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18 ingenious ring craft tips to dominate in the show ring


Ring craft is the art of presenting and showing off your horse optimally in the ring to ensure the best possible chance of impressing the judge.

Ringcraft can enhance your performance and ‘noticeability’ in the show ring – but it’s no substitute for correct riding and schooling. Ringcraft requires concentration, attention to detail and awareness to show yourself and your horse off to the best possible degree.



In the Ring:

1.Walk: The walk is the first and last thing a judge sees – so make sure you ride with purpose. Keep your horse moving forward into it’s bridle and don’t irritate the judge by dawdling. Walk your horse out well but not so fast he breaks into a jog.

2. Trot: Straightness is key! From behind, the judge is looking for close set hind legs with elevation of the stride at both walk and trot. He also wants to see the soles of the feet, front and back, indicating an elevated lift and clean, high action at each step. When coming back, the judge is again looking for high elevation in front and straight action without winging or paddling.

3. Be aware of where the judge is standing or looking. Find a place where you can be easily seen without appearing too pushy or fidgety.

4. If possible place yourself as far away as possible from the most the best competitors – ideally situated between ‘less competitive’ entrants.. It might sound ruthless but it’s a good way to make yourself stand out.

5. For similar reasons, try not to follow a horse which looks like yours. i.e. if you’re on a grey horse – try not to follow another grey horse onto the ring.


Showing at Addington Manor - - BSHA National Championship Show, 12th-14th September 2014.

6. Ditto – try and separate yourself from agitated horses. You dont want them to unsettle your horse.

7. Overtake on the outside, stay out on circle and do not run the judge over!

8. If you have a question – ask the ring steward, who will then consult the judge. This stops them getting distracted and is basic good manners.

9. Remember that horse shows are organised and run by volunteers who work hard to make sure things run smoothly. Be liberal with your good manners and remember to be a good sport at all times.

11. Give plenty of space before you halt infront of the judge. They dont need to feel crowded and it gives them a better chance to appreciate your transitions if you’re not right on top of them.

12. Don’t talk in the line up. Appreciate the others working out.

13. When the judge calls you in, listen to the work out, watch other riders if not called in first, use the arena and plan where you are going to ride…watch for holes, etc Use it to your advantage – plan your good points – use them if in the workout and know your bad points and minimise them!

14. If your horse is green/stressed while waiting in line up, most judges won’t mind if you walk them around behind lineup away from others, same goes if horse is naughty, take him away from others and tell steward you are just going over here as he is green etc..

15. If asked to do anything your horse cannot do yet (if in an open and your horse is a novice etc), just tell the judge, horse is not established in that yet and you may not do it as you don’t want to push it, most judges will be happy with that .

16. Chill out: There’s always another class, another ring, another show, another judge…just one person’s opinion, at that time at at that moment 🙂 Remember it is about having fun and enjoying yourself! 

Before the class: 

17. Find out what is the appropriate turnout and attire for your classes. Put in the effort with your presentation. A nicely presented horse will always catch the judges eye – and when done thoughtfully you can enhance your horse’s good points while taking the focus from the bad points. This might include plaiting ‘poppy uppy’ plaits on a horse with a weak neck, and nice flat button braids on crestier horses.

18. All riders like to feel comfortable, and dressing to impress is important! It improves the overall image of both horse and rider, but it is also vital to remain comfortable as this will influence how you ride. Make sure your jacket fits correctly and put effort into matching fabrics which will enhance your horse’s colour. 

Last season, our jackets received incredible results – with riders winning garlands at the Grand Nationals and broad sashes at Sydney Easter Show… Not to mention numerous ‘Smartest on Parade’ accolades at Horse of the Year Shows.

If you’d like to receive exclusive access & sneak peaks into our fresh new jacket range (which has not yet been received publicly) – please fill in your details below and we’ll give you exclusive early access to our new designs.

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ShowGirl Jackets – dominating the show ring in 2015/2016