Empty In-Hand Classes

  Why do so few people show in-hand anymore?  This may be a mis-impression, but I was shocked that there was apparently only one senior stallion shown at New England this year. 

   Do people not want the hassle of preparing for an early class?  Is the payback vs. the fee not worth the trouble?   Is there a perception that the standard of showing is now so high that amateurs cannot compete?  Does no one want to bother with showing  babies/youngsters?   Is it all about the futurities?

33 Responses to Empty In-Hand Classes

  1. PlayMorBill says:

    Futurities are the ticket for the Jr horses. Wave a little cash and we’ll all come running. For the Sr horses, I think alot of them who could at least challenge for the blue at regular and Regional shows are being saved for their performance classes.

    For the Sr Horses at Oklahoma, it often boils down to who’s being led that year. For instance, there was little doubt who was going to be WC Stallion, again, this year, so the few who may have given entering a thought, thought twice, and didn’t. It’s sad, I agree.

    Corporate sponsorships would help plug some cash into the prize money and encourage more participation, but that has been blocked, time and again, by the powers that be at Nationals. I’ve always thought that if you win a world title, at least in the open divisions or halter, you should win enough prize money to pay for your horses way there. Maybe even enough to get him home.

    But that’s just me. I don’t mind a few banners on the rail touting a sponsors support. Heck, I’ll wear a sign on my back :)

    Mr Bill
    (Who’s back could read: #237 – Kentucky Coal Mines Morgan Grand National and World Championship Horse Show)

    Hmm… that would be a really big back number. :

  2. PlayMorBill says:

    Forgot the Amateur question:

    “Is there a perception that the standard of showing is now so high that amateurs cannot compete?”

    I’m not an amateur, so I can’t really answer that, but there’s plenty of room in those halter classes. If you’ve got a pretty (oops, that’s subjective)… if you’ve got a correctly conformed horse who displays a good degree of Morgan Type, then by all means get in there!

    Mr Bill
    PlayMor Farm

  3. PlayMorBill says:

    PlayMorBill is Empty in Hand?
    Sounds like a sad tribute to an old, broke friend. with glasses.

    classes. Classes. shi– um, poop.

    PlayMorBill ON Empty In-Hand Classes.

    [muttering] …45 minutes headin’ the wrong way….
    Not the first time, won’t be the last.


  4. PlayMorBill says:

    I still don’t know how to edit a post.
    Which is also a sad tribute to a broke friend, in an undecuted sorta way, who should wear his GLASSES when types.

  5. jj4osu says:

    I am an extreme amatuer, and anytime we are at a show with an in-hand class, other than Nationals, I’m going to be leading (or being drug) out at least one. For us thats pretty much going to be Wheat State each year. I wish our smaller local shows would have some in-hand, but heck we’re lucky to get 10 horses total at the regional.
    Why do we do it?? Mainly because I have a blast doing it, and pretty much think if you have a horse good enough to go show at that level, he/she better be good enough to look at naked! We may not always be the most polished pair, but we are learning as we go and will hopefully get better.
    But its frustrating to go ot there in a class of one!!
    We’ll show at least 2 in hand this year, a yearling filly and one of our geldings. Have a filly I think could be competitive at Nationals (both mom and dad were), but will have to seriously think about getting her with a pro leading up to Nationals, cause I really think there is a bias against ams at that level. Truly believe that I led out Dragonsmeade Icon this year and instead of Dragonsmeade on his name he had our prefix, he would have placed 3rd and not made it out of his qualifier….no matter how good he showed. May not be true, but that is the perception among most ams I’ve talked to.
    To go back to another topic, not sure I really want to ginger up my filly if thats what it will take to make her show competitively anyway.
    One other thing, again maybe this is just perception on my part, but it sure seems that our in-hand classes are really treated as Park Horse Suitability classes, and the attitude and how high they trot off plays a much bigger role than conformation and type.

  6. Chris Nerland says:

    I think the Grand National is a special case. How many pages of ads in the MC, which shows are won and who is at the end of the lead all play a part. This is not to say the WCs aren’t fine horses, just that there are externalities (which, if you can afford to play the game, make it sort of interesting).
    I guess my implied question was, how can we encourage fuller classes?
    I agree that it is frustrating/disappointing to prepare a horse for an in-hand class and then end up alone in the arena. I got much more out of my 6th place ribbon out of a class of 26 for Dressage Conformation at an open show than I got out of winning a Morgan class of two!
    I see some shows with a Suitablility to be a sport horse/dressage classes. If regular in-hand has become a park-horse suitability class (which may or may not be true, depending on the judge), then splitting off the differently conformed, differently moving horses into their own class seems like a good response, but then you have to ask a couple of questions:
    1. In a Division where entries are low already, do we really want to split it further?
    2. Of what use is a breed standard if there is such a gulf between two different conformations/way-of-going that you have to judge them separately or one will never place ?

    So, I raise another question:
    Should we judge in-hand classes standing still? (That sounds kinda stupid, but what I mean is, should the conformation/type which is displayed in the line-up be weighted much more than the trot down the line?) As a practical test of the soundness and straightness of a horse’s way-of-going, the typical trot-off in Morgan in-hand classes is not too helpful. The judge stands to the side and the horse trots oblique along the rail. This is not a way of detecting crookedness, it is to see who trots the “best”. We all love to watch a Morgan trot (to me, it is a defining hallmark of the breed). But I love a surging, powerful,reaching trot on a hunter just as much as I love a balanced park trot. One is NOT a superior horse nor a superior trot to the other. So, if one “trot” consistently wins over the other “trot” without regard to how closely the horses conform to the breed standard, the message being sent is a pretty powerful one.

    So, perhaps, one reason the in-hand classes are not entered is because they have lost their purpose (I am only speculating here-I invite comments!). Instead of a guide to breeders and potential buyers of what constitutes a “correct” Morgan (by an Objective breed standard), they might be viewed as a rather odd, poorly attended and unimportant series of classes at the beginning of a horseshow where the handlers and the judge engage in a trotting contest to see who can go the highest (in front). Sorta like reiners engaged in a sliding contest.

    I enjoy showing in-hand. Older and fatter me makes it a tougher job (maybe that is why I am discussing discounting the trot-away :-) ), but I think it is a challenging class that tests a horseman in a completely different way than performance classes. Getting the pose, popping the ears, getting a nice pass down the line can all be very satisfying. We all love our home-breds and think they have nice points. What better way to show them off than in-hand? So leaving aside the trotting contest theory, why don’t more people do this? Heck, if I had been at NEMHS this summer with a horse with 4 legs, 2 ears and 2 of the important appendages, I could have gotten a reserve senior champion stallion ribbon! That is just nuts! (pun kinda sorta accidental there). The most prestigious and oldest Morgan Regional and no one could be bothered to drag out another stallion? I am not discounting Roberto Cavelli’s victory here. He is a nice horse and he showed up. Where the heck was everyone else? This just really bothers me and maybe I am over-reacting, but my Morgan dream is to show at New England some day in the big ring and it must be a pretty jaded, cynical bunch of stallion owners who couldn’t be bothered! I doubt very much if any brilliance would have been shaved off a later performance by spending 10-15 minutes in an in-hand class.

    So, other than exerting Vulcan Mind Control to get people to eagerly race to the arena trailing their horses behind them for the in-hand classes, or overhauling the in-hand emphasis (which might not work-Commentary please!), how do we get more hooves in the tanbark so to speak? Money would be nice, but isn’t it already a high-dollar competition? Besides, all the shows are nearly broke anyway.

    Maybe the time for in-hand classes has passed. The breed gene pool is established and the pressure of the median will keep most morgans looking like “Morgans” in the long run. Maybe people have already voted with their feet and simply don’t care about those odd little trotting contests. I would miss them badly, but maybe we should just bury them with honor.


  7. colwilrin says:

    I show a Hunter and a Western horse. The hunter was a futurity champion as a yearling, and the western horse (when still and EP Jr. Horse Prospect) did very well in halter.

    So, why don’t I show in hand?

    My hunter has his mane pulled for braiding, and I really don’t want my Western horse around all the “clatter” (bag whips, etc…) We have spent too much time getting him to relax.

    In our area, the specialty in hand classes are growing. This is because our hunt/western divisions are large. The traditional halter, the majority of which are EP/Park horses, reflects the lower percentage of horses in those respective disciplines.

    On another note: I just hate getting up that early and putting forth that much cleaning effort for a class and championship that usually has no payback at all.

  8. Vintage_Rider says:

    I love the specialty in hand. I always thought that if 40% is conformation, why not give the judge a good “look see” at my naked horse before the class? Granted, it is much easier for western or classic without the braiding issue, but why not?

    And I would like to start another thread since I have a wild hair someplace it probably shouldn’t be… WHAT IS WITH THE LACK OF PAYBACKS AT NATIONALS??? PLEASE DON’T TELL ME THAT “NOBODY SHOWS FOR THE MONEY” … as I have always found, only those that HAVE money say that. Until very recently, I was an extreme amateur on my own, and I really looked at what the paybacks were in shows before I entered. I had a fine horse who normally “paid her way” to the show with her winnings, and as an AOTS I just couldn’t justify nationals.

    Tell me what the argument against corporate sponsorships, bigger payback is? I just don’t get it! We have corporate sponsorships starting to revolutionize and help coffers at several shows now… why not nationals?

  9. Chris Nerland says:

    You make very fair points, colwilrin (but then, you always do!) If the specialty in-hand classes are growing, then maybe my remarks are just a solution looking for a problem.
    Do you eventually see two in-hand divisions, of equal status (if not equal numbers) represented at regionals and the national? I think those would have to be the senior in-hand divisions since (as you noted) a Junior in-hand may well change to a different Division w/maturity. Maybe the weanling to 2 year old classes can just be a sort of “beauty” contest (Here is one for Bill) with the 3 and older splitting off into Specialty In-Hand.

    Do we then, for practical purposes, have a SHOW WC and a USE WC?

    If a Specialty In-Hand allowed for a pulled mane/braided mane, do you think you would show in-hand? Leaving aside getting up in the morning, that is :-)

  10. PlayMorBill says:

    The style in which we show halter horses is not the best way to evaluate conformation or soundness. But we Show folk value the entertainment side of the show ring. We place a heavy emphasis on it. Reiners in a sliding contest is far more interesting and exciting to watch then Reiners standing still, then jogging off. Standing still & jogging off. Standing still & jogging off.

    Is it right? No. Is it more exciting? Yes.

    Again, it’s the Great Divide.

    After wandering off on a tangent, I came upon a a thought. Imagine my surprise. I was clearly standing outside the box when it occured to me that one way we might start to de-emphasize the ‘Show’ in halter, and to re-emphasize it’s primary mission, would be to limit the tailers role.

    Maybe take the whip out of his hand.

    We can’t get them out of there completely. They are to important to the model. It takes two to get the pose, neck, ears and lean right, and the antics tailers go through are silly and fun to watch. Part of the show. :)

    But the trot down the rail might begin to calm down if there’s no whip-happy bulldozer pushing the horse into bridle and stride (and blocking the view of the judge – Mr Bills Pet Peave #23). While this would be considered sacralige to Show folk (I’ll be hung, hopefully just in effigy, for suggesting it), it might be a way to start realing halter back in.

    We’d at least get to see who wants to trot and who wants to go back to the barn, an excellent way to evaluate charisma and enthusiasm.

    Is that a fix? Nope. But that’s the kind of change that can get things started. They incrementaly became this way, we have to incrementaly step it back.

    Corporate sponsorship, which is not exactly banging down our door, has met resistance from a faction within our breed for years. They offer several arguments, and some are compelling: Tainting the breed by comercializing it; Bending to accomodate corporate sponsors whims and desires; The signs on the arena walls mucking up their picture.

    But, in my opinion, it’s all about staying a big fish in a little pond. Most of that faction have no problem paying their Oklahoma bills.

    Money is often considered evil in the Morgan breed. Auction prices are public knowledge, despite Cochrans attempts to hide them, but we keep our private sales private. Rumours of prices paid often exaggagerate the truth, but sometimes the truth is flabergasting.

    I wonder if this is a detriment to progress, or a safe bastion for everyone.

    What would it take to purchase the current WC Stallion?

    I’ll start the bidding at $100,000…

  11. Chris Nerland says:

    I really like the idea of having the tailers stand in the center while the individual workouts occur, Bill. I guess we could let them tail for the first pass into the arena to add to the excitement and then tuck their whips and peel off in the lead up to the judge for the trot-away A simple enough change, but oh, so revealing on the trot-away! In fact, I think a Judge could exercise his discretion by simply specifying at the class announcement that no tailers would be allowed on the trot-away, but only on the model. Excellent idea.

  12. jj4osu says:

    I love the specialty in-hand classes. I my 4yr old won the Sport Horse suitabillity class as a yearling colt and as a 2yr old gelding at Wheat State. There were actually a couple other folks who brought horses into those classses. We took him into the regular in-hand classes as well, and neither year was there another horse in his age group…so didn’t get to see any competition until the 2nd or 3rd time in the ring.

    WE don’t really do it for the $$…but $$ will dang sure be a consideration in what we do with this 4yr old this year, trying to squeeze a bit out of the futurity alumni fund. We’ll put him out in dressage, probably hunter pleasure…but heck might let him drag me around the ring in the 4yr old gelding class…he’s nice (In my humble but biased opinion) but definitely not the type of guy to attract judges or the crowd in that class…but last in a class of 3 would mean a few hundred $$ …heck, this year there was only 1 4yr old gelding, not sure what the alumni payouts were this year, but in 2009 it was $1200 for a 2nd place…dang sure worth an entry if we can make the scheduling work with his dressage schedule.

    Why do people have a problem with corporate sponsorship?? Don’t think its hurt the AQHA world show (kicking off tomorrow in OKC btw) too much…
    I’m with Bill, who cares if there are John Deere, Sundowner, Holiday Inn banners around the ring if it brings a bit more $$ into our breed…who cares if we announe the “2011 Built Ford Tough Park Saddle World Champion is xxxxx” I don’t understand the objection.

  13. Vintage_Rider says:

    I wish you weren’t right Bill, but I bet you are on the big fish, little pond thing. I always contended that one shouldn’t get a big head for a big ribbon in OKC, or regionals for that matter, there are equally nice ponies sitting at home due to the high cost of showing, and they could whip butt given the opportunity.

  14. colwilrin says:

    Chris…Please, Please….do not use “SHOW” and “USE” terms…AHHHHH!!!! LOL


    I have considered showing both of mine in the specialty in hand. If there were some money in it, you might coax me out of the hotel room before 9am to get over to the show and do it.

    Regarding corporate sponsorship: I would be all for it. If it increases the prize money and encourages more participation by single owners and small farms, I would wear a big “PURINA” sign on my back.

  15. StacyGRS says:

    cause I really think there is a bias against ams at that level.

    I disagree. I believe that if an ama showed up and led a great horse with the skill to make it lead and stand as well as or better than the others, the presentation as good as or better than the others, turnout at least equal to what the professionals have done with their horses, AND that ama had the ability to recognize and take advantage of each opportunity in a class (there are many tiny, quick moments that the best “showman” take advantage of that the rest never see come and go in any given class) they’d have just as good a chance at winning as any professional. I DO think that there is a level of presentation demanded at the GN and anything short of that, like it or not, is going to have a negative effect on the outcome. But being an ama and having that level of presentation are not mutually exclusive…but they are less likely. I don’t think it has a thing to do with professional or ama other than the professionals generally have the advantage of more experience both in putting horses in the ring and in the actual showing. I am always surprised when I hear people say this. I think it is like saying “judges are biased because they always rule in favor of the person with the lawyer when the other represents himself.” I don’t think it’s a bias toward lawyers, I think you pay them because they are good at what they do…and they SHOULD be better than the person representing themselves!!! It’s their job:) They devote at least as many hours to it as you do to your job every day…they generally have 40 more hours at it a week, 10-20 times the number of horses to work with on a daily basis, 20 or more times the ring experiences, and likely some kind of internship under their belt (all at a very minimum, btw). The advantage isn’t a “who’s who” or a pro/ama bias…it’s a standard of presentation. by the time you get to Oklahoma, your horse has to be given every chance and in that aged stallion class, they better be in their top form,top turnout, top presentation from head to toe. But, if they are, I don’t think many judges care about the professional status of the person doing the presenting. JMO.

    That said, the light classes are due to a few things, IMO.
    It has become a very title oriented world. If they aren’t going to be first or second, they likely aren’t going to “waste” the time and energy on something that isn’t their main focus. If there were going to be 15 horses, yes, it would be both fun and worth it. But there aren’t.
    IMO, the gap between the good and the great horses has widened and in hand brings that out. A good horse can’t show better than the great one and beat it. A good horse can’t bank on having a better go than the great one, for the most part. In a performance class, there’s always the chance that the great horse will not walk or will miss a lead or will be flat and hopefully get called out for it. In an in hand class, there is a pretty slim chance of a mistake costing the horse.
    The ama’s want to have the fun. Open classes are small…the ama’s don’t want to sit and watch, they want to SHOW. But they really don’t want to show in hand. Or at least most of mine. They have no desire to come out here and take in hand lessons where they get to lead horses around and run in 90 degrees:) The practice isn’t that fun. Practicing riding and driving, now THAT’s fun. So, if there is a chance that they don’t get to take a lesson at the show on in hand day if their horse shows, or if their trainer say “we’re going in there to be third out of 3″ or they THINK their horse is not as good as the others, then they just aren’t going to say to their trainer, “I want my horse shown in hand please.”
    How to fix that? I don’t know. But I hope we can. These classes should be a collection of horses that people get to see…not the same 2-3 getting qualified.
    as for money, no, nobody does it FOR the money…but they might do it a little more if there WAS money! If you got a payback that just covered your horse’s stall and entries it would be nice and make people feel better about constantly putting $$$ out there. I believe that some of the hoopla about Corporate sponsorships was that, when offered in the past, it has been someone that said “I want to put $XXXX.00 in a park saddle Championship” or something like that. Well, Oklahoma has never allowed anything to be “unequal”. in other words, if there is $5,000.00 in the open park saddle championship, there has to be the same in the Hunter Pleasure Champ., the classic pleasure driving Champ.,the Carriage Pleasure Driving Champ., etc, etc. So, they always wanted money to be given, but then they decide how to divide it up and give it out. Corporations don’t want 20 $250.00 classes…they want one great class with their name attached. If we are going to get big $$ we are going to have to let the people giving it have some say in how it’s used.

  16. Montehorse says:

    I am an amateur, and I do show my horse in-hand at non-rated shows. The reason I do not compete at A-rated shows is that there is no geriatric class for horses. My horse is extremely typey, but could never compete against the younger crowd of horses that the pros bring in.

    Also, the in-hand are not very exciting to watch in my opinion. Even at the larger shows, there is usually a relatively small amount of pros that compete in these classes. In order to save time, I usually arrive at a show the day after the in-hand classes.

    I do not think the in-hand classes are as important as the performance classes. If I’m going to breed a mare, I want the stallion (of course to be typey), but most importantly be able to perform in harness or under saddle. To me, a pretty horse is nice, but one that can perform is much more desirable.

  17. PlayMorBill says:

    VR said: …”there are equally nice ponies sitting at home…”

    You’re right. Every year. I miss the days when, once a horse won a world championship, he/she/it was automaticaly qualified for that event in the years to come.

    It was fun seeing a past-champ take another stab at it.

    Stacy’s got it right: We’re Title Happy. Or maybe, Title Obsessed. :)

    Mr B

  18. Stacy raises some good points. It was a bit disheartening to read that she believes the gap between good and great horses is widening. Do others agree? There always was a gap, w/o question, but is it really widening? The whole point of A.I. was to make great sires easily available to everyone who could pay the fee. You find get of well-known sires popping up in the unlikliest places now. I believe the old horsemen were right-the Mare is more than 50% of the equation.

    If there were in-hand paybacks, what if it was governed by a sliding scale at Regionals where the payback depended on the number of horses in the class? Has this been tried? Is it practical?

    I have always felt that in-hand classes were a good way to get your youngsters out in front of people, 2 years earlier than waiting for performance classes. They might not win the class, but someone might see them and like what they saw. It puts the farm name out there. The horses our stallion is producing now are a bit old-fashioned compared to the modern in-hand china-dolls, but we certainly get positive commentary from people. Knowledgable horsemen know that the placings of weanling and yearling in-hand has very little to do with what capability the mature horse has. So, why not go out and have fun with the babies? And people do. Those classes tend to be larger.

    Aged stallion classes, on the other hand, are serious business and all I can say is that if we are going to have paybacks in any class, we probably should do it there to encourage getting more stallions in the ring. Not placing well or at all can have a real economic bite so I understand the reluctance.

  19. empressive says:

    Hmm I did wonder why the walls at OKC were so bare….

    That said I always looked at the In-Hand classes as the classes that “dictated” who conformationally was a “good” breeding horse for the future.

    I do think that showing is harder for an amateur in the In-Hand classes. I took my mare to a few classes and will possibly do some next year for my little sister to have fun. Personally that dirt is DEEP. Mucking around like that is not exactly fun, and not everybody is in shape to be running around with a 1,000 lb monster next to them.

    While that is true, I have not found the In-Hand classes to be amateur prohibitive.

    I do think that it is harder to enjoying showing “older” horses though. It seems like once a horse is over 16 or 20 the ability to continue showing drops.

  20. StacyGRS says:

    If it’s any consolation, Chris, I also believe that there are alot more good ones than there used to be. I think the number of good horses vs. average horses used to fall in favor of the average horses. Now I think, overall, there are alot more good ones. And more great ones as well. But I do think the greats have pulled away from the good a bit. The sad part of it is that this should make amazingly good in hand classes, but the fact is that with the few great ones it seems that people sort of leave it to the standouts and don’t show against them. But wouldn’t it be cool to see a ringful of stallions that have gotten so nice? The title obsession, however, has people very hesitant to allow a nice horse to get beaten…

  21. Off-topic notice: If you have not already gone, go and see Secretariat. I think it captures the connection that exists between horses and humans, the passion that we horse owners have to win, the ultimate mystery of why horses do what they do. When Big Red is in the starting gate and the closeup zooms to his eye, and the breathing accelerates, you feel like you are on the brink of understanding.
    Great performance by Diane Lane, both steel-willed and conflicted.
    The back-stretch sequences and farm sequences show the shabbiness of old barns, the beautiful animals coming out of them and the horsepeople who inhabit them. You can smell the manure and the bedding and the horse-sweat and the dust. Seabiscuit was a good movie. This is a great movie.

  22. khummel says:

    As a trainer who wants to remain in business, we have to keep the customer happy. When they come to you and say I ONLY want to win and are disappointed with a second third or less ribbon at all horse shows including Oklahoma it is easy to see the classes will keep getting smaller. And the client is going to end up disappointed as in the words of my late great uncle Buzz You are not going to win all the ballgames. Thankfully not all clients think like this but every stable has more than a few that do.

  23. mikado12 says:

    OK, I’m not a professional or even an amateur (I’ve sadly been out of the horse ownership thing for too long a time) but I give huzzah and kudos to all who show their awesome horses in hand early in the morning at any show. There is nothing I love better than arriving at the show grounds, still a little sleepy, then seeing those awesome horses snort and trot, flagging their tails, their hooves clacking on the pavement on the way to the ring, absolutely gorgeous…what a good, happy rush!

  24. Flmorgan says:

    I love showing in hand but I think the time has come for Corporate Sponsors and to seperate the In Hand classes into, Sport suitability[ fills well in our area] Western , etc. Offer more money to Breeders and they will find it worth while to show their young stock. I don’t mind a few sign around the arena and times are changing and the Morgan has to change with them.

  25. markmhf says:

    Interesting discussion. Stacy makes many good points which I agree with. One person said in hand classes are “park suitability” and I can’t get behind that concept. We won world champion junior stallion and guess what this colt is going to be shown in next year? Yep 3 year old hunter pleasure. We have shown 3 okc winners who showed hunter after winning halter classes so I think halter is open to any horse that looks like a nice morgan. However with the way these chats go I now can totally see a seperate discussion lamenting hunters that look like park horses. Haha


  26. MarkMHF, what you said confirms my conviction that the placing of junior in-hand horses is not a predictor of what the mature horse does best. Your stable always shows very well. Stacys remarks on the effort a professional puts into the show are very accurate. However, once again I think the GN is exceptional. A hard-working amateur should do pretty well at a Regional or Class A IF it is a conformation class and not a trotting contest (sorry-I have seen too many of them).
    Any comments by you professionals on PlayMorBills tailers? Not trying to stir a fight, just interested in other points of view. Do you think a Judge could order tailers to remain at center ring for the trot-away?

  27. Trisha says:

    In my opinion, the in hand division is for the SHOW OFF with Morgan type not necesarily the park/pleasure horse. We have a western horse who is as sane and calm as they come and he doesn’t need to be worked down in order to be calm enough for a western class. But he is a show off. When he’s being lead to the bullpen, his tail will flip over his back and once he’s turned loose he prances around (especially if he sees another horse). Same goes if he’s lunged at a show (not at home), if he sees something to show off for his tail goes straight up and he starts showing off.

    The best in hand horses are the ones that not only are pretty and fit Morgan criteria, but the ones that enjoy showing in hand. Not all horses are in hand horses, no matter how good their conformation and type. It seems to me that when judging in hand, it’s preferred to have a horse that seems to enjoy what they are doing, not just plugging along going through the motions.

  28. Vintage_Rider says:

    By the by… I see the NY SSA is sponsored by Purina.

  29. StacyGRS says:

    I absolutely agree that a well prepared ama and a nice horse should be able to do well at a regional or class A show…and I wish they’d do it more! The ones that enjoy showing in hand will get to have fun…the ones that don’t enjoy it will realize it fast:)
    I don’t quite see the practicality of Bill’s tailer plan (sorry Bill:)…so, the tailer wanders thru the 3 judges and 3 ringmasters at OKC to avoid being helpful? If judges objected to the trots, they could, and should IMO, penalize for them. I’d rather see that done. Perhaps a middle of the road start would simply be putting it somewhere in the judging standards and mentioned in judges schools that a horse must not take more than 2 steps at a canter or they have to be being judged on their trot from the first step or something like that. I don’t think it has been addressed at all, so jumping to changing how the classes are run all of a sudden isn’t going to increase those numbers we’re seeking, I don’t think. If it were a trotting contest, however, they would get punished. I tend to think it’s a bit of a last man standing contest in some of the young horse classes…the one that still looks a little like it wants to be there wins:) I think posing is necessary, to some degree, but I don’t think it should enable a lesser horse to beat a better one because then it becomes a performance class. I think, as with all things, there’s a middle ground and there’s no perfect answer. I think somehow there has to be a balance. I think you can’t reward a horse that plain old makes no effort and appears to not want to be there. I dislike that as much as anyone. But, I also can’t condone letting a good horse that models ‘well’ be beaten by a lesser conformed horse because it’s willing to be molded into a statue.

  30. leslie says:

    “We can’t get them out of there completely. They are to important to the model. It takes two to get the pose, neck, ears and lean right, and the antics tailers go through are silly and fun to watch. Part of the show.”

    While I do agree that the tailers make the in-hand division more entertaining by virtue of their own performances, are they really necessary? Arabians don’t use tailers in halter classes, and they certainly require a performance out of their halter horses. Moreso than Morgans, even.

    For the record, I’m not advocating getting rid of tailers. I’m just sayin’.

    “We have shown 3 okc winners who showed hunter after winning halter classes so I think halter is open to any horse that looks like a nice morgan. However with the way these chats go I now can totally see a seperate discussion lamenting hunters that look like park horses. Haha”

    I can’t lie. Reading along my first thought was, “Hunter, park, what’s the difference again? Braids, right?” But yeah, there’s not a lot left to say on that topic that hasn’t already been said!

    To answer the original topic, I don’t know the answer, I can only speak for myself. I don’t show in-hand because it bores me to tears. I like riding. If I wanted to lead something around, I’d show minis or dogs or something. They’re cheaper to feed. I can understand why people would be interested in the division. I’m just not.

  31. dressagemorganrider says:

    I am an ammy and with the right horse, I’d do Sport Horse In Hand, absolutely. Regular in-hand just seems like a place where “show” will win over conformation, and I’m old-fashioned enough to think in-hand classes should be about conformation, movement (appropriate for the discipline) and type. Sport Horse In Hand generally is just that.

  32. lainer1030 says:

    Has anyone ever seen an “At Liberty”,freestyle class at an Arabian show? I would love to see some of our top modeling horses show in a class with only the provocation of the crowd….. trot, off line, out of hand and let them show to their best potential and ability…now I would sponser that class!

  33. underdog88 says:

    I have been saying for the longest time that we need At Liberty classes!!!!! I have seen them at Arab, Friesian, and Mini shows, and even a video from one at a Saddlebred show!! They are incredibly fun and beautiful to watch. Exhibitors also get to choose music to go along with their entry and it really adds to the beauty and excitement.

    If anyone has not seen one of these classes before, I advise you to look it up on YouTube. Morgans would be perfect for this division too!!

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