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Windt im Wald
A Wind in the Woods
Geauga County, Northeast Ohio
since 1995

Introduction to the Arabian Sport Horse

by Elizabeth Salmon Equine Consultant

Reprinted with permission of Elizabeth Salmon

What is an Arabian Sport Horse ? How does it differ from any other representative of the breed ? An Arabian Sport Horse is an Arabian with correct conformation and movement to perform in the sporting events, such as Dressage, Jumping, Eventing,

Clare with MM Cylent Partner+/ showing the 'open' position for in hand Sport Horse classes.

Clare riding MM Cylent Partner+/ 2001 & 2002 Champion Half Arabian Sport Horse under Saddle. 2002 Reserve Champion Half Arabian Sport Horse in hand. 2002 Region IX Champion Training Level and First Level Dressage. 2002 Top ten First level US Nationals. 2002 USDF and USAE Half Arabian Dressage Horse of the Year. Owned by Clare Salmon.

Clare riding BSA Steel Magnolia+-top five Region IX Sport Horse under Saddle. Two Championships in Halter and many wins including Scottsdale. 2002 Top Ten First Level US Nationals. Owned by Trish Seale.

The 2002 Scottsdale Sport Horse Champion Pure bred stallion Dervatiw Gwyddion, winner of several dressage classes. Ridden by Patience Prine-Carr and owned by David and Jean Peck.

Endurance and Racing. Or any of the Working Western classes for that matter. The object of these classes is to give a very careful and valid evaluation through scoring of a horse's conformation and movement, establishing its potential for the sport categories Form to function is emphasized throughout, with correct gaits contributing to the ease in training and the horse remaining sound and useable.

There have been several Halter winners who could easily win a Sport Horse Class and it would be great for some to do so. The judges are looking for very correct conformation and free, straight and fluid movement. Type as a criteria does not come into the picture. However, overall breed characteristics come under the final score section, so it means that possibly a plainer, but more correctly conformed horse can be placed over a typier one with conformation faults. Therefore, tail carriage is also not a compelling factor. The flatter croup also, does not lend itself generally to Sport Horse Performance with a rounder croup being more desirable. Correct structure and sufficient bone of the legs is vital, particularly in the front legs, since sixty percent of the horse's weight is placed upon them. Blemishes do not count unless resulting from conformation faults.

Horses of all bloodlines have been successful, but the Crabbet horses seem to have somewhat come to the fore. However, the 2002 Scottsdale Sport Horse Stallion Champion Dervatiw Gwyddion (AJ Ibn Negatiw x Dervona) was of all Polish bloodlines. I think it's early days to see a specific pattern of successful bloodlines, but those stallions who are successful in dressage, jumping, racing and endurance should prevail.

The Halter classes are divided into Arabian and Half-Arabian/Anglo Arabian, with a suggested class list of Sport Prospects two and under, three and four year olds and five and over. Geldings may be shown with colts until three years of age, but the different sexes may not be shown in the same class.

One of the great advantages of these in hand classes is that many more owners can show their own horses. Showmanship does not come into it at all (and indeed should not in all halter classes in any event). However, the handler must train the horse appropriately and see that it stands in the correct way and show it moving freely and straight at the walk and trot. The handler should of course be neatly and appropriately dressed. The horse need not be highly conditioned either, as is required in open Halter classes.

So what is the correct way of standing the horse ? It is known as the open position, where the hind leg nearest the judge is back as in normal halter classes, but the front leg on the opposite side from the judge is also back, so that all four legs are visible.

The horses are shown on a triangle of specific measurements. A small triangle of 15 x15 x 15 meters, within the larger triangle of 30 x 30 x 30 Meters. The judge stands at the apex to view the horse standing up, as well as when observing the movement. Upon command from the judge, the handler is instructed to walk the small triangle encouraging the horse to lengthen the stride across the middle. The judge will be looking for elasticity, use of the back, and tracking up well, which means the hind hoof print should go beyond the front hoof print by at least six to eight inches. Having completed the walk, the horse is then asked to trot the larger triangle, again lengthening the stride across the base finally ending up at the apex.

At the trot, the horse should be lightly on the bit with a rounded back, the hind legs coming forward and driving well under the body, and sufficient freedom in the shoulder and elbows. The judge is then able to view the horse in walk and trot from the front, rear and side. It is all done very quietly, with horses aged three years old and upwards encouraged to come on the bit in a snaffle bridle. A bridle is optional for two year olds, but yearlings must be shown in plain, leather stable halters. The judge may ask a competitor to repeat part or all of the movements, in order to get a good look at the horse's action from all angles. Both the walk and the trot should be well balanced with active regularity.

The scoring for in hand are similar to dressage scoring, each section being marked from one to ten points. Comments are written down on the score sheet by the judge's scribe as the horse progresses through the triangle . This is also very educational and beneficial for the owner, in other words, a fair and constructive critique, with serious leg and other faults being noted as well as the good points. The percentage of marks is Conformation 40 %; Movement 40%; Expression, Manners, Willingness 10% ; Overall breed characteristics, Quality, Balance, and Harmony 10% . The owners receive their score sheet when the results have been calculated at the end of each class. The winner is the one with the highest percentage. A dressage or hunter/jumper judge is required for the class to count at a class 'A' show.

The Arabian Sport Horse performance classes are held just like a normal under saddle class, entering the ring counterclockwise. They are to be shown at the walk, trot, canter and hand gallop both ways of the ring and to stand quietly and back readily. The judging criteria is on performance, manners, conformation, quality and suitability as a working Sport Horse. Each gait being

considered and judged equally. Riders wear dressage or hunt attire. They have now added Sport Horse Show Hack, and the first Sport Horse Nationals will be held in September 2003.

I doubt that the Sport Horse in Hand classes will ever reach the same status as the regular Halter Classes, but the enjoyment and satisfaction to the owners will more than make up for that. It would be really wonderful to see these classes take off, filling a much needed gap for those who want a fair and unbiased opinion of their horses.







Sample IAHA exhibitor score card



A Report on the State of Crabbet/Old English Bloodlines

Arabian Magazines and Books from the late 1970s-1979 FOR SALE

Arabian Magazines and Books from the late 1980s-Present FOR SALE

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