Format of a ridden flat class
All riders enter on right rein in walk. Steward will instruct to trot on and canter on in a group. Steward will ask to come back to trot and change the rein. Steward will ask for canter on other rein and steward will invite to extend canter / gallop down long side.
Return to walk and steward will call horses in to stand in line.
Aim to look professional, tidy and workmanlike.
Footwear – Adults long leather boots. (leather short boots and gaiters may be permitted, check rules of class). Adults cannot show in short boots only. Children under 12, short boots with jod clips. Children over 12, as per adults. Have your groom wipe your boots before you go in!
This series is based on a guide I drew up a few years ago ahead of a clinic I delivered to novice adults and children. There are a wealth of showing experts out there and I will not pretend to know as much nor more than any of them. This guide is not intended for experts, it is intended to give showing novices (and parents!) some sound and basic advice on how to understand what ridden showing is, what the different ridden classes are and what their horses and ponies might be eligible for. I have been showing as an amateur for years and really enjoy it but will admit when I first started, especially when showing Connemaras, I didn’t really know what was right or expected so I needed and sought expert advice. Given how often I hear people asking what is allowed, what type their horse is and how to get started at showing, I believe this document might provide some help to anyone looking to go showing for the first time. I have also tried to include tips and tricks I learned along the way. This chapter looks at the different types of classes and horses. The next chapters to follow will cover class formats, turnout and a guide for grooms.
A teenager that looks like a Spooks or Kingsland stall threw up on them.
A child with a face plastered in chocolate or ice cream.
A child crying because they want ice cream.
A pony with a cracking jump.
A child jumping higher on a 12.2 pony than you would ever have the balls to attempt on a horse.
A bored looking non horsey dad.
An inappropriately dressed groom (bonus point if they are getting asked to leave the ring at the time).
Stewards deep in discussion.
A lady wearing tweed and pearls.
A man carrying a bale of hay on his back.
Someone bawling crying because they won.
Someone bawling crying because they lost
Someone bawling because they fell off.
A horse and rider getting gated.
A near miss at a fence.
A shopaholic carrying more than four different shopping bags.
Someone frantically washing a horse that is meant to be grey.
Someone lunging a horse in the warm up ring.
An international rider signing an autograph.
A photographer taking a picture of a photographer.
A horse bouncing about while getting presented with a rosette and prize.
Someone trying and failing at haggling with a seller.
Someone who clearly spent too long at the long bar.
A lady dressed in side saddle attire (bonus point if they are not on or with a horse).
A lady who cannot walk in her heels.
Someone in a tweed mini skirt or short shorts.
People in a long toilet queue looking agitated.
A lady in a hat the size of a satellite dish.
A grumpy child having their hair done by an adult.
A rug addict excitedly buying and then trying to carry several bargain priced rugs.
Someone trying stuff on in the middle of a shop.
When some of the side saddle ladies including Ciara my side saddle friend and mentor recently declared that lipstick for side saddle showing should not be red, I was relieved. I have nothing against red lipstick but it simply doesn’t suit me. I either end up looking like a child in their parents make up or a lady that should be on a street corner somewhere. I won’t profess to know a whole lot about side saddle but thanks to being a complete makeup junkie I know a bit more about make up. After a chat with Ciara on what make up we should be wearing while riding aside I was able to pick out what exactly I need from my makeup stash.
Neutral shades, matte textures, weatherproof and smudge proof make up.
Frost/shimmery eye shadows, bright red lipstick, orange foundation or bronzer, clown blusher
Bright shades of eye shadow, glitter (let’s be clear, no one 100 years ago had glitter on their face while on a horse), tide lines, panda eyes.
1. Plaiting Apron
My friend Aoife bought me this apron a few years ago and I absolutely love it. It ties around my waist and has loads of little pockets to store thread, bands, mane combs, scissors and other plaiting odds and ends. This means that I can plait away hands free without having to reach for things or leave them down. Trying to plait while holding things between my knees, on the horses back or in my mouth has become a thing of the past! My fleece apron is by Snuggy Hoods and is available online at many websites including:
“Luck is when preparation meets opportunity” is one of my favourite phrases. So often in competition, especially when things go wrong, we talk about what you can buy – the best horse with the most potential, the expensive clothing, the sessions with the best coach / instructor / sports psychologist. However it is the existence of luck that levels any playing field. You cannot buy it, sell it, create it, harness it or control it. Luck can be at your back propelling you to victory or pushing against you to defeat. Luck will defy all odds and laugh in the face of assumption. Luck is the unlucky pole down that your horse barely touched, it is the lost button, the bad weather or the little spook or buck that the showing judge was looking away for.
It is almost time for the annual riding clubs festival. Times have been issued, weather apps are being consulted, child of prague statues are being plonked out on doorsteps, plans are being made and lists are being written.
You can check out what I learned at last year’s festival here. In the meantime, considering I have been going to the festival for a long as I have been in riding club I figured it made sense to compile a list of survival tips for newbies and first timers…..
- Past years would suggest that the weather will always be either scorching hot or lashing rain. This means you should be optimistic and pack shorts, suncream and sunglasses, lots of water and fly repellent. This also means you should be realistic and pack water proof trousers, a change of clothing, a waterproof sheet for your horse, wellies and anything waterproof you own.