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Photo courtesy of Mark William Hambleton.

Showing is an umbrella term for a variety of showing competitions, the rules and criteria of which may vary depending on where you live in the world. However, the sport is pretty much what it says on the tin - it involves showing your horse to a panel of judges who will then assess its conformation, movement, manners, and performance on the ground, as well as under saddle.

For in-hand showing, horses and ponies enter the ring and walk clockwise, with the handler on the left so the judge has a clear view of the horse or pony. As part of the assessment, the handler will have to trot up their horse so a certain level of fitness will be required in order to show your horse at its best.

In the ridden classes, horse and rider usually perform specific tasks or movements in a show ring. Depending on the class entered, your horse might need to show specific gaits, transitions, or patterns.

As well as riding style, competitors are judged on the horse’s manners and performance, along with turnout and presentation.

Ridden showing classes tend to be organised into various categories based on factors such as breed, age, experience, and specific criteria. In the UK there are more than 30 different types of showing classes, ranging from Hunters and Hacks to Lead Rein and First Ridden ponies. There really is something for everyone and every type of horse or pony.

For more information on showing have a look at or

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