Table of Contents

What Class Can I Enter my Horse In?

Knowing what class to do is one of the things that commonly catches people out. Most classes have a fairly strict definition of a ‘type’ of horse or pony that can enter and hope to do well, so it’s important that you enter the class that is most appropriate for your horse. Click on the thumbnail that most resembles your horse or the headings to find out more about that particular class or group of classes.

Hunters

Hunters are divided into four sections – small, lightweight, middleweight and heavyweight. Small hunters are up to 15.2hh, and based on a middleweight horse scaled down, so not too fine. Lightweight hunters are usually thoroughbred or similar, about 16hh – 16.2hh, and should have about eight and a half inches of bone. Middleweight hunters are bigger – up to 16.3hh and up to nine inches of bone. Heavyweight hunters are often not much taller, but have up to ten inches of bone. The heavyweight hunter needs substance enough to carry fourteen stone for a day’s hunting. While bigger and heavier than the TB types in the LW classes, they should still have quality and not be coarse.

As the name suggests, Hunters (also known as Show Hunters) are the type of horse most commonly (in the past, at least) seen on the hunting field. LW hunters were typically ladies’ rides, and as such can also do the Ladies Hunter class, which can be done sidesaddle. Ladies can also ride sidesaddle in a normal hunter class. MW hunters would be ridden by ladies or men, while HW hunters are traditionally men’s rides. They are shown plaited because they would have been plaited for hunting, to keep mane out of the way of the reins.

Hunters are heavier than Riding Horses or Hacks.

The Horse of the Year Show holds the finals of the McCusker Hunter of the year and the Ladies’ Hunter of the year.

For amateur owners, the SEIB Search for a Star championship has the final at the Horse of the Year Show.

Riding Horses

Riding Horses were just that – horses used for every day riding before cars were commonplace. They’re not as substantial as hunters, not being required to do that kind of work, but bigger and not as flashy as a hack, which was a horse to be seen on.

The class is divided into two sections – small, for 14.2hh – 15.2hh, and large, which has no upper height limit. They are typically near thoroughbred, or the stockier full thoroughbred, and there is some overlap between large Riding Horse and lightweight hunter.

Riding Horses are lighter than Hunters but heavier than Hacks.

The British Show Hack, Cob and Riding Horse Association runs qualifiers for Riding Horses for the Horse of the Year Show and Royal International Horse Show.

For amateur owners, the SEIB Search for a Star championship has the final at the Horse of the Year Show.

Hacks

Hacks were the horses that used to be ridden round London parks or where you wanted to be seen. They should be the best-mannered horses in the showing world. They are primarily thoroughbreds, graceful, of slim build and elegant, with extravagant and eye-catching movement. Hack classes are divided into small (up to15hh) and large (up to 15.3hh).

The most important thing for a hack is manners and schooling. They don’t gallop in the ring, and should at all times go smoothly, calmly and obediently with no fighting the rider. Disobedience or misbehaviour is severely punished in the hack class.

They are lighter than Riding Horses or Hunters.

The British Show Hack, Cob and Riding Horse Association runs qualifiers for Hacks for the Horse of the Year Show and Royal International Horse Show.

For amateur owners, the SEIB Search for a Star championship has the final at the Horse of the Year Show.

Show and Working Cobs

The Show Cob class originated from the type of horse you’d put your grandfather on to go hunting. The show cob is 15.1hh or smaller, of a stocky build with short legs. It should be a comfortable ride, with excellent manners – remember granddad sat up there!

Cobs are short to allow for mounting and dismounting with ease, and hogged because they are too stocky to look sensible plaited. A full mane, especially on a horse of this build, would have looked a mess on the hunting field, gotten sweaty underneath and gotten in the way of reins.

Working Cob is like working hunter, but for cobs.

The British Show Hack, Cob and Riding Horse Association runs qualifiers for cobs for the Horse of the Year Show and Royal International Horse Show.

For amateur owners, the SEIB Search for a Star championship has the final at the Horse of the Year Show.

Mountain and Moorland Ponies

As the name suggests, this class is for registered Mountain and Moorland ponies. There are nine recognised M & M breeds, counting Welsh as one, although the Welsh breed is divided into four sections. The bigger the show, the more likely they are to have classes for each breed individually. Smaller shows may have a large breeds class and a small breeds class, or may have them all in together. Click on the heading of each breed to see pictures.

As well as the ridden and inhand classes, there are also M & M Working Hunter Pony classes and M & M leadrein and first ridden classes.

The National Pony Society holds qualifiers all over the country for native ponies, such as the Picton Novice Ridden, which has its final at the NPS Championship Show in August, and the NPS Baileys Horse Feeds Olympia Qualifier, an open ridden class with its final at the Olympia Christmas Show. There are also ridden and working hunter championships, the finals of which take place at the Horse of the Year Show.

Ponies (UK) is the other main organisation for native ponies in the show ring, it holds several qualifying classes as well.

The British Show Pony Society also holds some native pony ridden championships.

If you have a pony who you think is a native, but for whom you have no papers or registration, then you will have to go in the Unregistered Mountain and Moorland class. Many shows insist on the pony’s registration number being on the entry form. If you are not sure, then a fairly safe bet is the Part Bred class. There are often classes for part bred native ponies at local or bigger shows, although the bigger shows may want them registered in the appropriate part bred studbook.

The Native Breeds of the UK

Connemara

Connemaras are native to Ireland. The upper height limit for affiliated showing is 148cm (14.2hh), and the commonest colour is grey, although other colours are seen. Ponies must be registered in the stud book to be shown at affiliated shows. Connemaras are of ‘riding type’, compact and balanced, with depth and substance. They should have a ‘pony’ head and a well set on neck. Movement should be free and active, without a high knee action.

Dales

Dales are between 14hh and 14.2hh. Over-height ponies can still be registered, but not in the main studbook. They are normally black or dark brown, with some bay or grey ponies, and roan is seen but rare. White markings are not wanted, and all that is allowed to be registered in the main studbook are a star and/or snip and white fetlocks on the hind legs. The head should not be dished, neck is long and strong, body is short-coupled and deep. Action is high at knee and hock, active and forward-going.

Dartmoor

Dartmoors must not exceed 127cm (12.2hh) and come in all solid colours, although dark bay is the most commonly seen. Coloureds are not seen, and lots of white markings are discouraged. The head is small, and neck medium length. Movement is low and straight.

Exmoor

Exmoors are bay, brown or dun. No white markings are permitted, and they have the characteristic mealy muzzle and ‘toad eyes’. Stallions and geldings are between 11.3hh – 12.3hh, and the range for mares is an inch shorter. They are stocky, with a wide chest and broad back. Action is straight and smooth.

Fell

Fells do not exceed 14hh, there is no lower height limit. They are black, brown, bay or grey, and only a star or small socks on the hind feet are allowed. The head should be small and defined in outline, and the body deep and short coupled. Hooves have the distinctive blue horn that is characteristic of the breed. Action is smart and straight, with knee and hock action.

Highland

Highlands come in a range of duns (mouse, cream, yellow and grey). They are also grey, brown, black and rarely bay or liver chestnut with silver mane and tail. Zebra stripes and dorsal stripes are common. They are one of the biggest of the native breeds – although the height range is 13hh – 14.2hh, they are immensely powerful and stocky. Their action is straight and free moving, without much knee action. Stallions with white markings other than a small star may not be registered.

New Forest

New Forest Ponies may be any colour except piebald, skewbald, or blue eyed cream. Palomino or chestnut with flaxen mane and tail ponies cannot be used as stallions. White markings are allowed on the head, and on the legs only to the knee or hock. The height limit is 148cm, there is no lower limit. They are narrower than some of the other large breeds, but should still have substance. They are a riding type of pony, with sloping shoulders and a good depth of body. Movement should be free, active and straight without excessive knee action.

Shetland

Shetlands are possibly the most distinctive of the native breeds. They must not exceed 42 inches (107cm) at maturity (four years). They may be any colour except spotted – the only native breed to allow skewbald and piebald ponies to be registered.
The head should be small and in proportion to the rest of the pony, with small ears and a broad forehead. Proportionally, the Shetland has shorter legs and a longer body than other ponies.

Welsh Mountain Pony (Section A)

Welsh Mountain Ponies are the smallest of the Welsh ponies, also known as Section A. They do not exceed 12hh (121.9cm) and come in any solid colour. The head is small and clean, with small pointed ears. Shoulders should be long and sloped, and the body deep with well sprung ribs. Legs are small and fine, although the pony is up to a deceptive amount of weight considering its appearance.

Welsh Pony (Section B)

Welsh Ponies (Section B) are a bigger version of the section As, although they are often more of a ‘riding’ type. They should not be too fine, retaining the substance of the welsh breed as a whole.

Welsh Pony of Cob Type (Section C)

Welsh Ponies of Cob Type (Section C) do not exceed 13.2hh (137.2cm). They are a cobbier animal than the As and Bs, but retain the fine, often dished face, although this is bigger and does not look out of proportion with the substantial body. They have a typical Welsh movement, with more knee and hock action than other breeds.

Welsh Cob (Section D)

Welsh Cobs (Section D) have no upper height limit. They are a bigger version of the section C. Since the height limit was removed (it was previously 148cm), they are getting bigger, but a very big animal often loses its ‘pony’ quality and becomes more horsey in type.

Riding Ponies and Show Ponies

Riding Ponies are up to 15hh, and originally came about as a native/TB or Arab cross. Today they are fine, pretty animals.

Show Pony classes are divided into three heights – 12.2hh, 13.2hh and 14.2hh. They vary in type, but the most successful are generally the finer, showier animals without much native blood in them. They should be free moving and well mannered. 12.2hh ponies can be ridden by children of up to 13 years, 13.2hh by children up to 15, and 17 years for the 14.2hh class.

The British Riding Pony is pretty much synonymous with the Show Pony, and the breeding classes for riding ponies are called Show Pony Breeding.

The British Show Pony Society is the main society for show pony qualifiers and championships.

For amateur owners of show ponies, the SEIB Search for a Star championship has the final at the Horse of the Year Show.

Lead Rein and First Ridden Ponies

Lead Rein ponies are the beginning of the ‘show pony’ category. Lead rein ponies must be four or over, and not over 122cm. Riders are 3-7 years of age, and the class is sometimes split at 117cm. The ideal is a pony with correct conformation, good movement and manners to burn looking after its rider. They are often like mini Hacks, full of quality and with extravagant movement, although Welsh Mountain ponies or partbreds are also popular in this class.

First Ridden ponies in BSPS classes are also 122cm or under, with riders up to 10 years old. They are scopier than a lead rein pony, often more forward going and longer striding. Like the lead reins, they are generally very pretty and fine ponies.

The British Show Pony Society is the main society for lead rein and first ridden qualifiers and championships.

There are also Mountain and Moorland Lead Rein and First Ridden classes, and height and age limits for those classes depend upon the breed society.

The National Pony Society holds qualifiers for M & M lead rein and first ridden ponies.

Intermediate Show Riding Type

Intermediate Show Riding Types are larger show ponies. They are 146 – 158cm, sometimes split at 153cm, and the rider is 25 or under. They are quality animals, fine and pretty, with presence and good movement. This class often overlaps with animals who also do Riding Horse, Show Hunter Pony or Hack classes with younger or older riders. It does not, however, often cross over with small hunters, who tend to be heavier animals.

Show Hunter Ponies

Show Hunter Ponies come in four height groups. Under 122cm, with riders 11 or under, up to 133cm, with riders 14 and under, up to 143cm, with riders 17 or under, and up to 153cm, with riders up to 20.

Recently, there has been introduced the Intermediate Show Hunter Type, for horses 148-158cm and riders up to 25.

SHPs and Intermediates should be miniature Show Hunters, with similar conformation and movement.

Coloured

Any type of horse can enter a coloured class, as long as it is piebald or skewbald. At local shows, coloured classes may also extend to cover spotted horses, and sometimes palominos, roans and duns. Check the schedule if in doubt, but if it doesn’t specify, you’re better to assume it’s only skewbald or piebald.

CHAPS, the Coloured Horse and Pony Society, runs showing classes and qualifiers over the country. They run a Winter Restricted series which culminates at the BSPS Winter Championships, NPS affiliated qualifiers for horses of 15hh and under for the championship held at the NPS Summer Championship Show, CHAPS UK qualifiers for the Championship Finals held at their own Championship Show, HOYS Qualifiers culminating in the CHAPS UK Finals held at the Horse of the Year Show at the Birmingham NEC and performance awards where points are accumulated across the year.

CHAPS also runs stallion and mare grading.

The BSPA, the British Skewbald and Piebald Association, also runs qualifiers – for the RIHS, their own World Championship of Colour and the BSPA Festival of Colour.

Within coloured showing, there are various types. A list with pictures of the type of horse suitable for each type of class can be found here.

Riding Club Horse or Pony

This is a class for any type of horse physically. It needs to be a good all rounder, capable of all types of Riding Club activities – typically dressage, showjumping and XC. There is normally a small jump in the class to be done as part of the individual show. Willingness and obedience should be more important in this class than conformation or type.

Riding clubs often have leagues and championships for their areas, but the main qualifier for Riding Club Horses is the SEIB Search for a Star championship, with the final at the Horse of the Year Show.

Sports Horse and Sports Pony

Typically, sports horses are warmbloods or thoroughbred crosses. They are the type of horse who would event – stockier thoroughbred, showjump or do dressage – warmblood or WB crosses. Irish Draught x thoroughbred is typical breeding for a sports horse, athletic and free moving.

The sports pony should also be an athletic type, often fairly ‘horsey’ in type, although some of the large native breeds, such as the New Forest and Connemara, often do well in this class. It’s not a class for the heavier native or very fine show pony type.

Veterans

This is for any horse of any type, colour, breed or size. The Veteran Horse Society has affiliated classes in several sections.

The Pre-Veteran horse/pony is for animals of between 15-19 years, the Veteran is for horses 20-24 years, and the Veteran Plus are 25+. Details of the classes can be found on the Veteran Showing page. The Society also runs performance awards.

All classes are split by inhand and ridden, with all horses and ponies together, and marks are not deducted for healed scars or injuries as long as the horse is completely sound. In-depth details on the marking system for the VHS classes can be found on their website. The VHS classes culminate in a final at Olympia.

Non-VHS-affiliated classes may have different marking rules, at the judge’s discretion.

Cob Type

This class is for horses who don’t quite fit the definition of a show cob, for various reasons. Perhaps they are over height, or too small (show cobs need to be up to height or very near it not to look dwarfed in the ring), or not hogged and trimmed show cob style. This is a class seen more at local shows, and as such, turnout isn’t as strict.

Potential Driving Horse

Again, exactly as it says on the tin. The kind of horse you’d drive, so often draught types or draught crosses, or native types. Friesians are also popular in these classes, although there are not many of them in the UK. I have seen this class done on long reins, so do check the schedule.

Arabs and Part-Bred Arabs

Arabs come in chestnut, grey, bay and black, and partbreds can be any colour or height. They are generally 14.2hh – 15hh, and have distinctive conformation. The head is typically dished, with a broad forehead and a small, tapering muzzle. The neck is well arched, the shoulder long and sloping, the back is short, and limbs are fine, clean and hard. The tail is also distinctive, being set on and carried higher than other breeds.

Ponies (UK) runs the Sterling inhand Anglo/Part-Bred Arab Championship and the Delanns Jewels Ridden Anglo/Part-Bred Arab Championship, finals of which are held at the Arab Breed show.

Part bred Mountain & Moorland, Arab or other part bred classes.

At bigger shows, this will be for animals who are registered in the partbred studbook of at least one of their breeds. At smaller shows this is not normally necessary. With regard to type, they normally do best if they resemble the breed more than whatever they are crossed with, although this is at the judge’s discretion.

Show Type/Non Show Type

This is another local level class. Show type is for horses or ponies who are pretty, fine and ‘quality’ – riding horse or show pony type. Native types, cobby types and the much-loved ‘Heinz 57 family horse’ are suited to the Non Show Type.

Family Pony/Horse

This class is open to all types of horse or pony. The schedule usually specifies that it must be suitable for at least two members of the family to ride, so very small or tall horses lose out on this. Sometimes you have to provide an adult and a child rider in the ring, both to do an individual show. A good type for this class is a large native or cob type, or a smallish thoroughbred type.

Best Turned Out

Best Turned Out is open to any horse or pony. As the name suggests, the emphasis is on the appearance and tidiness of the horse and rider, not on conformation or type. It’s a useful class to take a young show horse into if they are not sufficiently schooled yet to do a breed or type class, to give them ring experience with less pressure.

The horse in the ridden picture is an Intermediate Show Riding Type, and the horse in the inhand picture is a Sports Horse. The standard of turnout and overall picture is what should be aimed for, no matter what type of horse you have.

Foreign Breeds

This class is another self-explanatory one, It’s for horses or ponies who are of registered breeds not native to the UK, such as Friesian, Trakehner, Haflinger, Fjord, or Icelandic.

This class may be judged differently at different shows – often depending on the judge’s personal preferences, as it is obviously rare for a judge to know a lot about the breed standards of all the various breeds that might appear together in the ring.

Other Classes

Other classes found at local level are such things as Best Conditioned Grass or Stable-kept, Equitation, Handy Pony or Child Handler. These classes are open to any type of horse or pony, and the name of the class is normally pretty self-explanatory.

These classes are great fun and offer a chance for the average horse or pony to shine and show what it can do.

What Happens In The Show Ring?

What Happens in a Ridden Class

Nearly all ridden classes follow the same pattern no matter what they are. First, you all ride round together. Enter at walk on the right rein, so going clockwise. You will walk round for a while as the judge gets the first look at the class. This is the time to make your good impression – have the horse striding out and covering the ground.

After you’ve walked round and the judge has had an initial look, the steward will tellyou all to trot on. When you’ve trotted for a while, the steward will ask someone to go into canter, and you all follow on. When you’re in canter, the steward will signal for someone to change the rein across the diagonal. Come back to trot to change the rein, and go back into canter on the other rein. In an open class, horses will normally lengthen the strides across the diagonal and show off a bigger trot. If you can, do it. If the horse is likely to break into canter or rush, then don’t.

Go back into canter on the other rein. You won’t normally canter for long on the second rein.

Then the steward will signal for you to come back to walk. This is when you get pulled in – normally in a provisional order, although in a small class you may be asked to come in in any order.

When you’ve lined up, it’s time for the individual show. Sometimes the judge will ride, and sometimes you will do it yourself. On occasion, and in classes like ‘best trained’, you and the judge will both ride. Sometimes there’s only one judge, but there is sometimes a specific ‘ride judge’. Keep the show short and sweet – particularly in a big class. You need to show walk, trot and canter on both reins. In open classes, it is normal to gallop as well, but it’s fine to stay in a normal canter in a novice class.

After the show, you go back to your place in the lineup and wait for the others to finish.

Sometimes, you have an inhand section as well as the ridden. The bigger the show, the more likely you are to have to run out inhand as well as do a ridden show. After you’ve done your show, the steward will tell you to ‘strip’ or take the saddle off and get ready to run up inhand. Often in a big class, only the ones the judge likes will strip, and the others will be sent out after doing their show or having the judge ride.

This section is just the same as an inhand class individual show.

After every horse has done an individual show and the inhand if it’s being done, all riders remount and you go out again and walk round on the right rein. The judge will have a last think and then pull you in again in the final order.

Sometimes all the class is pulled in, sometimes just the top 6, 8 or 10 competitors. If the judge is not pulling in the whole class, the steward will say that everyone else can go, in which case you file out. When the rosettes have been given out, the top 6 do a lap of honour in canter.

The exception to this format is Best Turned Out. Normally, you will only walk round and sometimes trot (not often) and instead of an individual show, you get pulled out one by one from the lineup to be inspected by the judge.

Also, in Family Pony or Handy Pony, you may have to do an obstacle course instead of or as well as an individual show. I’ve had to walk the horse over a blue tarpaulin, jump a small jump, post a letter, take a carrier bag full of tin cans from a lady under an umbrella, and many more things too, over the years.

Riding Club Horse also normally incorporates a small jump.

Working Hunter Classes

In a Working Hunter class, you will have to do a course of rustic fences first. Normally, only the clear rounds will go back in for a ridden section, but this depends on the number of clears and the amount of people in the class altogether.

Aim to jump the course at a steady, fluent pace – faster than you’d want to do a showjumping round, but not flat out. Some classes have marks for jumping style as well as just leaving the fences up.

Ringcraft

Entering the ring

When you go into the ring, try to position yourself well. Don’t go in behind the horse who’s won every class it’s entered all season, as you’ll highlight any weaknesses yours has in comparison. Also try to go in behind one of a different colour, so you stand out a bit.

Going round with the others

In trot, make sure you’re on the right diagonal so your horse doesn’t look stiff through corners, and don’t cut anyone up. If you’re getting crowded, circle away to another part of the ring. Keep an eye on when the judge is looking in your direction, and make sure you’re smiling, shoulders back and head up – it does make a difference.

Keep an eye out for the steward’s instructions – it doesn’t look very good if they are signalling to you to canter and you’re in a world of your own! Don’t think you need to trot or canter immediately – you can wait for a corner to canter and that’s fine.

Being pulled in

When you’re being asked to come in for the first time, make sure you keep an eye on the steward. You don’t want to miss your placing, and other competitors may pretend they thought they were being pulled in when you were – so if you think you’ve been nodded at and the person behind you zooms in, don’t be afraid to ask the steward to clarify. It’s bad manners to do this, and if it’s noticed it won’t be in the interloper’s favour.

The individual show

When you do your show, do keep thinking and be prepared to change it. If your horse strikes off early into canter, adapt it, stay in canter and do a longer trot at the end to compensate. Remember the judge doesn’t know what you had in mind, so keep your cool if it goes a bit wrong.

In the lineup, keep paying attention. Don’t let your horse rest a hindleg, try to keep him stood up well and not falling asleep. Wake him up while the previous competitor is doing their show, so you don’t have to drag him out of the lineup while the judge is looking. Practice this at home, as it’s common for a horse to be reluctant to come out of the line.

The inhand section

When the steward asks you to run the pony up inhand, have your groom come in to help. the groom should take the saddle off and put it behind the lineup (somewhere where it won’t get trodden on), then groom the pony. Get any sweat marks off, comb the mane and tail, clean and mud or dust off the legs, get foam off the bit, all the finishing touches that help to improve the overall picture.

When you’ve done the inhand, have the groom get the saddle ready to go straight back on and get you on as soon as possible. This is most important if you’re near the bottom of the line, so you aren’t holding the class up as you get back on.

The final walkround

When you all go out again and walk round, don’t give up and just sit there. really ride, get the best walk you possibly can – even if you are at the bottom of the lineup. Judges do sometimes have a real swap round – the top placed horses may have misbehaved in their shows, the judge may have seen things he or she didn’t like in the inhand section, or your horse may have given them a super ride. Don’t give up until you’re out of the ring!

Just as in the first pulling-in, keep a close eye on the steward and come in smartly and quickly when you are called. Nod to acknowledge you’ve been pulled in, then get into your place in the lineup.

What Happens in an Inhand Class

Inhand classes will all follow the same format, apart from some Sports Horse or Sports Pony classes – see further down the page for how they work.

You start off going into the ring and walking round on the right rein. You are on the horse’s left hand side, so you’re on the outside so the judge can see the horse. You need to be walking at the horse’s shoulder, not at the head. It’s worth investing some time into teaching the horse to walk forward like this so you don’t have to drag it.

When you’ve walked round for a while and the judge has had time to start assessing the class, the steward will pick a pony and ask them to stand in a corner. The rest of the class stands behind them. One by one, they will trot round to the rear of the line. Practice this as well, making sure that your horse goes off smoothly and also stops easily.

When you’ve all trotted round, you will walk on again and the judge and steward will start pulling you in. It’s normally in a provisional order at this point, but in a small class you might come in in any order.

When everyone has been pulled in, you’ll all do an individual show. You come out and stand in front of the lineup, and stand the pony up for the judge. The steward will tell you where to stand and where to face – but keep an eye on earlier competitors as well. When the judge has had a good look at the horse, she will tell you to go on. You walk away, turn round, making sure you stay on the outside – so turn to the right – and trot back.

Trot straight towards the judge, then go past her and round the back of the lineup and back to your place.

When everyone has done their individual bit, the judge will often go down the lineup again for a last look. If she’s changed her mind about placings, she may want to compare the ponies again, so will have a good look.

When the judge is happy, the steward will ask you all to walk on round again – on the right rein as before. Keep an eye on the steward for being pulled in – even if you’re at the bottom of the line. Don’t assume you’ll stay there – I’ve gone up over 10 places before.

When you’ve been pulled in and the rosette giving has been done, the first six do a lap of honour. Trot on round the ring once, on the right rein as before.

Mare and Foal Classes

Mare and foal classes follow the same format, apart from some sports horse classes and the corresponding breed classes, such as Hanoverian or other warmblood breeds. More on these later. For most classes, the foal will walk round behind or in front of the mare, follow her in the first trot round and for the individual show.

If the mare is being judged, the foal can walk directly to the rear of the lineup, or trot round with Mum. If the foal is being judged, then if he will trot out without Mum, it looks good. But better not to risk it if the foal’s behaviour is at all in question, or it’s likely to upset him in the atmosphere of the show.

For the individual show, the same holds true. If the foal will do a show without following, that’s great. But better to do a good show following the mare than an anxious one alone.

Sometimes, broodmare and foal classes, while judged separately, are done concurrently so the foals don’t have to do two classes.

Foals are turned out as the adults would be in the same class, although obviously not bitted. Leather foal slips, which are available with browbands (coloured or plain according to the class) or white halters. It’s advisable to use an extra long leadrein or even a lunge line, to ensure you can hold on during any airs above the ground!

Sports Horse Classes

Sports Horse or Pony classes can differ in format to a traditional inhand class. You do all walk round, but don’t do the first trot to the rear of the line. The individual part is also different.

One by one, you stand your horse up for the judges, then trot round a triangle, that is normally marked in the ring. The judges stand on one end of the triangle so that they can see the horse trot towards them, away and side on.

Foal classes are done slightly differently – normally in an enclosed area such as an indoor school, once they have all gone round together, they all leave the ring and come back in one by one, with the foals being shown loose to really show off their paces.

Ringcraft

Going in the ring

As with the ridden classes, positioning is important. Don’t go in behind the horse who’s been unbeaten all season, and do try to go in behind a horse of a different colour or build to yours. You don’t want to blend into a sea of brown ponies who all look the same – break it up a bit and look for something that your horse will stand out against.

The first walkround

Get a good walk going, and keep an eye on where the judge is watching. Normally, she will pick a side of the ring and watch that, seeing each horse come down it. So hold back a bit beforehand, and really stride out along that side, so you’re not crowded and can show off your horse’s walk to its best advantage. Also try not to encourage the horse verbally or click, as they can sometimes put their ears back to listen to you or hesitate if they think you want something.

The first trot

When you do your first trot, don’t be tempted to go hell for leather. You often end up in front of the horse and a rushed trot doesn’t show off the movement well. Practice at home, get someone to watch you and also to trot the horse up – see what speed looks best. Be aware of what the steward is doing, wake the horse up before you are asked to go, and aim for a nice smooth transition. A couple of strides of walk is fine, but trot as soon as you can. Yet another thing to practice at home is matching your stride to the horse’s front legs, so the judge isn’t watching a blur of legs, which detracts from the movement of the horse. This is easier than it looks, and really does make a difference.

The individual show

When you stand up for the judge, make sure your horse is standing nicely. Another thing to practice at home, so he will stand square and still.
When you do your trotting up, really aim straight for the judge – she will get out of your way. Obviously take into account that an elderly judge may not be able to move very fast, so don’t run her down!

Make sure you can stop at the end smoothly and without pulling. Do keep trotting right the way round to the back – go past your place in the lineup if you think the judge is still looking at you. If she liked the horse more on closer inspection than on first look, she will be looking carefully to confirm her thoughts. Keep trotting until she has moved on to look at the next competitor.

Waiting in line

When you’re waiting in the lineup, do keep your pony alert and stood up well. Each time the judge watches a horse walk away in front of the lineup, you’re in the edge of her vision. So no slouching, fiddling, yawning (however early you had to get up!), letting the horse fall asleep.

The final walkround

Just like in the ridden classes, don’t give up until you’re out of the ring. Get the best walk going that you can when you go back out for the final walk round, and keep an eye on the steward for being pulled in.

What to wear in the show ring?

Tack & Turnout for Mountain and Moorland classes

Ridden

Rider
  • Tweed jacket.
  • Beige or canary jodhpurs or breeches (not white).
  • Long boots if over 16, short boots with jodhpur clips if under 16 and small breeds if rider is over 16.
  • Hat – some shows specify current safety standards and chinstrap to be done up, others don’t. Velvet hat or skull cap with velvet cover. Most affiliated M&M; classes do specify proper hats to be worn, regardless of the individual show’s rules, so you’ll never be incorrect in a proper hat with harness.
  • Hair in a hairnet if long enough. Should always be neat and tidy.
  • Shirt and tie – tie discreet and matching/complementing your jacket. No gaudy ones! No stock. Shirt can be plain white, some wear coloured stripey ones.
  • Waistcoat is optional.
  • Brown or black plain gloves.
  • Show cane is correct, but not imperative. It finishes off the overall picture. Should match gloves and tack – ie – all brown or all black. Black cane with brown tack is better than brown cane with black tack.
Horse
  • Plain browband – no coloured velvet. Metal or clencher is permitted but may be frowned upon by more traditionalist judges. Brass is traditionally for stallions.
  • No numnah, or a discreet one that matches the saddle and shows as little as possible.
  • No boots or bandages allowed. Remedial shoeing (i.e. eggbars) may be taken to mean the horse has a conformational problem, so may mark you down.
  • Brown or black tack. Brown is preferred by traditionalist judges, but many wear black these days. Brown is always correct in the show ring, black may not be.
  • Snaffle bit for novice classes, double bridle or pelham for open ones. If a rugby pelham is used, then a separate sliphead for the snaffle ring makes it look much better.
  • Bridles should be reasonably plain and workmanlike. Discreetly stitched nosebands and browbands are acceptable in some breeds, but need to be matched with the horse’s head.
  • A straight cut or working hunter saddle will show off the horse’s shoulders and movement, so is preferable to a GP. Leather girth, or a white one is acceptable if your horse is grey, as a dark girth can distract the eye.
  • Manes, tails and feathers may be trimmed or pulled in some breeds, according to the breed society’s specifications. Check these, as some societies do not allow any type of trimming.
  • Welsh Ponies of all sections are shown ridden and inhand with a single plait behind the ear, not rolled up.
  • Quartermarkers are not correct for native ponies.

Inhand

Handler
  • Trousers are better than jodhpurs or breeches. Black or dark if your horse has light legs, and beige or light if your horse has dark legs. This means the judge can see the horse’s legs move without getting them mixed up with yours.
  • Shirt and tie – as ridden class.
  • Waistcoat or tweed jacket.
  • Hat. Can be ‘cowboy hat’ type, or riding hat. A velvet hat without straps looks neat and tidy, but of course offers less protection than a normal riding hat, which must be done up if worn. You should never be penalised for putting safety first and wearing a proper hat.
  • Hair as for a ridden class – neat and tidy. No hairnet if you are wearing a cowboy hat, but tied back out of the way.
  • Jodhpur boots or discreet trainers of a similar colour to the trousers. You need to be able to run in them!
  • Gloves as for ridden classes.
  • Show cane as for ridden classes.
  • If you are showing a Highland, especially in Scotland or at the Breed Show, then a kilt or tartan trousers is correct turnout. With a kilt, the handler will often wear a Highland Pony Society sweatshirt or discreet sweatshirt in a dark colour.
Horse
  • White halter or rope halter is correct for New Forest, Highland (rope, not webbing), Fell, Dales, Welsh A, C and D youngstock, mares and geldings of any age.
  • Shetlands, Connemaras, Exmoors, Dartmoors and Welsh Bs are shown in leather foal slips, then inhand bridles.
  • Inhand bridles are acceptable for youngstock and broodmares. Yearling fillies or geldings should not be bitted, 2 year old fillies or geldings can be but the judge may assume they are badly behaved and you need it for control. No bit is preferable.
  • Horses who also do ridden classes can wear either riding bridles with normal reins or inhand bridles with couplings – not riding bridles with coupling and lead. If they are in novice classes then a snaffle bridle, once they have won an open class then double/pelham.
  • Stallions should, once they are 2 or over, wear bridles with bits. Yearling colts sometimes wear bits, but are led from the noseband. 2 year olds often wear the little nylon bits, but 3 and over (large breeds especially) should wear the proper stallion bits with horseshoe shaped bit rings on an inhand bridle. Small breed stallions (but not Exmoors) often wear the nylon bits at all ages, as the horseshoe bits can overpower a small face. Clencher browbands and brass buckles are often seen.
  • Some breed societies stipulate that stallion harnesses must be worn on stallion of 3 and over. Check with each society as to the rules on this.
Breed Societies

Tack and Turnout for Hunter and Working Hunter Classes

Ridden Hunter

Horse
  • Mane should be plaited, tail pulled. Heels trimmed.
  • Plain tack, brown is preferred. Black tack is very rarely seen in affiliated Hunter classes.
  • Double or pelham for open classes, snaffles for novices. If a rugby pelham is used, then a sliphead improves the look a lot. Plain browband and noseband.
  • A straight cut or working hunter saddle will show off the horse’s shoulders and movement, so is preferable to a GP. Leather girth, or a white one is acceptable if your horse is grey, as a dark girth can distract the eye.
  • Quartermarkers are correct (optional) for hunters and hunter ponies.
Rider
  • Beige or canary jodhpurs or breeches, long boots.
  • Shirt and tie.
  • Tweed jacket.
  • Bowler hat for men, bowler or velvet for women. In WH classes, velvet hats or skull caps with velvet covers must be worn and done up.
  • Brown gloves, brown leather or malacca cane.
  • Women should wear hair in a hairnet if long enough. Must be neat and tidy.
  • Waistcoat is optional.
  • Spurs should be worn, but dummy spurs are acceptable.

Inhand

Horse
  • Plaited and trimmed as for the ridden classes.
  • Youngstock in bitless inhand bridles, adults in normal riding bridles as for ridden classes.
Handler

Tweed or dark suit with bowler or trilby hat for men. Women often wear plain trousers, tweed jacket and velvet riding hat.

Intermediate SHT, Working Hunter and Working Hunter Pony

Rider
  • For WHP classes (children), beige or canary jodhpurs, black or brown jodhpur boots with clips. In 15hh workers, open workers and Intermediate SHT (adults), the rider must wear long boots.
  • Brown,tan or fawn gloves.
  • Navy or black velvet hat for SH, either velvet or skull cap with velvet cover for WH. Must be of current safety standard and done up.
  • Tweed jackets.
  • Hair tied back neatly with ribbon/scrunchie.
  • No spurs allowed for Intermediates of Working Hunter Pony. Spurs are correct for any adult riders though, so for Working Hunter.
Horse

As for Ridden Hunter classes.

Differences for Working Hunter and Working Hunter Pony

  • Martingales, different nosebands and bits are accepted, but in a tie-break situation then the pony with less, or ‘traditional’ tack will win. i.e. – double bridle or snaffle will beat gag, if everything else is equal.
  • Plain boots may be worn in the jumping phase – apart from removing these for the ridden section, no other change of tack is permitted.
  • Body protectors may be worn in the jumping phase only.
  • Spurs are not permitted in WHP classes.

Tack and Turnout for Riding Horse, Riding Pony, Hunter Pony, Intermediate Show Riding Type & Hack Classes

Ridden

Horse
  • Manes are plaited, tails pulled.
  • Heels trimmed.
  • Double bridle or pelham in open classes, snaffle in novice classes. If a rugby pelham is used, a sliphead for the snaffle ring finishes the picture nicely.
  • Brown tack is preferred.
  • Coloured browbands for Riding Horse, Riding Pony, Intermediate Show Riding Type and Hack, plain tack for Hunter Pony.
  • Numnahs should ideally not be worn, but discreet and matching the saddle if they are.
  • A straight cut saddle will show off the horse’s shoulders and movement, and so is better than a GP. Use a leather girth, or white is acceptable if the horse is grey.
  • Quartermarkers are correct for all these classes except for Hunter Pony.
Rider
  • Shirt and tie.
  • Cream, beige or yellow jodhpurs or breeches (not white), long boots.
  • Bowler hat for men, bowler or hunting cap for women. Shows have their own regulations about safety hats, so check before entering. While hunting caps and beaglers are traditional, you should always think of your safety and not be put off wearing a safety hat if you want to – these are conventions, not hard and fast rules, and you should make your own decisions about your safety when riding.
  • Tweed jacket for men, tweed, black or blue for women.
  • Spurs are compulsory for adults, but dummy spurs are fine.
  • Leather or string gloves. Any colour, but subtle. Normally black, brown or beige.
  • Plain leather or malacca cane to be carried.

Riding Horses can also be entered in Ladies’ Sidesaddle classes, as can cobs or hacks. Dress for Ladies Sidesaddle classes is a navy habit.

Inhand

These classes when inhand are often ‘Riding or Hunter Pony Breeding’ for broodmares and youngstock.

Horse
  • Inhand bridle with no bit for youngstock, ridden bridle
    for adults. Normally a pelham or double.
  • Plaited mane, pulled tail (even for foals – although foal tails are trimmed at the sides instead of pulled) and trimmed heels.
Handler
  • Trousers are better than jodhpurs or breeches. Black or dark if your horse has light legs, and beige or light if your horse has dark legs. This means the judge can see the horse’s legs move without getting them mixed up with yours.
  • Shirt and tie – as ridden class.
  • Waistcoat or tweed jacket.
  • Hat. Can be ‘cowboy hat’ type, or riding hat. A velvet hat without straps looks neat and tidy, but of course offers less protection than a normal riding hat, which must be done up if worn. You should never be penalised for putting safety first and wearing a proper hat.
  • Hair as for a ridden class – neat and tidy. No hairnet if you are wearing a cowboy hat, but tied back out of the way.
  • Jod boots or discreet trainers of a similar colour to the trousers. You need to be able to run in them!
  • Gloves as for ridden classes.
  • Show cane as for ridden classes.
Other useful links

The British Show Hack, Cob and Riding Horse Association

British Show Pony Society Affiliated Classes

Lead Rein, First Ridden, Show Pony

Rider
  • Navy jacket and hat.
  • Beige or canary jodhpurs.
  • Brown jodhpur boots.
  • Navy velvet hat, to current safety standard. Must be done up at all times when mounted.
  • Shirt and tie.
  • Hair tied back – often matching scrunchie to browband and tie.
Leader of Lead Rein ponies
  • Women wear a smart outfit and single hat. To complement the rider’s turnout and not distract the judge!
  • Men should wear a smart dark coloured suit and complement both jockey and pony with the choice of shirt and tie. A bowler hat is the most common headwear for this class.
Horse
  • Snaffle bridles for Lead Rein and First Ridden.
  • Coloured browbands.
  • Plaited mane and plaited/pulled tail.
  • No handles on saddles allowed.
  • Normal shoes only – nothing covering frog.
  • Lead Rein, First Ridden and all novices must be shown in suitable snaffle bridles. If a special prize is awarded in an open show class for novice ponies those eligible must be shown in a suitable snaffle bridle.
  • No spurs.
  • Leadreins in LR classes must be attached to the noseband, and not the bit. They should be held loosely.
  • Quartermarkers are correct for lead rein, first ridden and show ponies.

Mountain and Moorland Lead Rein

Horse

Ponies are turned out as for their breed classes, with plain tack and unplaited. Pulling and trimming according to their breed society rules. Otherwise, the above guidelines apply.

Rider

Riders wear short boots with jodhpur clips, tweed jackets and beige or canary jodhpurs. Ties and scrunchies in hair must be more discreet and complement the jacket – much as a rider in a normal Mountain & Moorland class.

Leader of M & M Leadrein ponies

A tweed suit is normally worn for this – with knee length or longer skirt for women, and smart tweed suit for men.

Other useful links

Tack and Turnout for Coloured Classes

Traditional Coloureds

Rider
  • Tweed jacket.
  • Velvet hat, or if you only have a skull cap then it needs a velvet cover in navy or black. Some shows specify current safety standards and chinstrap to be done up, others don’t.
  • Beige/canary jods/breeches, long boots.
  • Shirt and tie, no stock. Shirt can be plain white, some wear coloured stripey ones.
  • Waistcoat is optional.
  • Brown or black plain gloves.
  • Show cane is correct, but not imperative. It finishes off the overall picture. Should match gloves and tack – ie – all brown or all black. Black cane with brown tack is better than brown cane with black tack.
Horse
  • Mane, tail and feather left completely natural, the longer the better.
  • Plain, workmanlike tack – wide, flat noseband and browband. No coloured browbands or stitched nosebands.
  • Double or pelham for open classes, snaffle for novice. If a rugby pelham is used, then a sliphead on the snaffle ring will make it look much better.
  • A straight cut or working hunter saddle will show off the horses’ shoulders and movement, so is preferable to a GP. Leather girth, or a white one is acceptable if your horse is white where the girth goes as a dark girth can distract the eye.

Non-Traditional Coloureds

Rider
  • Essentially, you turn out as you would for the class you’d do if the horse were a solid colour.
  • Black or tweed jackets according to horse’s type. So for finer, riding horse types the rider may wear black or navy, and tweed for hunter, cobbier or native types. If in doubt, wear tweed.
  • Shirt and tie.
  • Beige or canary breeches and long boots if over 16, and jodhpurs and brown or black jodhpur boots if under 16.
  • Show cane or whip not exceeding 76cms in length (30″)
  • Current safety standard hat, done up, must be worn by riders under 16 years old in CHAPS affiliated classes. Adult competitors refer to the rules of the individual show, as some specify safety hats while some don’t.
Horse

Turn out according to type – what class you’d go in if the horse were solid coloured. So native types wear plain and workmanlike tack, cobs hogged (you can also do show cob classes) or traditional, and hunter/sport horse types plaited and plain tack. See the pages for the appropriate classes for more in-depth advice on turnout. Quartermarkers are acceptable – obviously they aren’t much use on a horse with a white bottom though.

Inhand

As for the ridden classes, you turn out your coloured horse as you would for the equivalent class for the solid coloured horse. For most inhand classes, correct turnout is trousers with discreet shoes or boots, shirt, tie, jacket and hat. Riding clothes are acceptable but look less ‘professional’. See the appropriate class pages for specific rules on handler and horse turnout.

Other useful links

Tack and Turnout for Cob Classes

Ridden

Rider
  • Tweed jacket.
  • Shirt and tie, waistcoat optional.
  • Beige jodhpurs or breeches – canary is not seen in cob classes.
  • Long boots.
  • Spurs are optional.
  • Black, brown or fawn gloves – a neutral colour.
  • Carrying a show cane is correct.
  • Hat – some shows specify current safety standards and chinstrap to be done up, others don’t. Velvet hat or skull cap with velvet cover.
Horse
  • Should have hogged mane, tail pulled and banged, and feather trimmed close to the leg. Tails should be cut to about three inches below the hock at rest, or hock length when moving.
  • Plain tack, with flat browband and noseband. A wider noseband will normally flatter a cob’s face shape.
  • A straight cut saddle will flatter the shoulder and movement better than a GP. Leather girth, or a white one is acceptable if your horse is grey, as a dark girth can distract the eye.
  • No numnah, or a discreet one that matches the saddle and shows as little as possible.
  • No boots or bandages allowed.
  • Snaffle bit for novice classes, double bridle or pelham for open ones. If a rugby pelham is used, then a separate sliphead for the snaffle ring makes it look much better.
  • Quartermarkers are acceptable for cobs.

Cobs can also be entered in Ladies’ Sidesaddle classes, as can riding horses or hacks. Dress for Ladies Sidesaddle classes is a navy habit.

Inhand

Handler
  • Trousers are better than jodhpurs or breeches. Black or dark if your horse
    has light legs, and beige or light if your horse has dark legs. This means the judge can see the horse’s legs move without getting them mixed up with yours.
  • Shirt and tie – as for ridden classes.
  • Tweed jacket.
  • Hat. Can be ‘cowboy hat’ type, or riding hat. A velvet hat without straps looks neat and tidy, but of course offers less protection than a normal riding hat, which must be done up if worn. You should never be penalised for putting safety first and wearing a proper hat.
  • Hair as for a ridden class – neat and tidy. No hairnet if you are wearing a cowboy hat, but tied back out of the way.
  • Jod boots or discreet trainers of a similar colour to the trousers. You need to be able to run in them!
  • Gloves as for ridden classes.
  • Show cane as for ridden classes.
Other useful links

The British Show Hack, Cob and Riding Horse Association

Tack and Turnout for Arab and Part Bred Arab Classes

Ridden

Rider
  • Blue jacket for partbreds, blue or tweed for pure Arabs. The majority of riders wear tweed for purebred horses at County level.
  • Shirt and tie. No stock. Shirt can be plain white, some wear coloured stripey ones.
  • Beige or canary jodhpurs or breeches.
  • Long boots if over 16, otherwise short boots and jodhpur clips.
  • Waistcoat is optional.
  • Black, brown or tan plain gloves.
  • Showing cane is optional, but correct and will finish off the picture well.
    Should match gloves and tack – ie – all brown or all black. Black cane with brown tack is better than brown cane with black tack.
  • Hat – some shows specify current safety standards and chinstrap to be done up, others don’t. Velvet hat or skull cap with velvet cover.
  • Hair in a hairnet if long enough. Should always be neat and tidy.
Horse
  • Coloured browbands.
  • No numnah, or a discreet one that matches the saddle and shows as little as possible.
  • No boots or bandages allowed. Remedial shoeing (i.e. eggbars) may be taken to mean the horse has a conformational problem, so may mark you down.
  • Brown or black tack. Brown is always correct in the show ring, black may not be.
  • Snaffle bit for novice classes, double bridle or pelham for open ones. If a rugby pelham is used, then a separate sliphead for the snaffle ring makes it look much better.
  • A straight cut or working hunter saddle will show off the horse’s shoulders and movement, so is preferable to a GP. Leather girth, or a white one is acceptable if your horse is grey, as a dark girth can distract the eye.
  • Purebreds are shown unplaited, with long manes and unpulled or cut tails. Sometimes the first few inches of the mane are shaved off behind the ears, to emphasise the ‘mitbah’ or arch of the neck at the poll.
  • Partbreds should be plaited and have pulled or plaited tails. Heels trimmed.
  • Quartermarkers are correct for part bred arabs.

Inhand

Handler
  • Trousers are better than jodhpurs or breeches. Black or dark if your horse has light legs, and beige or light if your horse has dark legs. This means the judge can see the horse’s legs move without getting them mixed up with yours.
  • Shirt and tie – as ridden class.
  • Waistcoat and/or blue jacket.
  • Hat. A velvet hat without straps looks neat and tidy, but of course offers less protection than a normal riding hat, which must be done up if worn. You should never be penalised for putting safety first and wearing a proper hat.
  • Hair as for a ridden class – neat and tidy.
  • Jodhpur boots or discreet running shoes of a similar colour to the trousers. You need to be able to run in them!
  • Gloves as for ridden classes.
  • Show cane as for ridden classes.
Horse
  • Purebreds should wear a rolled bridle to be strictly correct. These do not normally have bits, although bitted versions are available for stallions. This is more important at higher level and county shows; you won’t be laughed out of the ring at a large local show in a normal riding bridle.
  • Partbreds are shown in normal bridles, or inhand bridles. If a riding bridle is used, it should be with reins, not a coupling and leather lead.
Useful Links

The Arab Horse Society UK

Tack and Turnout for Other Classes

At local level, there are a lot of other classes that you can enter besides the type and breed classes. As well as novelty classes like ‘prettiest mare’, ‘most handsome gelding’, ‘pony the judge would most like to take home’, these are the main categories of class found. Click on the links to find out what kind of horse goes in each of these classes.

The majority of these classes are open to any breed or type, within certain limits. As a rule, you should turn out to your normal breed standard – so if your horse is a registered native, you would turn out for native classes, and so on. If you have a ‘native type’ who is unregistered or of an unknown descent then turn out as for natives, but pull and plait the pony.

At local level, plaited tails are just as acceptable as pulled tails – this is not the case at larger or County shows.

Part breds are always shown plaited, unless they are being shown as a traditional coloured or a show cob. This applies even if both breeds that make up the horse are shown unplaited – so a New Forest/Welsh cross is still shown trimmed, pulled and plaited. The only exception is at some native breed shows, where they may be shown unplaited. Check the schedule or with the secretary to be sure.

Tack and rider’s dress should go with the type of horse. So a finer ‘show type’ animal will be in a coloured browband and the rider in a blue or black jacket, and a ‘non show type’ would have plain and workmanlike tack and the rider wear tweed.

A snaffle is correct for any novice class, and double reins for open classes. This is less important at local shows, and judges do have different opinions. Some like to see snaffles in open classes, while others don’t. The theory is that by the time you are in an open class, your horse should be well trained enough to be in a double bridle, much like the higher levels at dressage. This is flexible – a judge would rather see a horse going well in a pelham in a novice class than out of control in a snaffle. Pelhams are perfectly acceptable in the show ring as well. 3-ring snaffles, gags or martingales are not correct for ridden classes, although they are acceptable in Working Hunter classes.

Best Turned Out classes do need a description of their own though. Jacket colour etc is not so important – navy for a ‘show type’ animal, and tweed for cobs or native types. What is important is the standard of presentation. Everything needs to be as clean as possible, and then a bit cleaner. Tack and clothes don’t need to be brand new, but they must be scrupulously clean and you must be seen to have made an effort.

Checklist for Best Turned Out Classes

Above and Beyond Turning out for the Type of Horse

  • Clean the underside of saddle flaps, girth straps and girth guards.
  • Girth guards must be worn.
  • Holes in straps – poke the saddle soap out with a matchstick so holes are clear and clean.
  • Underside of rider’s boots – clean after mounting.
  • Underside of bridle – noseband and browband; and inside of reins.
  • Under the horse’s tail, and make sure the tail is clean and tangle free.
  • Don’t use a lot of baby oil, as the judge will stroke the horse; run hands down its legs and possibly through the tail, so you don’t want her coming away with an oily hand. Likewise, be careful with using chalk on white legs.
  • Rider’s hair must be in a hairnet if it’s long enough (and the rider is female!) and very tidy.
  • Sheath or udders must be cleaned.
  • Hooves oiled and picked out. If your horse has white legs, be very careful not to get oil on the hair. Oil inside the feet as well.
  • Plaits should be sewn rather than banded.
  • Numnahs, if used, must be non-hairy and clean. No numnah is preferable, but if used it must be as discreet as possible. This is more important than for a ‘performance’ class.
  • Shoes must have been recently done – no risen clenches or slipped shoes.
  • Children wear jodhpur boots with clips, adults must wear long boots with spurs if appropriate for the type of horse. Garter straps on long boots are a must if they don’t have zips.
  • No jewellery.
  • Show cane is essential.
  • Makeup or boot polish can be used on chestnuts to make them blend in with the leg colour.
  • Eyes, ears and nostrils must be clean – do this last minute before entering the ring, at the same time as cleaning the rider’s boots and picking out the feet.
  • Ensure the string or elastic attaching your number is the same colour as your jacket, and round off the corners of the number so it’s oval rather than rectangular.
  • Make sure your tie pin is attached to your shirt.
  • All straps on the bridle must be in their keepers, and the keepers the same length away from the end of the strap.

By Matchy Horsey

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