How to Maneuver in the Show Ring

So what if you have spot-on equitation, or your horse is a champion? If you can't ride around the other entrants in a show, those skills will be hidden behind poor navigation skills.


  1. Image titled Maneuver in the Show Ring Step 1
    Practice in a lesson with your trainer. Ask if you can ride with other people on the rail with you. Have your trainer give you tips and advice for you and your horse specifically.
  2. Image titled Maneuver in the Show Ring Step 2
    Get into the show ring first! Find your spot quickly so you are all set and have nothing to worry about.
  3. Image titled Maneuver in the Show Ring Step 3
    Go deep into your corners, especially on a speedy horse. If you are riding off the rail and cutting corners, you may have to pass often and too much passing looks sloppy to the judges. Also, if you are off the rail, other horses could come up behind you and crowd up your space. If you cut corners, you could end up in a corner-jam.
  4. Image titled Maneuver in the Show Ring Step 4
    Trust the other riders. Their main goal is the rail, so if you are in a jam and are on the rail, be ready for any move the other rider may make. Knowing where the other riders are headed helps you to prevent cutting someone off.
  5. Image titled Maneuver in the Show Ring Step 5
    Find the judge. If you know where the judge is looking, you have the key. If you know that your horse is going to start off at a bolt when you ask for a canter, go deep in your closest corner and ask when the judge's back is turned. That way, all the judge sees is a pretty, flawless gait.
  6. Image titled Maneuver in the Show Ring Step 6
    Find the trouble horse. Try to point out the horse causing problems or acting up and steer clear. This doesn't mean to cut across when it is two horses behind you, it means be extra careful to give it room.


  • Remember! It's all about having fun! Who cares if you didn't have the greatest ride? You may be surprised with the judge's decision... your pro maneuver may get you a blue in equitation!
  • Every show brings more practice. Don't feel bad if you mess up or don't meet your own standards.
  • Again, during off-show season, take group lessons!
  • Your trainer will never tell you this, but in most shows, you get one "free circle". This means that if you circle your horse who may be going a bit speedy to slow him down, as long as you do so in an area with no other horses, you will be off the hook.


  • Beware of horses with red ribbon in their tail, they KICK!
  • Respect everyone's space- the horses, riders, and judges.

Article Info

Categories: Horse Showing and Competition