Novice riders may be put off showing due to their lack of knowledge of what is acceptable. Here are a few handy tips that will have you showing like a pro in no time…
Correct tack and colours
Generally, brown saddlery is considered correct for showing. Depending on the type of show there are several variations in the type of tack you should use, however, straight cut saddles are considered the norm. Working hunters would have a jumping saddle. Generally, you cannot go wrong with a neat black or brown numnah, brightly coloured ones are not usually suitable. Cobs and hunters should wear a plain brow band whereas riding horses and show ponies wear coloured brow bands.
If you are entering a best turned out competition, do not forget to clean your tack thoroughly as the judges will inspect it closely.
The type of jacket you should wear varies according to the classes. Tweed jackets are commonly used in showing, tweeds are available in a wide variety of colours, weights and styles. Although a smart blue or black jacket is also acceptable. Your Jodhpurs should be a fawn, cream or buff colour, and white for show jumping. Children normally wear yellow coloured jodhpurs. A white shirt with a tie is common for children, and they should wear jodhpur boots until they reach intermediate classes. Adults should wear brown or black leather boots with a garter strap.
Grooming is an essential part of show preparation. Especially if you are entering a best turned out competition. As a rule, show horses and ponies are plaited unless they are native breeds or show cobs. Cobs are hogged and natives should be shown in their natural state according to the showing and/or breed society guidelines. Plaited tails are used for youngstock in-hand showing; horses and ponies under saddle have pulled tails unless they are natives. If you are jumping or taking art in dressage the mane and tail should both be plaited although you won’t get marked on this.
During the show
It is courteous to not overtake any other riders in the ring. If you are going at a faster pace of those in front of you, do a small circle to keep a distance between you. It is important to enjoy yourself during the show, a big smile on your face will not go missed. You should remain polite to the other riders and offer help should someone need it. Tantrums, tears and jealously are never a good look.
The best bit – the prizes
Once the results have been announced, those that make it to the final, are expected to line up whilst the judges award the rosettes, sashes, or prize money. The winner will then proceed to do a lap of honour. In preparation for this it is worth teaching your horse to stand politely for a prolonged period of time, there is still time to get penalised right up until the last rosette has been awarded due to poor behaviour.