Handy Ringcraft Hints
General Showground Areas
When riding in an arena or enclosed area always pass other riders with care and keep LEFT shoulder to LEFT shouder. If you are riding at a slower gait keep to the inside of the arena and allow others working at a faster pace to use the outside track.
When warming up, be alert and use the space wisely. No galloping, no lungeing (unless there is a designated space for this). If your horse is over excited, keep away from other horses so that you don’t upset them. Watch out for horses with a red ribbon on their tail (may kick) or green ribbon (young or novice horse) and give them plenty of space. When using a practice jump, be alert and observe any flags to control direction of jump – usually red flag is kept on your right. Keep entrances and exits of rings clear- when waiting for your class or leaving the ring stay out of the entrance to avoid congestion. Listen to announcer’s calls for classes. Be aware of what is going on in your ring and be on time for you class. If you enter classes in more than one ring, do not expect judges and other competitors to wait around for you – you may have to decide which class is most important if there is a clash.
When trotting out for the judges, make sure you trot straight towards her so that she can see if your animal movement is straight. Always turn the animal away from you. Stand the horse or pony up squarely and do not block the judge’s view when she is walking around to inspect them. Allow plenty of space between animals when lining up. Be aware of any stallions or unsettled horses and give them plenty of space. Make sure your turnout is appropriate for the type of class you are showing (for example; no plaiting for Mountain and Moorland classes). Your attire should be neat and tidy and clean and appropriate for the showing ring.
Make sure you find a space on the outside and avoid getting into a crowd with other horses. Do not ride inside other competitors as it blocks judge’s view. Circle away to find a space if you are getting too close to the horse in front of you. Watch the ring steward for instructions to change pace and direction. Keep your individual show short – walk a short distance, trot a figure of eight and canter on both leads, showing an extension of the canter in one direction if appropriate for the class. Plan your show so that you finish facing the judge for the final salute. Be ready to come out of the line up as soon as the previous horse has finished its individual show.
General Horse Show Etiquette
Do not approach the judge directly as it may distract her from watching the class. If you have a question – ask the ring steward who will consult the judge. No coaching from outside the ring – this is distracting for the other competitors and the judges. Make sure you are familiar with the rules of the club which is running the show. Find out what is the approriate turnout and attire for your classes. If you are unsure what is correct for our class, check with the show secretary or ring steward. The wrong equipment may result in elimination from the class (eg brushing boots in the flat phase of a working hunter class or in dressage test).
Remember that horse shows are organised and run by volunteers who work hard to make sure things run smoothly. They appreciate a thank you and any help that you can offer.
Good sportsmanship is the most important ingredient in the recipe for an enjoyable show.