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Myerscough College hosts the Western Performance Show

PUBLISHED: 00:00 25 August 2016

Olivia Plumb in the reining class

Olivia Plumb in the reining class

JustBE Photography

Photographer Beth Eastham joins the crowds at Myerscough for a weekend of fun

Western riding has six classesWestern riding has six classes

As the only event of its kind in Lancashire, people from across England travelled to Myerscough College for the Western Performance Show.

The Western Equestrian Society was formed in 1985 to promote the discipline of Western riding to the standard practised in the US. The UK is split into several regions with area 5 serving Lancashire and Yorkshire. They welcome new members from beginners to the experienced and riders can join in clinics to learn about the benefits of this way of natural training and riding.

When I first photographed the show in 2015, I was very surprised to see traditional cobs as well as Appaloosas, quarter horses and even Welsh ponies in the ring. It just proved any horse is capable of Western riding and there really isn’t a ‘particular breed’.

The show was split into six classes and the first was reining - a test of agility, finesse, speed, control and attitude. There are various manoeuvers within this class including spins, stops, roll backs, circles, flying changes and a backup. To rein a horse is not only to guide him, but to control every movement. The best reined horse should be willfully guided or controlled with little or no apparent resistance.

Judge Bob Mayhew with Jayne Wainwright, overall winnerJudge Bob Mayhew with Jayne Wainwright, overall winner

Showmanship is an in-hand class where the handler is judged and the turnout of the horse can be taken into account. In horsemanship, riders are judged on seat, hands, ability to control and show the horse. The control the rider displays over the horse’s performance is also important.

Western riding class tests the skill of both horse and rider. The class is designed to show the calm, easy paces of the horse and its ability to be correctly balanced at all times.

In the trail section, horse and rider must negotiate a series of obstacles - a gate, bridge, poles and cones. All three gaits can be expected, 360 degree turns and back-up. Horse and rider must work in harmony.

I recommend anyone who does handy pony classes to try TREC and for anyone who does TREC to try Western Riding – they all share elements and, for the majority of them, they are great fun. It is an ideal break for anyone who is stressed from showing or the more competitive areas of horse riding.

The show ran over two days and the judge was Bob Mayhew, an internationally known Western trainer and competitor.

For Suzanne Davis, from Lytham St Annes, it was her first Western show. However, she is a member of Bowland TREC Group and had some initial skills before entering the show with her horse, Mac. ‘Thank you, everyone for an amazing first Western show for Mac and I,’ she said. ‘We are just coming down off cloud 9, we had so much fun and what an amazing group of people - we were made to feel so welcome. Well done to the whole team. I know it’s not easy to organise and run something so big – you did an amazing job!’

For more information on the Western show visit wesarea5.webs.com

Beth Eastham is from JustBE Photography. Her work can be seen at photographyjustbe.co.uk

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