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    Handlers and assistants are to wear dark green tops and black pants. Gloves are recommended. Shoes appropriate for running.

  2. TACK:
    Horses to be shown in snaffle bridle with or with out cavesson; regular or flash cavesson acceptable. A split or single chain may be used in addition to, or instead of reins.

    Horses should be braided whenever possible. It is a courtesy to the inspectors and the spectators to have the horse presented in show condition.
    Pictured at right: A beautifully turned out handler and horse.

    The inspection will always take place on a triangular course. The first step is the individual inspection. The handler places the horse at a distance of about 4 to 5 meters in front of the judges. (The left side of your horse should be facing the judges.) Here the so-called open position is obligatory.
    The judges then score the individual marks for conformation. The handler will then be asked to walk straight away for 10 meters, turn around the marker to the right and return to the original starting position. The horse should walk freely forward and straight, on a reasonably loose rein.

    Afterwards the handler is asked to trot one lap with the horse in a clockwise direction. The judges stay at the same place, and with the triangular form of the course they are able to first inspect the horse from behind, then its action deployment from the side, and finally its correctness from the front. For that reason, however, it is necessary to follow exactly the triangular form of the course.

    At the trot (extended trot) the horse should be given the chance to move as freely as possible. With regard to very actively moving the horse the handler should be someone who is able to move well enough him/herself to show this movement. When trotting your horse you take both the reins in your right hand.
    It is advisable that someone with a whip is driving your horse from behind as you are expected to show the horse without a riding whip. After the trotted lap the horse is turned once again and shown to the judges from the right side standing. Judges may allow a second trot to see movement.
    When a number of horses have been judged at the trot they are assembled in a large circle and judged at a walk. The walk should also be shown as relaxed and freely as possible. Where sufficient numbers are presented, mares will be divided into groups by age.

Some Points to Consider:
With more horses than ever before presented for inspection, sometimes the results do not meet the expectations of owners or spectators. The following are points taken from the article 'Inspections in Perspective' published in the 1997 Handbook. Reprints can be made available.

  • The prettiest is not always the best: Beauty draws us to horses but performance is our true goal. A conformation asset may be nullified by a poor walk or incorrect gaits. Conversely, a conformation weakness may be balanced by outstanding gaits and correct movement. Because these details can be missed when viewed from the sidelines, spectators may find it hard to understand the judges placings. Therefore at all inspections the commission's comments are made in public to provide a learning opportunity and ensure that the commission can explain what they have done.

  • Turnout is important: It is not fair to the horse when the commission is asked to overlook lack of braids, grooming or lack of condition to make an honest appraisal. Inspectors see the horse for ten minutes.

    It should be the best ten minutes of that horse's life.
  • Present early for best results: It is best to show your mare at age three or four before she has had a foal or injury which could lower her score.

  • Showing in-hand requires a skilled handler: Please ask for assistance or instruction from someone with more experience or perhaps someone younger and faster if you are unsure that you can present your horse well.

  • The most important judge is you! No commission is perfect. No event goes entirely as planned. Observe and evaluate where your breeding program is going compared to others. In the end, each of us makes our own breeding decisions for our broodmares. Inspections are an important tool in our efforts to produce that perfect horse.

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