To be successful in showing horses, you must learn the rules of the class and the correct showing techniques. The two major kinds of classes are performance and halter, or breeding, classes.
In performance classes, the horses demonstrate one or more skills, such as executing the various gaits. There are too many kinds of performance classes to be discussed here. For details on how to show your horse in a performance class, see the rule book of the American Horse Shows Association and the rules printed in the programs of local horse shows.
In halter classes, the horses are judged on their conformation and breed characteristics.
Halter classes are shown **in hand," which means the horse wears a halter or bridle and is led before the judge by an exhibitor, usually the owner or trainer.
The halter or bridle should be clean, properly adjusted, and fitted with a clean leather or rope lead.
Some of the principles you can use to guide you when showing a horse in the halter classes are discussed as follows:
• Groom your horse thoroughly before the show.
• Enter the show-ring promptly and in tandem when your class is called. Line up at the proper location or continue to move around the ring in tandem, as directed by the judge.
• When you line up, stand your horse squarely on all four feet with the front feet on higher ground than the hind feet if possible.
Stand your horse in the pose approved for the breed. For example, Arabians do not stand in a stretched pose, but American Saddle breds stand with their front legs straight under them and their hind legs stretched out back of them. Other breeds usually stand in a slightly stretched position somewhat between these two extremes.
• When your turn comes to move your horse, show him at the walk first and then at the trot, To move your horse, hold the upper part of the lead strap or rope in your right hand and the folded or coiled end in your left hand and lead him from his left side.
• If your horse is well-mannered, give him 2 to 3 feet of lead so he can keep his head, neck, and body in a straight line as he moves forward.
But keep the lead taut so you have continuous contact with your horse. Do not look back.
• Walk your horse forward briskly in a straight line for 50 to 100 feet, as directed by the judge.
When you turn around, always turn your horse to the right and away from you and walk around him as he turns. If you turn him toward you, he is more likely to step on you. Make the turn as small and as effortless as possible.
• Lift your knees a little higher when you are exhibiting your horse than you do ordinarily.
• After you walk your horse the required distance and return, you then trot him the required distance and return, usually about 100 feet. To save time, the judge may have you walk your horse going and trot him coming back.
Follow the same procedure at the trot that you did at the walk, except bring your horse to a walk and move him slightly toward you before making the turn, • After the trot, stand your horse in the proper pose in front of the judge. When the judge has finished his inspection, move your horse to the location in the line indicated by the judge.