6 things you shouldn’t say to a showing rider

  • There are some things showing riders and producer just don’t want to hear. Unfortunately, that doesn’t stop people saying them to us…

    1. ‘But how does showing work?’

    While most are more than happy to offer their advice, if we were to explain the principles and rules of each showing class in detail, we’d need a few days. There are an abundance of classes, levels, societies and shows, and that’s even before we’ve gone through all the ages of riders and types and breeds of horses and ponies accommodated for. Yes, showing is a sport for all! If you’re a newbie, it might take some time to get your head around a show schedule, so sit down with a brew and settle in.

    2. ‘It’s all about looking pretty’

    Of course, aesthetics play a big role in the show ring. Breeding, riding and producing a show animal is an art; the constant quest for perfect conformation, the detail in turnout and the abidance to traditions. But it’s certainly not all just about looks. If you and your horse or pony make errors in your performance your marks will — or should be — be reflected in the final result and it’ll cost you a placing. If you knock a fence during your working hunter round, you’ll also drop marks. In sum, beauty will only get you so far.

    3. ‘Showing is boring’

    Travelling the country to perform in front of applauding crowds, trotting down centre lines at some of the most prestigious shows and don’t forget the legendary post-show after parties. We’d have to disagree.

    4. ‘Would my horse show?’

    This is a tricky one as again, most riders and producers will provide help if you ask, but be prepared for honest answers. Don’t expect songs and praises if they’re not deserved; if your horse isn’t show quality a knowledgable show person will be able to pick out those key points — such as conformation defaults and blemishes — you might have missed. We’re all guilty of wearing rose tinted glasses at times, but if you want to show at a certain level your horse will need to make the grade without a saddle. So make sure you’re prepared for truthful talks if you choose to have an expert cast their eye over your beloved animal.

    5. ‘You’re obsessed!’

    Obsessed is a word the lazy use to describe the dedicated. And it’s true, once you catch the showing bug, you’re going to be infected for a very, very long time.

    6. ‘Showing people are snobby’

    Showing can get a bad reputation at times for being pretentious and elitist, but it’s actually one of the most accessible equestrian sports out there. With something for every age and ability, as well as type of horse and pony, you can quickly accelerate up the levels if you put the time and effort in and learn the job. Many people work hard to fund their show ring ambitions and there are a host of working riders who compete alongside the professionals at top level. That big dream of riding at Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) is closer than you think…

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