In the critical glare of top-level showing, correct conformation is important, but isn’t enough on its own. The difference between the winner’s rosette and standing down the line lies in the animal’s way of going. Not only must this be visually pleasing – it must also be correct for the specific class.

So what is the right way of going for each type?

  • Lucy Killingbeck on hunters: “They should be free-going, easily moving over the ground; poll high and nose slightly in front of the vertical. I like to be able to put my leg on and ride to my hand, on a horse that is light off the aids, in self-carriage and therefore balanced, responsive and supple.”
  • Richard Ramsay, hacks: “A hack should give the appearance of being very light in the hand and should move over the ground with ease. The canter can be quite slow and collected, but under no circumstances in four-time. It must walk well, be going forward and not be strangled.”
  • Jayne Webber, riding horses: “I love to see a true, rhythmic show, incorporating a simple change through trot, maintaining freedom and forward movement the whole time. It has to carry itself in an effortless way.”
  • Robert Parker-Jones, show/show hunter ponies: “Ponies should look happy in their way of going, with active paces, demonstrating good impulsion from behind and free shoulder movement. They should be calm and responsive with smooth transitions, but always having that ‘look at me’ factor.”
  • Rachel Bown, M&Ms: “A good walk, tracking up and with a good length of stride. All breeds were work ponies so it is essential that they cover the ground, carrying themselves naturally as they would in the wild.”For more expert advice on how to win the show ring, plus H&H’s exclusive interview with Lisha Leeman, tips on how to prepare for working hunter classes, new judges for 2012 and showing products to add those all important finishing touches, don’t miss H&H’s showing special issue, on sale 15 March 2012

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