How to Show Horses

Are you considering showing as a discipline? Found out how you and your horse/pony can wow the judges by reading the following tips and steps!


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    Start the day before. Good show preparation starts the day before, and good preparation is absolutely essential for success!Firstly, make sure that all tack is cleaned to perfection and give the horse a bath. Next, prepare all equipment such as the rider's clothing and check that you have everything that is needed - now is the time to go and buy last minute items.Also , make sure that your lorry /trailer is ready for the next day to avoid any unwanted delays.
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    The night before- always stable the horse the night before with a day sheet to keep the coat clean and stable bandages (optional)for horses with white legs.
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    In most cases, it is best to arrive at the yard with a lot of time to spare on the morning of the show. this will allow for unexpected difficulties with loading/plaiting etc. Plait the horse if necessary .
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    Let your horse get used to the surroundings. Once you have arrived at the showground (with a lot of time to spare, of course), give your horse a chance to get used to the surroundings.
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    Warm the horse up sufficiently , then return to the lorry to do final preparations.
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    When in the ring, always have good manners (you and the horse). Only overtake if it is essential and make sure your horse wears a red ribbon if he kicks.
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    You will be asked to do a group go-around, which will include all four gaits.
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    Do your individual show. You will then be pulled into the middle of the ring and invited to do your individual show. This should include all four gaits and is best to be kept short and simple. It should show the judge that the horse responds perfectly to his rider.Please note that in some classes , the ride judge will ride the horse, not you.Always finish with a square halt and salute the judge.
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    Walk around the outside. The judge will then get the class walking around the outside again and will then pick the winner. Placed horses will then get pulled up and a rosette will be given.
    • Non winners will leave the ring.
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    Take 'a lap of honor'. A lap of honour will then take place in a controlled canter.


  • Use clear hoof oil for white feet and black for black feet.
  • Use Vaseline around the eyes and muzzle to accentuate them.
  • ALWAYS polish the underside of your boots.
  • Remember , have fun!!! Even if you don't win , it's still fun and an experience.
  • The horse's best features and gaits should be shown off , while their flaws should not be highlighted.
  • The horse and rider's attire varies depending on what type of horse she is showing.
    • If they are in a hack class , then a woolen navy jacket should be worn. The horse should be pulled and plaited with a double bridle and coloured browband.
    • Cobs should be hogged with plain tack - the rider should wear tweed.
    • Working hunters, Arabs and natives should have tweed.
    • Arabs and natives should have natural manes.


  • Also make sure that you know your routine well so that no extra pressure is put on you or the horse.
  • Don't behave like a spoiled brat - it will only rub off on your horse and people won't enjoy being with you.
  • Make sure that your horse is up to the job and that he has been properly schooled.

Things You'll Need

  • A horse, obviously.
  • Appropriate tack including a show saddle, show bridle and either a white or leather girth. NO martingales.
  • A velvet hat and wool jacket for the rider.
  • Grooming box, including show shine and quartermarkers.
  • Transport.
  • A show cane.

Article Info

Categories: Horse Showing and Competition