to be judged on the ability of the rider to control and show their horse to its best advantage, and upon the riding skills of the rider. Each class should be judged on the rider’s basic equitation and horsemanship skills suited to the class discipline, with emphasis placed on the rider’s ability to control the horse at all times, identify correct diagonals and leads promptly, and to control their horses rate in a consistent manner. Riders should convey the impression of good posture, balance, and effective control while commanding proper speed of gaits and show ring placement. Headers are allowed in the line up in all walk-trot classes. HORSES ARE NOT TO BE JUDGED, only the rider’s ability to control themselves and their horses and present themselves to their best advantage.
PROPOSED INTRODUCTORY CLASS LIST OF ACTS CLASSES for existing Class A shows:
Leadline Walk Trot: Open to ALL ages. Riders in this class may not cross enter into any other ACT class, but the horses may. This class is meant to be an introductory experience for any age rider to safely get those ﬁrst few horse show classes under their belt.
Hunt Seat Walk Trot Equitation
Western Walk Trot Equitation
Saddleseat Walk Trot Equitation
Walk/ Trot Equitation Championship All Seats
Hunt Seat Walk/Trot/Canter Equitation
Saddleseat Walk/Trot/Canter Equitation
Western Seat Walk/Trot/Canter Equitation
Walk/ Trot/ Canter Equitation Championship All Seats
Walk/Trot Horsemanship Pleasure for All Seats
Walk/Trot/Canter Horsemanship Pleasure All Seats
Horsemanship Pleasure is meant to differ from the equitation class in that it is judged more on the rider’s ability to display their horse to its best advantage, communicating to the judge through their horsemanship and riding abilities that the horse is a pleasure to ride and can be guided and set up to show to its best advantage.
Horses can cross enter in ANY ACT classes, but riders may not cross enter between the Leadline Walk/Trot, the Walk / Trot Equitation, or the Walk/Trot/Canter classes.
In an effort to encourage family participation, and the opportunity for people to come to our Arabian shows for just one day, management is encouraged to hold these classes within one or two sessions on a weekend day. As well, as these are UNSANCTIONED classes, they could conceivably even hold these classes in another ring besides the main one if ring scheduling is an issue, and utilize a volunteer judge from among the exhibitors showing in the rated classes if time constraints for the rated judge become tight. Again, since these classes are unsanctioned, a judge’s commentary or oral reasons could be employed and encouraged, meant to encourage and educate the riders in each division. If management ﬁnds that t some classes don’t ﬁll, seats can be combined with few time restrictions except those necessary as a courtesy to exhibitors.
Hopefully, the day will come quickly where these nine introductory ACT classes will require ﬂeshing out. APAHA is pledging to Class A Show managers throughout the country that if you will build this, we will come. We’re committed to calling, cajoling, and supporting the effort, both economically and through outreach to our peers across the country to help ﬁll these classes THIS YEAR, if you will simply give us the venue to get some new eyes and bodies into our barns, show rings and spectator stands at our Arabian Shows. Our sincerest hope is that this article is in time for clubs and Show Managers around the country to still implement these classes for the up-coming show season. If you have questions or would like to talk further about it, please call Rob Bick – 910-279-5289