The SEIB Search For A Star series for amateur showing culminates at the Horse of the Year Show (5-9 October 2016).
If you think you’d like to give it a go, but are not sure how you should show your horse off at its best, take a look at judges David Bartram and David Ingle nine things they are looking for in the ring:
1. It’s a beauty contest, but if you haven’t got the best looking horse you can have the best schooled one in the ring. It counts for a lot, so do your homework.
2. In all classes we are looking for a nice uphill ride in self-carriage who goes through the paces easily.
3. Horses and ponies must go according to their type. For example, a cob will never move like a thoroughbred, so don’t try to make them. If you’re unsure, get advice from a professional. SEIB Search For A Star is the only competition where you can ask questions after the class so make use of it and don’t be afraid of constructive criticism.
4. Horses are ridden by the judge, so make sure someone other than yourself has sat on your horse before the competition.
5. Tack must fit correctly and be supple, with the saddle comfortable for both horse and rider.
6. If you are in a jumping section, make sure your horse is warmed up properly. Walking the course and the lines you plan to take is also important.
7. In the pony section, if you are given a set show try and stick to it. If not keep your show short and sweet — sometimes less is more.
8. If you don’t have the right gear, borrow it! Stirrups big enough for the ride judge’s feet are crucial, but if you find you don’t have them you can always borrow some from another rider in the line up.
9. All of the qualifiers are indoors, so make sure your horse is comfortable in an indoor school.
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Things to avoid
It doesn’t always go right on the day, though, and there are common mistakes that you can easily avoid. David Bartram has four pet hates:
1. Fat and unfit horses.
2. Horses that fidget in line and will not stand for the judge to mount — a bad start!
3. Horses that don’t trot up in hand.
4. Riding too fast and horses trotting out of their natural gait.
SEIB Search For A Star has classes for working hunters, riding club show horses, riding horses/hacks, show hunters, cobs, show ponies and show hunter ponies. There is also an SEIB Racehorse to Riding Horse Championship.
For more information visit www.search4astar.org.uk