December 4, 2020

3 Common Classes You Might See at an Equestrian Competition

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Horse shows are a kind of exhibition that often contains contests and has origins in agricultural fairs. Over time they have evolved from informal displays to highly regulated, often prestigious events that many individuals spend months preparing for. Horses are bred and specially trained with tools like Cavaletti horse jumps to help them reach peak condition to perform at these shows. There are many classes you may see at one of these showcases.

Equitation class activities focus more on the rider's form (position, posture and seat) than on the horse's abilities. How the rider handles and interacts with the horse and how the horse responds to commands are important aspects. Dressage, where the horse and rider team execute a number of movements, is a common event in the equitation class.

This class is the opposite of equitation, with more emphasis placed on the horse's personality. Disposition, manners and gaits at different speeds are examples of factors evaluated in pleasure class events. Horses are judged on the basis that they should "be a pleasure" to ride, so what is essentially looked for is their suitability to be ridden on. Quietness, calmness and smoothness are considered pluses. Generally all riders enter the field and participate at the same time. They are instructed to have their horses do things like walk and jog in different directions and at varying speeds.

There are also often timed events. Jumping, barrel racing, cross-country and pole bending are timed class activities.

These are not the only classes of events that may be at a horse show. There are others like stock horse class and showmanship class. These spectacles may include several of these classes or feature only one, depending on scope and size. For example, show jumping, or stadium jumping, exhibitions may include both equitation events and jumping events, as well as hunter class events.

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