Courtesy of Yvette Seger, Horse Management Guru
The jog out is the first time you will present yourself and your horse in front of the judges, so you should make it count! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people present who looked as though they had just rolled out of bed…
As always, BE ON TIME!!!
YOUR HORSE: Your horse should be well-groomed, with specific attention to the tail (no shavings!) Braiding is not required, but can be a nice touch if you have time. You will present your horse in its bridle, which should be clean. Stable Managers should come with the team to wipe down horses and mouths (someone always snatches a bite of grass), and have a hoof pick to do last minute checks.
YOU: You should look “neat and workmanlike.” I know, that’s vague. The idea is that your clothes should not be a distraction. A polo shirt and khaki shorts, skirt, or pants (with a belt!) always looks good, and it’s an easy way for your team to coordinate. In terms of safety attire, you will wear your helmet and paddock shoes; gloves are also suggested. Your hair should be neat (again, no distractions), and your pinney should be tied to clearly display your number.
PRACTICE! It always amazes me how badly horses behave at the jog, and it’s usually because the rider has not practiced jogging. You should not have to DRAG your horse down the jog lane, nor should he be dragging you! Your horse should jog calmly next to you, with a bit of slack in the reins near the bit (your hand should be about 12″ below your horse’s chin.) It is always a good idea to have a whip to help encourage your horse to trot forward, as a slow trot always manages to make a few horses look unsound. When you get to the end of the trot lane, you will either turn to jog back or halt and wait to be cleared. Do NOT just walk off without waiting for the ground jury’s decision. That’s just rude.
IF YOU ARE HELD…Use this opportunity to continue walking your horse and getting him loose. Older horses always need a lot of walking before the jog, so stable managers can help by taking over barn chores before the jog so that they team can walk out together. When you re-present, make sure you have a good forward trot. If your horse is still determined to be off, take the ground jury’s decision with grace (do not argue!) and ask for thoughts on what you can do to make your horse comfortable. You may also ask for the opportunity to re-jog the next day (but it is up to the ground jury to grant that privilege.)