New To Showing? No Problem!

Posted by Eleda Towle on

If you haven't shown before, no problem!  Here are some of the basics to get you started on this fun adventure!

 

[Eleda's first ribbon (Honorable Mention) at the Breyerfest Open Show]

 

What Models Should I Bring?

Pick models that are in like-new condition.  Shows are judged as if they were a photograph from a real horse show, so horses with "scars" aren't going to place as well. 

Pick models you think represent their breed the best.  Would Man O' War show well as a Thoroughbred?  He's pretty heavy and his head is a little big for his neck, so he doesn't really match the breed standard they'd look for at a real Thoroughbred horse show.  

Change their breed - Did you know Adios was originally sculpted to be a Standardbred?  He looks more like a Quarter Horse, though, so he's usually called a Quarter Horse for showing.  You don't have to use the breed Breyer assigns the model.  If you think it represents a different breed better, call it that.

The model does have to stay whatever breed you assign it through the whole show, though, and the breed will need to be written on its tag.  We'll have a great article for you on how to write the tags for your models coming out early next week.

Can I show a rearing/galloping model in Halter class?  Yes!  While some judges may favor models in a calmer pose, many judge the model on its conformation, how close it is to its breed standard, condition, and paint quality, without being concerned with its pose in halter classes. 

In performance classes, the horse's pose DOES make a huge difference.  The judge will be looking for horses that look like champions doing whatever it is they're supposed to be doing, so a horse standing still in a barrel racing class isn't going to place as well as one who is rounding a barrel or running for home.

 

How Do I Get Them To The Show Safely?

Most model showers bring their models to shows in plastic totes that you can get at Walmart or other stores.  You'll want to wrap each model in something soft so he doesn't get damaged on the trip.  Some people make pony pouches of soft cloth, specifically for keeping their ponies safe - That's great if you have the time and someone who is willing to do the sewing.  I always wrapped mine in clean bathroom towels!  Be sure their "pointy parts" are protected from banging into other horses or the sides or bottom of the tote.  These include ears, tails, feet, muzzle, and mane if it sticks out. 

 

How Do I Choose What Class To Show Them In?

Each horse can only show in one breed halter class, so choose the breed that he best represents.  No halters or handlers are needed for halter classes, so they're the easiest classes to enter.

For performance classes, proper tack is required for the class.  You can check the real horse breed association's website, the US Pony Club site, or ask other showers what type of tack is required, or not allowed, in the classes you want to enter.  For Novice Shows, tack quality isn't as important as how you fit it on the horse, so if you have homemade tack or Breyer tack, that's fine.  Just be sure it fits your horse properly and the straps are tightened so it fits realistically.  To make the bit look like it's in the horse's mouth, many showers get some dental wax from their dentist or a friend who has braces!  A tiny chunk at the corner of the mouth is perfect for holding a bit ring in place.  You can also use Museum Putty, although it will show more.

You can show your horse in as many performance classes as he's suitable for.  However, changing tack takes time, and shows don't wait for people to change tack, so if you'd need to change his tack between classes, you may want to plan to skip at least one class in between to give yourself time to make the change.  [This is why we hold the performance classes first, with Driving being the first class.  People can bring their models to the show already tacked up for their first class, or tack up before the show starts so they have plenty of time.] 

 

How Do I Show Them?

At our show, there will be two show rings.  These are tables that will have tablecloths on them and a sign on each that says what class is currently in the ring.  Let's say your next class is Appaloosa Halter.  You've got SpottyButt at your table and you've given him a pep talk.  Be sure to check him for dust - Dusty horses in a halter class at a real show wouldn't do well, and so grooming is important here, too.  Most people bring a makeup brush to whisk dust from between their ears, off their pasterns, and out of crevices in their manes and tails.

You hear the announcer call that Appaloosa Halter is going into Ring 2.  The sign on the show ring will be changed to say Appaloosa Halter, so if you didn't hear the announcement, you can check the ring sign.  Time to show!  Bring SpottyButt up to the show ring and line him up along the outside of the table, as if he were walking along the fence line (rail) at a horse show.  It doesn't matter if he's going the same direction as the other horses as long as his side shows to the judge, so pick his best side to face outward!  Make sure his tag is right side up and lying neatly, check him one more time for dust, then step away and let him show off how handsome he is.

The announcer will have a timer to make sure the class starts on time, with a few minutes for set up between each class.  Once the announcer calls "Class closed," you'll need to leave the ring area so the judge can do her work.  No one can make any changes after the class is closed.

The judge will not pick up your model if it is standing up, but will look at it from every angle.  If you have a really tippy model, you can still show it, but let's keep everyone safe:  Tippy models can be shown lying down on a soft piece of felt or cloth.  They need to be positioned along the rail of the ring like standing models and have their foot tag on.  If you show a horse lying down, you're giving the judge permission to pick it up and examine it closely, so she can see it from all angles.  No one else is allowed to touch your models.

When the class is over, the judge will place ribbons next to her chosen winners.  Hooray, SpottyButt got a ribbon!  The judge may take a moment to talk about her placings or offer tips for future classes.  Listen carefully - Learning from judges is a great way to become a future champion!

When the judge has moved on to the next ring for the next class (that's why we have two rings - One is being judged while the other is setting up for the next class), you can carefully remove SpottyButt and his ribbon from the ring and bring him back to your table.  That ring will now be ready for its next class, so keep one ear on the announcer and one eye on your class list so you know what's coming next.

Helpful tips: 

Plan all your class entries ahead of time at home.  Write the names of the models you're entering on the class list next to each class they're going into.  Bring a pen so you can cross off classes as they're finished so you can tell at a glance who you need to get ready next.

You may want to even practice tacking up models and changing tack if you're going to want to do it at the show.  If you can't tack or change within ten minutes, you may need to skip a class so you don't miss it. 

 

Show Prep Timeline - Things to Start Doing Now:

  1. Print a copy of the Class List
  2. Start choosing models and writing their name next to classes they'll be entering
  3. Start looking for totes and wrappings

 

 

Coming Soon -

How To Write Tags for Your Show Models
What to Bring to the Show and Words of Wisdom from a First-Time Shower

 


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