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Proper Etiquette For Jogging, Models, And In-Hand Classes    

Photo on right: Conformation Attire shown by Ray Francis. SBW Archives: Chris Tolar, Liz Callarm & Lynlee Dutton
Photo on left:

Submitted by member: Anne

I would really like to see proper handling instructions for in-hand classes, breeding classes, division jogs, and inspections. One that covers the young horses would especially be fabulous!

Answer by Julie Winkel

This topic certainly needs to be discussed, so I’m glad someone is interested in the correct way to handle horses in the jog, model, and in-hand classes for young horses.

First and foremost, the turnout of the horse and dress of the handler make an important first and lasting impression.

Some rules for turnout include a nice braid job; and a clean, attractive and well-fitted bridle (preferably with a snaffle bit). The horse should be clean; with fetlocks, nose, bridle path, and the ears clipped (except foals or young horses that live outside).

The back number in all cases should be worn on the handler’s back and never around the horse’s neck. The handler should have a nice dress shirt, belt, khaki pants, blazer, and paddock boots (or riding attire). Hair should be neat and put up or under a hat or helmet.

Know the conformation faults of your horse, so if you are standing them up in the model, you can present them with any obvious defects hidden as best as possible. Horses and ponies should stand evenly with their legs underneath them in a balanced way. The head & neck should be stretched naturally long and low with the ears forward. Using gadgets such as cellophane or candy wrappers are good attractions for ears.

Always know where the judge is so you are presenting your horse at all times that you are within the judge’s view. When the judge is looking at the side of your horse, you should be in front, stretching the neck and getting the ears up. When the judge moves to the front, move off to the side so the judge can view the front legs. When the judge is looking from behind, stand off to the side so you can see the judge. Walk and jog your horse briskly, with the reins loose and never looking at your horse.

Video Recommendation:

tips on how to do a pony hunter class at a horse show

Pony Division Basics (skip to 1:35 for the model/jog portion)
Beverly Jovais
Join top pony trainer, Beverly Jovais, in this series where she introduces the basics of the pony division, giving newcomers to the pony ring a sense of what is required to compete in this division. In this series she outlines the numbers associated with ponies, such as pony strides & pony heights, guides her young student through properly presenting a pony for the model & under saddle classes, and narrates a hunter and a handy round.
Running Time:  14 minutes and 41 seconds

View Video

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Julie Winkel

Julie Winkel has been a licensed Hunter, Equitation, Hunter Breeding and Jumper judge since 1984. She has officiated at prestigious events such as Devon, Harrisburg, Washington International, Capital Challenge, The Hampton Classic and Upperville Horse Shows. She has designed the courses and judged the ASPCA Maclay Finals, The USEF Medal Finals and The New England Equitation Finals.

For more information, visit her website:

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