Get the Judge’s Attention – Show Your Horse

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To get the judges attention - show your horse off to the best of its ability

HOw do I get the judges attention?

This is another popular question! Get the judges attention by showing your horse to the judge. Make your entrance shine. If your horse has an excellent trot, show off your horse as soon as you get into the ring. Trot into the ring at a smart trot to find a good place on the rail. If your horse has a nice trot it is better to find an uncluttered place on the rail by trotting to it rather than, halting or slowing down, pulling on the horses mouth, which causes the horse to toss his head.

~Tip~ You have one chance to get the judges attention.

It is the judge’s responsibility to see each and every horse and I know when I’m judging, I try to mark down each horse. I make a particular effort to mark wrong leads, breaks, bolts, rear on the bottom of my page in the “no-no” section. These are the horses that have performed badly and should not place because of bad manners (rear, buck or bolt), poor performance (wrong lead)or poor movers.

Likewise I make similar notes on horses that have good movement and horse’s that I would like to sit on!


Transitions should be smooth and without any head tossing. If the horse appears to be a difficult ride it

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Hunter Under Saddle should have a smooth ground covering stride

may put you down in the placings. The judge wants to see a horse that performs well, has a smooth comfortable gait and easy to ride. Your horse may be a dream but if you make it appear that it is difficult to ride this may put you down in the placings.

~Tip~ Make your horse look like it is an easy ride. Pulling and ‘whoa’-ing gives a bad impression. Likewise smaking your horse with a crop and constant ‘clucking’ will also detract from your ride.

Rein Contact

Nothing irritates a judge more than a horse that could win the class but is not being shown to the best of its ability. A long relaxed frame is the most desirable. This does not mean to let the horse have a completely loopy rein and have him go inverted with his nose stuck out and on the forehand.

Keep your horse calm, relaxed and in an open frame on a soft contact. This will help show him off to the best of his ability. A too loose rein can make the horse appear on the forehand and stiff. A too tight rein will give the impression of being a run away.

~Tip~Start now and teach your horse to go in a relaxed frame. Don’t wait untill you are it the show ring to expect the horse to go with its head down and relaxed.

Two Point Position

Riding in two point position during the canter gives the horse a chance to relax and round his back. Remember as well the hunter under saddle class is meant to be a horse that can be ridden during a fox hunt. Riding in the two point position is permitted and is reflective of the way a horse would have been ridden when out hunting.

Got more questions? Please send me an email laura @ and I will do my best to answer it!

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2 Responses to Get the Judge’s Attention – Show Your Horse

  1. Madison D says:

    Hi! I’m still kind of new to showing in Hunters, and could use some tips. I love my trainer, but sometimes I feel like I don’t get all the info I need from her. Some advice from someone else could really help!
    My horse has a beautiful trot and the perfect hunter frame. But it’s very inconsistent. One show he will show it off the entire time, and the next he’s fighting you about it and being rushy. Usually, he doesn’t try to show it off if that makes sense. I just wanna be able to communicate with him to have a flowy trot and controllable canter and a nice loop in the rein and him relaxing his head down. This goes for flat classes, and for over fences too. It’s so hard to keep that consistent pace with a nice frame. I’m sorry if this is a confusing email, I’m trying my best to explain as much as I can! Lol. Please let me know any tips or exercises I should do. Thank you!

    • Laura says:

      Thank you so much for your comment
      You haven’t really given me much to go on… so I will just give you a few pointers.
      1… as a rider/trainer, you have to ensure your horse is comfortable and strong enough to maintain a frame. If your horse is young – I wouldn’t worry about it. as he gets stronger the frame will be more consistent.
      2…. ck your saddle fit, your riding, your bit, your horses teeth etc all those things may be causing some pain for some ideas
      3… ck your riding – if you are not staying with him, getting ahead or getting left, or inadvertently pulling on his mouth it may also cause him to rush…
      also ck out for some more ideas on how to improve…
      please feel free to email me and send me a couple of pictures so you can get some in depth corrections…. thistleridge (at)

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