Showing in hand question

Hi everyone,

I have a question about how Morgans are shown in hand.

Why do people hover so close to the face when the horses are being stood up?

Why not get away from the horse and let them be seen?  It sometimes

looks as if the handler is picking at the horse, fussing with them.

I guess I prefer them to be shown on a longer lead.  I want to be able

to see the horse, not have the view blocked by the handler.

Any thoughts ?


4 Responses to Showing in hand question

  1. From my observation, showing an in-hand horse on a tight lead is for two purposes: first, the in-hand horses in our breed classes are hot and “up” and a tight hold close to the bit keeps them under control for a brief pose. Second, keeping a short lead enables the handler to raise the head and neck to achieve the desired pose with the neck straight up and contrasting it with the dropped back and flattened croup of a parked-out horse.
    We also see a close hold on most in-hand horses as they work down the rail, as the handler is using the double bridle to collect the horse and get him to move his weight back and lift more on the front-end. However, some of the horses work well on a longer lead with a whip held out in front of them and the tailer pushing the horse up into the bit. It is very difficult to show a horse in-hand in the way that the class has evolved. That fact alone may explain why our in-hand classes are dying off.
    However, if you go over to the sport horse area, horses are being shown “on the triangle” on a long lead and I think the presentation is much more effective, informative and amateur friendly.
    I mentioned in an earlier post the very intriguing idea set forth in the last TMH about changing the way our in-hand classes are presented. I think the idea has a great deal of merit, particularly (in my opinion) because it would encourage amateur owners to bring their horses back into the arena for a quiet, straightforward assessment of their stallion or mare which would be ranked against a set standard of conformation, rather than against the brilliance of the rest of the class.
    It is very discouraging for amateurs at present to bring their horses into the ring for an in-hand class. Even a good horse will seldom get a look, simply because of presentation. I am not faulting the professionals here; their job is to make the best presentation of their client’s horses and the more brilliant they can make them, the more “exciting” the class will be.

  2. kim viker says:

    Hi Chris,
    I do agree with what you are saying, and know that the training reflects what is winning; however, I feel that this way of showing Morgan in hand horses does a great disservice to the breed. I do feel that this trend has most amateurs staying out of the ring. I know that from my perspective as an amateur and as a breeder; I would not show beyond the yearling age classes. We have shown our yearlings on a loose lead Arabian type halter as yearlings. We keep them relaxed but showing nicely and are away from their heads/bodies.

  3. kim viker says:

    One other problem that the breed is increasingly facing and what I feel is a much more pressing issue (certainly more important than a horse show), is the noticeably poor conformation on some horses. Poor conformation is poor conformation and can be separated from tearing apart bloodlines per se, and I will not espouse to have horses without conformational faults, as there is no such horse. However, breeders need to be vigilant when mating horses; turkey necks, poor feet and legs simply cannot be tolerated; especially in a small gene pool. No amount of presence, animation or attitude in a horse should override good conformation. Period.
    Maybe this should be addressed as well.


  4. Well, part of the brilliance is moving the horse around so it’s faults are covered or less obvious. So, conformation is accordingly less important than which horse presents itself best. However, I think your justified concern about poor conformation can be best addressed by making the in-hand classes judged by a common standard rather than against the other horses. Otherwise, a superbly presented, brilliant horse with some basic faults, in the hands of a professional, will usually beat a correct horse quietly presented by an amateur. However, I do not think the Morgan horse as a whole is in deep trouble with conformation problems. Probably the most obvious is the prominent show bloodline which tends to toe out. Everyone is aware of the problem, you avoid it in breeding if you can, and the descendants are wonderful horses which live long, are excellent riding/driving horses and do not break down. Taking all that into account, we need to worry about Metabolic Disease in our fat Morgans more than debilitating conformation defects, IMO.

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