[Arabian halter by Jennifer Buxton]
If you're just starting out in showing, it can seem pretty complicated. Performance and Collectability can take a lot of work and learning, so if you're nervous, starting out by showing just in Halter Classes is a much easier way to break into showing.The judge from our Spring Show, Ashley, gave us some advice on how she judges halter classes:
How Do You Judge Halter Classes?
First, can the model be a "real" horse? Does its anatomy allow it to transfer seamlessly into the motion and action of the real horses it's modeled after? (this is why some molds just don't place well, no matter what breed may be assigned to it. Breed cannot change model anatomy.)
Second, I'll look at the breed assigned in relation to the conformation of the model (this is where appropriate coat and eye coloration play a key role as well).
Finally, I'll consider the condition of the model (any scratches, rubs, missing areas of paint? How crisp are the model's white markings? How white are they? What about shading? etc.). Some of these aspects of halter showing are out of the showers' hands; however, you can do the following to be best prepared:
Choose the "best" of your collection to bring, those with the least flaws. And those that may have small flaws (like an ear tip rub or shiny mark) should be fixed as best you can before the show.
Above: Paint Horse Halter class at Breyerfest Open Show. That's a lot of competition! Notice - No horses wear halters.
What Tips Do You Have For Exhibitors?
Do the research required for good breed assignment and documentation. Look through breed books, websites, images, etc., to really compare the conformation of the breed to that of your model. It is especially important to keep the allotted colors in mind, just because your model has the conformation of an Andalusian doesn't make it so if the coat color isn't allowed within the breed standard/registry.
Make sure to bring a soft, small brush to dust of your model once they are placed on the table! This is where the scrutiny of condition plays a role and you wouldn't want your model to lose out of placing simply because you forgot to dust between his ears! Most showers will use a standard makeup brush.
Finally, be organized. Be prepared to know which horse is going in which class and have them ready to bring to the table. This is a practice show so you won't be rushed; however, in higher level shows the pace can be very fast and classes won't wait for you. In addition, being calm, cool, and collected can take a lot of the stress out of showing and make more room for the fun!
I would prefer models be shown without a halter unless it is part of the mold. This is standard in most open shows so that you almost never see a halter model wearing an actual halter.
Why don't we use halters in halter classes? A halter could potentially hide a condition issue, so they can make judges suspicious and look more closely at the horse's head. Also, if it's not the right style for the breed to show in, or doesn't fit the model well, it can actually cause your model to be marked down! So, unless you have a gorgeous halter that fits your model perfectly and adds to his beauty, you'll be better off showing him naked.