Monday, July 3, 2017

How To Document Weird Things

I was asked a question about documenting weird things that occur in common breeds. So here it goes. The first thing to do when documenting anything is to ask:
a) Is the documentation allowed? 
b) Is it common?

Just because documentation is allowed doesn't mean that it needs to be used. You use documentation to highlight uncommon things, because you can't expect judges to know everything. Always follow the rules of that particular show though. In some classes documentation is needed. An example would be in an other breeds class. If the breed doesn't fit into the commonly seen breeds then it would need documentation because it would fall under uncommon.
If it's a common breed, like Quarter Horse/Thoroughbred/Shetland Pony, it shouldn't need documentation unless your show rules say otherwise. A trick to figuring out if your breed is considered common is to look at classlist of the show. If the breed is separated and has its own class, it is common. When looking at a show packet you'll often see something like this:

If you want to see the whole show packet, here it is.
See the breeds? Arabian, Morgan, and Standardbred have their own breed class. So they don't need documentation unless you're trying to show a rare color. If there's a show packet that spells out particular breeds in the Other Light or Other Gaited, then you won't need to document those either.
This show has the ponies split up by country of origin instead of individual breed. For ponies, you can guess which one is common or not. Breeds like Shetland, Welsh, and Quarter pony would be common. But if you aren't sure if it is common or not, then make documentation and take notice of how many of that breed are at the show you go to.
 So when do you document common breeds? If a model is a color that is commonly found in your breed there's no reason to document it. But if you have an obscure pattern or color that is not commonly seen, you should document it. You document it to show proof that it occurs.
How To Do This
Throwing down a picture next to your model is not enough. That doesn't show proof because it has no sources. Sources are important for models in the same way that they're important in school. Sources give validity to your claim that something exists. But you must use reliable sources. This is something you learn or should learn in school. It's an important life skill, to be honest. You don't want to be that person that reads on some website that aliens are invading a city when reliable sources say it's an influx of birds. Discerning between reliable and unreliable sources is similar to shopping for chocolate. There's a ton of obscure never-heard-of-before chocolate brands that aren't sweet enough, crumble into a weird mass the second you bite into it, or don't have its ingredients on the wrapper.
That's similar to unreliable sources. They're missing the components needed to make a well rounded presentation.


Then there's the good brands of chocolate that are sweet enough, don't crumble, and list its ingredients in a non-sketchy way. Good sources are not impossible to find, but they may take a minute longer than scrolling through Wikipedia (Wikipedia is a good starting point, but go down to their list of sources instead of citing the actual wiki page. Wikipedia can be edited by anyone so it isn't as creditable compared to an actual vetted website). That extra minute of searching is worth it. First, you have a well done piece of documentation. Two, you learned something.
Researching is the key to success in model horse showing. The more you learn, the better your entries will be. In halter your models will be assigned the best breed you could possibly find. In performance, your entries will be realistic and portray an event correctly.

Anyways, my brain is misfiring and I can't think of anything rare at the moment. So let's take Sato the Thoroughbred. I don't own a Breyer Sato but he's still easy to make documentation for. He is an unusual color for a Thoroughbred.

When using a real horse as an example for a breed you want to make sure they're registered, which Sato is. Next you'll want to get a clear picture of the horse. Pictures are important for showing a rare color in a breed because it gives the judge a visual.
To make the documentation you don't need every piece of the breed on it. It's a common breed so you'd just need to document the color. If you're using a specific horse as an example, start research by going to the breeder's website (if there is one).Sato's breeder has a website so that's where I started getting his info from. They had his info but they also had that he is registered with the Jockey Club. That's the most important part. It's hard to claim a color exists in a breed if that horse isn't registered. Sure, you can have unregistered horses that are an odd color but being able to have it registered helps to show the breed registry accepts it.
Blazing Colours Farm
I needed to know what caused his color, so I went The Equine Tapestry that's run by a hobbyist named Lesli Kathman. I came upon the blurb about Sato and found out the name of his mutation. For some colors and patterns there's info about it that can be put into the documentation.  
After getting that info I started to do research on the mutation. I came upon an animal genetic site that gave info into the gene. Now I had enough to make a short but researched documentation sheet.
Animal Genetics
Combine all of those things and make a documentation card. Here's mine (I guess I'll need to get a Sato now haha!). It's sort of a template to how I do documentation too. I like to make my documentation with a header, picture, data, and then finally sources. I try to keep enough white space so that it isn't text heavy. You want to include enough to get the point across and not so much that the judge will have to skim through to figure out the point to it.

Hopefully this helps! And if you have anymore questions feel free to leave a comment!

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