Kid 3's western horsemanship class was pretty competitive, but she knocked herself out of the running when Valentine picked up the wrong lead. (A lead just means which leg goes forward first. In general, if you are circling to the left, you want the horse's left leg going first. Circling to the right means the right leg good first.) Kid 3 recognized the wrong lead, but due to lack of show experience, wasn't sure how to handle it, so she just allowed Valentine to lope on instead of correcting it. You will lose points if the judge sees your horse on the wrong lead, but you'll lose even more if you don't fix it.
Kid 3 & Kid 4 both made the same mistake in their halter class. All livestock in-hand classes implement a "quarter system," but the system varies between types of animals. The quarter system is simply where the handler stands next to their animal relative to the position of the judge. The idea is two-fold: first to keep the judge and competitors safe from an unruly critter, and second, to allow the judge the best possible view of your animal and yourself.
Our family has been showing dairy goats at the fair for quite a few years now. Under pressure, the kids got the quarter systems mixed up and started showing "goat" instead of "horse." It's hard to get points when you are "showing" the wrong animal!
I'm super excited to take Kid 3 down to the state fair. I felt like the show was a very positive learning experience for all of us and I think we are poised to perform even better at next year's show!
Keep watch for my next post to see what Xoe did at the fair. ;)