Horsemanship has many paces and disciplines during Equestrian evaluations and competitions at the Gem/Boise County Fair and Rodeo on Monday, July 26.

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For the casual Fair and Rodeo spectator, the 2021 Gem/Boise County Fair and Rodeo may appear to get underway next week. For many of the 4-H kids and their families, however, the show begins this weekend.

If you have been through a 4-H program you would know that preparation is a key component to all projects so its only fitting that activities at the Gem County Fairgrounds begin Friday with a “clean up.”

Friday evening 4-Hers gather for a pre-fair orientation and then a general clean up so they can present their projects in the best possible environment over the next eight days.

Saturday morning the actual competition begins. At 8:30 a.m. the Dog Obedience/Showmanship takes place in the Expo Building. The Cat and Pocket Pet show will follow in the same location at 11 a.m.

While cats and dogs command the Expo Building on Saturday, horse exhibitors and competitors begin arriving at the Horse Barn to get it ready for a busy Sunday and Monday.

Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. all horses will undergo a veterinarian check and at 4:30 p.m. individual horses will each receive a thorough evaluation. This is all to ensure that horses and riders are in the best of health for the Monday competitions.

Monday, July 26, is truly Horse Day at the Gem/Boise County Fair.

Beginning at 8 a.m. the show begins in the main arena in front of the new grandstands. Seven different styles or disciplines of horse and rider performances will be evaluated. Awards will be handed out during the show so you won’t want to wander away while the program moves through its paces.

Horse Events

(in order of presentation)

Showmanship: This discipline focuses on the exhibitor’s ability to fit and show a horse at halter. Evaluation is made on the grooming and fitting of the horse and the expertise of the exhibitor in presenting the horse to the best of his or her ability. Contestants must work a predetermined pattern consisting of maneuvers such as walking, trotting, pivoting, backing and setting up.

n Bareback Equitation: This discipline examines the horse and the rider’s clothing, equipment, courtesy and poise as well as assess the seat, posture, head, legs, hands, balance, and distribution of weight of the rider in relation to the house. Standing, starting, walking, jogging or posting trot, figure-8 or equivalent at lope or canter from walk, stopping, turning, backing, general control are all considered. The horse should do what the rider asks with the least possible effort on the part of the rider and least amount of resistance from the horse.

Exhibitors may be asked to perform any test listed in equitation. Western riders must sit the jog or Intermediate gait.

n English Equitation: Several specific elements are considered in this discipline in addition to the basic standards required in the bareback.

The first is the English Equitation walk trot. The rider is evaluated on position while mounted and the ability to ride correctly. Prevision and smoothness while exhibiting poise and confidence, and maintaining a balanced, functional and fundamentally correct body position.

The English Pleasure walk trot evaluates horses on manners and suitability of the horse for a relaxed and slow but collected gate, along with calm and responsive disposition. The horse is to appear a “pleasure” to ride, smooth-moving and very comfortable.

The Hunter Hack English class is where exhibitors perform on the flat at a walk, trot, canter and hand gallop, and jump two low fences. Horses are judged on manners, and gait as well as their ability to jump with an even arc and stride over the center of the fences.

English Equitation Walk/Trot (over fences) tests the rider’s seat, hands and ability to control and show a horse jumping over fences. Riders are judged on their ability to establish an even hunting pace. Judges evaluate the methods used by the rider and the effectiveness of the rider in properly influencing the horse.

n In-Hand Trail: This is an in-hand test of horses control and the handlers’s ability to guide the horse safely through a series of obstacles. Handlers may wear Western or English attire.

n Trail: Trail horses must accomplish numerous obstacles such as passing through gates and crossing bridges. Trail judges focus on the skill of the horse to handle certain situations that might occur on an outdoor trail ride. Scoring is based on the horse’s willingness, east and grace in negotiating the course.

n Western Equitation: There are four separate disciplines within this one — similar to the break down of the English Equitation.

The Western Equitation Walk Trot sees the rider evaluation on position while mounted and ability to ride correctly. Precision and smoothness while exhibiting poise and confidence, and maintain a balanced, functional and fundamentally correct body position.

The Western Please Walk Trot evaluates horses on manners and suitability of the horse for a relaxed and slow but collected gait, along with calm and responsive disposition.

Western Riding calls for following a pattern laid out by colored cones. Evaluations are made on precise lead changes using both hind and front legs. Horses must also change gaits — from a walk to a jog to a lope. Western riding patterns are to challenge the rider to guide and control the horse through numerous lead changes.

Western Reining patterns challenge the rider to guide control every movement of the horse. Reining patterns may include stops, backup, pivot, spins, rollbacks, speed control and lead changes. Each horse is evaluated on movement, mastery of the patterns and attitude.

n Free Style Reining: In this discipline the rider will perform a reigning pattern incorporated with a costume and song of their choice. The pattern will last approximately 3 minutes and should include stops, backup, pivot or spin, rollbacks, speed control and lead changes.

Check out the full Fair Schedule included in the Gem/Boise Fair and Rodeo book included with this edition of the Messenger Index.

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