When you know what the judge is looking for, you can go into the show ring full of confidence.

Having a good idea of what to expect when you go into the ring can really help to settle any pre-competition nerves. Just like any other discipline, practicing your show and other elements at home will all help when you’re in the ring.

Here are some top tips for the go-round, trot-up, and keys to success:

  1. First impressions count – from the minute you enter the ring the judges will be watching you, so make sure you smile.
  2. Be aware of the other riders in the ring.
  3. Keep an eye on the stewards, who will give you instructions on what to do.
  4. Give yourself space to be seen by the judges.
  5. Try not to get into a group of the same colour horses as your own – in a large class, the judge may find it difficult to remember one from another.
  6. In the trot up lead your horse away from the judge in walk, keeping your line as straight as you can.
  7. When you’re far enough away from the judge, turn your horse back towards them – make sure you’re straight before you move into trot.
  8. Look up where you’re going – this will help you stay straight.
  9. The judge is looking for a good trot rhythm. Don’t rush your horse but, equally, he should trot willingly and not have to be dragged along.
  10. Your horse must stand quietly for the confirmation assessment – so be sure to practice this at home.
  11. Ride balanced, well-prepared turns and corners.
  12. Ride positively, but don’t mistake this for speed and push your horse out of his natural rhythm. You’re aiming for a regular and even rhythm in all paces.
  13. Stay relaxed and smile – this will help your horse to relax too.
  14. Prepare for each transition to help your horse stay in balance
  15. Enjoy it!

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