We are living in a brand new world right now! The current corona virus pandemic has forced all horse shows to be either canceled or postponed for the foreseeable future. But that hasn’t stopped the American Paint Horse Association. They have come up with a way for people to be able to compete from home. Steven Hayes is the APHA’s senior marketing director and he’s the person behind this great idea.

How did you come up with this idea?

“Well, I will say it was a team effort. We have some great people on our team that are very innovative and really thinking for the future. This is a project we’ve been working on for quite a while and it’s been in the queue even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

With everything that’s going on, we obviously pushed this to the front of the line to try to help get this released and allow people to still do things with their horses while they’re stuck at home and trying to bear what’s going on in the world.

The whole idea is that we live in a virtual world, right?…We want to be able to touch all the markets and give opportunities for people to do activities with their horses on a lower-cost scale.

In this scenario, it’s a smaller entry fee than most horse shows, but you also have to think that you don’t pay a stall fee, you don’t have to haul your horse, you can do it right from your arena.

Then on top of that, we want to give money back so a lot of virtual shows you might have seen in the past are awards based, you show, you pay an entry fee and then you get an award in the mail. We’re actually giving a payback. It’s a 70/30 split, 30% goes back to us for operating expenses and then 70% to our competitors.

Those are a few of the reasons we did it and we think it’s actually going to be a very good one. We have our first E-Show happening right now. It opened a couple weeks ago and then our entries close April 6th at 5 p.m. central.”

It’s not terribly complicated technology. It’s more about bringing the elements all together. Is that right?

“Yeah, it’s super simple for the competitors to enter. We handle most of it. The hardest part is just videoing your run, or having someone to video for you…

If you paid for your videos and uploaded them, it’s as simple as that. You don’t have to do anything else.

Steven Hayes Senior Marketing Manager at the APHA

What shows/classes do you offer for this e-show?

“This is an all breed show so it’s based through the American Paint Horse Association…so it’s open to everybody. We didn’t want to hinder some of the other people that are stuck at home as well. We do give some Paint incentives, but we did open it to all breeds.

This first go-round, we did 10 different divisions we thought would have the best or be the easiest to let people get a feel for and understand what’s going on. The divisions that we have are Cutting, Halter, Hunt Seat Equitation, Hunter Under Saddle, Lunge Line, Ranch Reining, Ranch Riding, Showmanship, Western Horsemanship and Western Pleasure… We will definitely have more to come as we do more E-Shows….”

“[The show is] compiled over the course of time the entries are open, so over a three-week period…then an APHA certified judge will judge the class and [send you money if you placed]…Then on top of that, you will receive an email directly from the judge that gives you a critique of your run. It says here are some items to work on that were a little under value or under done…or where you had errors. So you get a little bit of extra added feedback from those APHA certified judges.”

“It’s fun, it’s competitive but it also gives a little bit of an extra educational piece.”

Some might say well my cows could be extremely different from another person’s cows. So how do you deal with that from a judging point of view to make it fair?

“On that I would say as a judge, you don’t have any control over the cattle situation. And so that’s up to you [the rider] to handle. We’ve lowered the fees to a certain extent [because] we can’t make it even for everybody on the cattle like you would at a physical show. If you want to cut high-headed Brahman cattle, that’s your decision to do that…[What you] control is how your horse reacts and works that cow.”

“Everybody has different scenarios and different setups… This is a fun competitive thing with your friends and also, you know get a little feedback on whatever cow you’re cutting and get a little extra value for what you’re doing and hopefully learn something along the way.”

Because a lot of people don’t have cows, is a flag class something you’re looking at?

“We’re having that conversation now, I’m not sure if it’ll be in our second show or third. But we’re definitely having that conversation on how a flag class could work and how we would judge that specifically…we think it’d be a lot of fun.”

Are you going to be adding anymore Reined Cow Horse events?

“We have talked about doing some boxing/fencing type stuff for the Reined Cow Horse section. The ranch riding is a great one. It’s a growing industry as well. But we want to add more and more [disciplines]. We talked about doing Team Roping and some of the deals that have cattle in them. So we hope to eventually have 50-100 classes on here that we can offer each time we open up.”

How much time do people have to enter, send in their videos and then get a result?

“This first show was a three-week period. It’s a brand new event, so we wanted to give people three weekends to get the video made and submitted. But on average it would probably be about two weeks from the time depending on when they submit it, but the entries will be open for two weeks…and at the end of that, usually in about 48 hours, I would say you’ll have results and your feedback coming to you.”

Will people be able to get on the website and see some of the runs?

“This first show will be private for each individual. We’re looking at being able to post several videos online, especially the champions of the classes. We would like to be able to put those up and show who won. As we evolve, we are probably going to have it where you would be able to submit all videos, go and look and maybe have a little bit of feedback from the judges so you can watch other people. We haven’t got there today yet, but that’s probably where we will go in [the future].”

“I think it’s good to be able to have something to look forward to and train for and still have some fun with your horse while you’re sitting at home.”

Click below to learn more and enter the latest E-Show!


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