Showing clinic illustrates level of professionalism needed to succeed in the show ring

There’s no news yet of any members who travelled to Annagry for Sunday’s show jumping but eight mounted members participated in a very entertaining showing clinic at Glenleary on Friday evening.

Mary Finneran began the session with a talk on all aspects of the discipline. From conditioning the horse to tailoring the turn-out, she presented a pretty daunting picture of the effort required to be successful in the show ring. Eyebrows were raised at the required amount of “condition” which is deemed desirable in show horses but the same eyebrows were raised yet higher as the discussion moved on quite naturally to the appropriateness of thongs in the showing wardrobe.

With everybody feeling decidedly under dressed for the occasion, a motley collection of eight specimen show horses were mounted for the “showing class”. Ex-racehorses Tom and (Suzanne’s) Jack paraded their stuff next to Connemara Dante, Anglo-Arab Mai, Irish Draught Daisy, and sport horse/hunters Molly, Britney and (Laura’s) Jack. Mary gave great guidance on ring craft while helping each individual to improve their horse’s way of going. Jenny was the judge’s steward for the evening and kept the exhibitors on their toes as she quietly conveyed Mary’s instructions.

At the end of the class it was Dante who took the top placing with Mary selecting him for the consistently pleasing picture of horse and rider that Rachel had managed to present through all four paces. Meanwhile, at the other end of the line, Libby’s already jaundiced view of the show ring was further coloured by being placed a well-deserved last on Mai for “dangerous behaviour”. (She’s considering slipping Kevin McGuinness a gum shield before he takes the ride at the Beach Show next Sunday.)

The session ended with a discussion of the most suitable classes for each horse in the ring and Mary was encyclopaedic in her knowledge of the characteristics that constitute each type of show animal. To the frustration of a few people, it was clear that there are horses that fall between two stools — there just isn’t a class for everybody.

Thanks to Martina for arranging a great evening and providing the refreshments and to Mary for sharing a lifetime’s knowledge and experience.

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