Judge Peter Emmerson gives his tips for successful showing in riding horse classes and in-hand.

Firstly, practice makes perfect in all showing classes. Ask an experienced person or professional for advice and feedback on your specific performance – all the best sports people in the world have a coach, so don’t think you can, or should, do it all by yourself.

Make it look easy

In the ridden section, your horse must go with ease and calmness, with a smooth, controlled gallop as part of your show.

Ensure that you’ve bathed and trimmed to the last detail, and that you and your horse area wearing appropriate clothing and tack – including, for riding horse classes, a coloured broadband.

If the class you are entering has a requirement for the judge to ride your horse, consider asking someone else to ride him at home so that he’s happy to carry a new rider.

Remember that on the ‘go round’ the judge is looking for a horse they will enjoy riding themselves, so make sure you and your horse have a smile on your faces – don’t make it look difficult!

All in hand

Work on your in-hand show until you achieve perfection. Practice standing on a hard surface, standing square and moving to a better position as requested by the judge, then walking away briskly and trotting back to the judge on a perfectly straight line and in a controlled manner.

Ask a knowledgable person or a professional to watch you and give you advice on how your performance looks.

Remember that turnout is all important to help you achieve the presence every successful show horse or pony needs.

Bath your horse the day before the show and make sure his particular breed’s features are highlighted – for example a traditional gypsy cob should go into the ring with big, white fluffy legs.

My philosophy is, you can’t change your horse or pony; it’s the way they are prepared and presented that makes the difference in the ring.

Don’t miss the latest issue of Your Horse Magazine, jam-packed with training and veterinary advice, horse-care tips and the latest equestrian products available on shop shelves, on sale now.