Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Wrangler Patriot Program- Be Proud to Be an American

Wrangler jeans have been the iconic denim of the western community for decades. Bringing a combination of fashion and quality, Wrangler has become a symbol for the American Cowboy. Wrangler Brand is known for giving back to the community through charity drives such the Tough Enough to Wear Pink Clothing line, which helps fund breast cancer research and Rodeo Sponsorships, which help maintain the lifestyle of the American Cowboy. In spring 2010 the newest support from Wrangler was unveiled, the Wrangler National Patriot program.

Inspiring patriotism, Wrangler National Patriot lends a helping hand to families of fallen and wounded soldiers. A portion of each sale will go to charities supporting these efforts. National Patriot items include dress shirts for men and women, as well as fashion tees for women. The line will be distributed to select specialty shops only, and through Wrangler and local PRCA rodeo committees across the country.

Rods.com has the official line available now. Help support our veterans and active military personnel, by showing you are proud to be an American and you wear your patriotism with pride. Together we can make a difference and give back to those who have fought for our freedom.

Send us a picture of you in your Wrangler gear or comment below on your favorite Wrangler sponsorship program and why!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Tips on Finding a Horse Trainer

Achieving excellence in the equestrian show ring comes from many different sources. One of the most important sources is the horse trainer. Horse trainers specialize in many different styles and backgrounds, and can help you excel on many levels. Sometimes though, finding a horse trainer can be a struggle. When you start to look for a trainer, be prepared with a list of qualities and attributes you would like. Below you will find a short list to help get you started.

1. Qualifications- Be sure the expert you are hiring is qualified to help you and your horse succeed. Ask for a resume showing your trainer’s courses and schooling, and verify efforts he/she is making to keep up with rule changes and news through 4H and AQHA. Also ask what other horses he/she has trained and the accomplishments the rider and horse have achieved.

2. Background and References- It is important to ask for references. Speaking to past and present clients will help you figure out how he/she trains, associates, and works with others. A key component in choosing the right trainer is trust.

3. Specialty- Ask what riding discipline and what methods the trainer will be using. If you are set on natural horsemanship, be sure your trainer knows this and is familiar with it. The same goes for riding disciplines. You want to be sure your trainer is teaching you and your horse the riding style you want to excel in.

4. Personality- This may be the most important qualification in choosing a trainer. Be sure you like him/her. Does he talk to you in terms you can understand? Do you trust your life and your horse’s life in his hands? You need to be able to get along well with each other, and work professionally together.

Be prepared when looking for a trainer. There are plenty of good trainers and there is sure to be one that matches your needs. Your trainer may just be the deciding factor on how far you or your horse can go in the equestrian show circuit. Look for trust, dedication and passion. Your trainer should be dedicated enough to push you further (without pushing you or your horse too hard). Both rider and trainer should have a passion for horses and riding. It is dedication and passion that will help you succeed.

Good luck on the hunt for a new horse trainer. Pass this blog along to anyone who may find it useful and to any horse trainers out there!

Friday, June 11, 2010

How do You Add Up? Pointers for Equestrian Riding (psst…we asked the experts)

You’ve done the training, your horse is groomed, and schooling went okay, now it’s show time. Are you ready? You go into the show ring thinking, “How will I add up? And what is the judge looking for?” We’ve all been there, and wished we knew what the judge was thinking.

Here at Rod’s many people spend their time with horses. We have trainers, judges and riding experts. So, we’ve compiled some helpful hints from our experts to take with you in the show ring. We hope these help, and if you know someone who could benefit from them, pass this along. The goal is to make everyone the best rider they can be.

1. Appearance- Each rider, trainer and judge with whom we spoke to agree appearance makes at least 50% of the judging processes. Depending on the discipline in which you are showing, the appearance can be geared toward the horse or rider. Showmanship, Equitation and Horsemanship classes judge appearance on the handler or rider. Trail, Western Pleasure, Hunter and Under Saddle classes judge appearance primarily on your horse. However, in these classes the rider or handler is also judged on a smaller scale.

What the judge is looking for:

* Outfit- A proper fit is essential for show clothing. A well fitting outfit that is pressed, clean and color coordinated can make one stand out in the crowd. Always assume the judge is going to be looking at you from 50-100 feet at the judging table. You want an outfit that will compliment you and your horse’s features from a long distance, not only up close. Check out Rod’s blog “Show Stopping Colors” for what color looks good with your horse.

* Hat- Judges like to see a clean, shaped hat in the arena. The hat polishes your outfit and pulls the outfit together. Ask the hat shapers at your local tack shop to crease your hat according to the discipline in which you will be riding.

* Horse- Make sure your horse is clean and presentable. You’ll want to wash, clip, braid/ band, and enhance your horse’s features with Show Touch Up, Chalk or hoof polish as needed.

2. Presentation- The next most important point is presentation. Are you having fun riding your horse? If so, smile! The judges love to see you comfortably and genuinely smiling and having fun. If you are not showing, how fun it is to ride him? Why would the judges think he is fun to ride? This point is especially important in your Trail, Western Pleasure, and Hunter, Under Saddle classes. For pattern classes, presentation is judged by how you handle your horse. Always smile and show you are having a great time!

3. Elements in Riding- Know your stuff! Know what pattern you are performing or how to ask your horse what is expected of him. Judges like to see that you have a sharp, responsive horse and that you know how to handle him. Work with your horse to get the perfect end result.

4. Sportsmanship and Ring Etiquette- Show how you stack up against other competitors by sharing the ring, and riding cohesively. Be kind, courteous and helpful in the show ring and outside of the show ring. This shows that you are just as good at riding and competition as the next rider, but you have great personality and dedication to the sport you love.

We hope you have found our helpful hints of use. Please share these with your friends, students or other trainers. We would love to hear your thoughts. Please ask questions or leave comments below.