I know this photo is blurry but look at the angle of the hoof in the lead horse. Crazy, huh?
I always enjoy watching the high action driving classes. I've never driven a horse and would like to someday.
When the class is released pending the results, the headers, or handlers, come out to hold the horses. They always wear white lab coats.
The next class up was the Sweepstakes Junior horse English pleasure class. These horses are 4 years and under and are ridden in snaffles and manyhad running martingales.
I believe there were ten horses in this class (finalists) and they represented 10 states and countries including Canada. The winner of this class received a hefty check~see how big it is?~ of $40,000!!!And here is the winner!!! The groomer did an excellent job turning this one out! ;) He was gorgeous!!!
This guy sat above us in the bleachers and got up every hour to buy hot dogs, popcorn, and drinks. He was either completely bored or terribly cold. Did I mention how cold it was? In the line up, steam was coming off the sweating horses and blowing from their noses. We had blankets from our car and I was still cold. The next class is a Scottsdale favorite. I don't know if they do this class in any other shows because I've never seen it before Scottsdale. It is called Liberty and they bring horses out one at a time and turn them loose. There are two groundspeople with whips and they make the horses run around. My daughter groaned when she heard this and said, "what, is that all they're going to do?" Afterwards, she admitted how much fun it really was.
The crowd gets very excited, yelling and screaming at the horses and the horses seem to thoroughly enjoy their freedom as they prance and run around to the music playing in the background.
The food guy actually came down from the stands and participated in this class when his horse came in. He whooped and hollered as much as he could to give the horse added incentive to run harder.
Look at the incredibly long tail on this one!
I love this one's mane!I've seen this class twice and I still don't quite know what the judges are looking for. Some of the horses run and run, like the Black stallion. Some do beautiful floating trots. Some like to spin and wheel or buck. Some like to interact and play with their handlers. These are the crowd favorites. They run hard and come back to the handler and interact with them. At the end, when the music stops and the handler picks up the halter, they come right up to be caught, knowing the game is over. These are the crowd favorites~ spirited, wild, beautiful, AND people oriented. And these are not the judges' favorites. There was a lot of booing at the scores on some of the horses.
Check out the mane on this one!!! Funny, isn't it?
Always a crowd favorite, the Native Costume class was next. I was dismayed to find there were only two horses in the class. It seems that Friday night there was also a costume class which we missed because it came after the park class and I am used to park being the final class in shows. I don't know how many horses were entered in that one. In the Nationals I've been to there is always 15 - 20+ horses entered.
Not unexpectedly, it was a short class, which was good because everyone was feeling so cold and it was getting late. Surprisingly, one of the riders fell off just before lineup. It seems that her saddle stirrup broke.
To be continued...