How to Win At Horse Shows Without Breaking the Bank for An Expensive Horse

Once you get that horse and take it into the show ring here are the top 5 points the judge is looking for.

What the judge is looking for in the hunter ring, hunter judge, Laura Kelland-May, Thistle Ridge Stables

What the Judge is Looking For – The Horse Has to Get to and Jump All the Jumps

  1. The horse has to get to and jump all the fences. This means refusals, runouts and balks are or should never be in the ribbons. If you have an expensive horse but it won’t jump the jumps you will be out of the ribbons.Knock downs do count and even if the horse has good form and has a ‘bad rail’ it counts.

    Chipping in at a fence will bring down your mark. Horses should jump out of stride without any hesitation or dwelling in the air.

    Adding in strides in a line or worse, leaving out strides is a mistake and will be considered.

  2. The ride should have an even pace. Zooming down the line then slowing for the corners is distracting. Even rhythm adds to the overal general impression and allows the hunter round to flow.
  3. The horse should have good form over its fences. Hanging legs, twisting and dropped knees are undesireable. Horses should bascule over their fences and round their backs and bring their knees up.
  4. The competitor should be well turned out. This includes jacket, gloves and riding blouse with collar done up. Remember you are judged from the moment you step into the ring until you leave. If you arrive and look the part the judge will judge you accordingly.
  5. The competitor should be relaxed and enjoying him/herself. The rider should be workmanlike in their appearance yet have a pleasant expression. Tense unprepared riders do not show their horses to the best of their abilities.

Write a comment describing what things do you think the judge is looking for so I can include it in my next book – with your credit of course!

See you soon,
~Laura

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About Laura

Laura Kelland-May is the founder of Thistle Ridge Skill Builders Development Program. She more than trains horses, she trains people to train their horses. In addition she is a Sr. Judge and can offer insight into What the Judge Is Looking For. Follow her here and get more tips.
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