Judging Horse Events - Showmanship at Halter

Horses January 16, 2015 Print Friendly and PDF

The "Showmanship at Halter" event is also known as "Fitting and Showing." In this class, exhibitors are judged by how they present the horse while performing a specific pattern. As the first class of a day of events, it sets the tone for the day.

The ideal performance in this class has:

  • a poised, confident, and neatly attired exhibitor
  • an exhibitor and a horse that quickly and efficiently perform the pattern in the following ways:
    • promptly
    • smoothly
    • precisely

Judge's Responsibilities

The event consists of specific patterns performed in specific ways. The patterns:

  • are posted 1 hour before the class starts
  • must be appropriate to fit the size of the show and the skill level of competitors

The judge will:

  • set up the cones
  • walk the pattern
  • answer any questions
  • keep it the same for everyone

Sample Patterns

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Quarter Method"

  • The exhibitor must always be one quadrant away from the judge
  • Example:
    • When the judge is in quadrant I, the exhibitor should be in quadrant IV.
    • When the judge moves to quadrant II, the exhibitor should move to quadrant I.
    • When the judge moves to quadrant III, the exhibitor should move to quadrant IV.
    • When the judge moves to quadrant IV, the exhibitor should move to quadrant I.

Scoring

There are two different scoring methods in the showmanship event, so the judge must become familiar with each association's or organization's rules and regulations. The two different scoring methods are:

  • one that is based on a 0 to 100 scale
  • one that is based on a 0 to 20 scale

0-100 Scoring Method

  • 90-100: Excellent showmanship, including body position and presentation of the horse. Completes the pattern accurately, quickly, smoothly, and precisely; demonstrates a high level of professionalism.
  • 80-89: Very good performance in execution of the pattern as well as correct showmanship and presentation of the horse. Excellent showman who commits a minor fault.
  • 70-79: Good pattern execution and average showmanship. Lacks adequate style and professional presentation to merit elevating to the next scoring range. A very good showman who commits a minor fault, or an excellent showman who commits a major fault.
  • 60-69: Fair pattern that lacks quickness or precision. A horse with consistently unwilling attitude or a handler with obvious position and/or presentation faults that prevent effective showmanship. A good showman who commits one minor fault in the performance of the pattern, or an excellent showman who commits a major fault.
  • 50-59: One major fault or multiple minor faults in the performance or presentation or position of exhibitor that preclude effective communication with the horse.
  • 40-49: Severe fault, two or more major faults, or multiple minor faults in the performance or the execution of the pattern; demonstrates a lack of handling ability and knowledge of correct body position.
  • 10-39: Exhibitor commits more than one severe fault or multiple major faults in the performance or position but completes the class and avoids disqualification.

Faults

  • Minor faults
    • Break of gait at walk or jog/trot for one stride
    • Sliding a pivot foot or lifting foot and replacing in same place
  • Major faults
    • Not performing gait or not stopping within 10 feet of designated area
    • Break of gait at walk or jog/trot for more than one stride.
    • Splitting the cone
    • Stepping out of or moving the hind end significantly during a pivot or turn
    • Failure to stay in set-up during presentation
    • Over- or under-turning 1/8 to 1/4 of designated turn
  • Severe faults
    • Exhibitor is not in the required position during inspection
    • Exhibitor touches the horse or kicks or points his or her feet at the horse's feet during set-up
    • Exhibitor stands directly in front of the horse
    • Loss of lead shank or holding the chain or two hands on shank
    • Severe disobedience, including rearing or pawing; the horse kicks at other horses, exhibitors, or the judge; or the horse continuously circles the exhibitor

Disqualifications

  • Loss of control of the horse that endangers the exhibitor, other horses or exhibitors, or the judge, including the horse escaping from the exhibitor
  • Failure of the exhibitor to wear correct number in a visible manner
  • Willful abuse
  • Excessive schooling or training, or use of artificial aids
  • Knocking over the cone or going off pattern
  • Never performing a specific gait
  • Over-turning more than 1/2 turn of designated turn

0-20 Scoring Method

  • 10 points toward performance
  • 10 points toward appearance of the exhibitor and horse
  • Exhibitor should be credited if showing:
    • Good, quick set-up
    • Turn on correct pivot foot
    • Steady hands
    • In sync with the horse
    • Correct posture
    • Consistency in run
    • Degree of difficulty/smooth performance
    • Correct posture
    • Eye appeal

Severe Faults

  • Standing in front of the horse
  • Changing hands on lead
  • Touching the horse with hand or foot
  • Omitting parts of the pattern
  • Working on the wrong side of the cone
  • Turning the wrong direction
  • Knocking over a cone
  • Obvious disobedience of the horse
  • Using illegal equipment such as spurs, chaps, leg wraps, protective boots, etc.

Disqualifications

  • Willful abuse
  • Excessive schooling or training
  • Failure of exhibitor to wear correct number in a visible manner
  • Use of artificial aids
  • Loss of control of the horse that endangers the exhibitor, other horses or exhibitors, or the judge

Resources

• Common Mistakes in Showmanship Video

• World Championship Showmanship Video

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.