Great ideas for horse show classes

Just recently I was talking to some friends who were putting together a horse show. While they wanted to include the traditional classes in the show and wanted to have both English and Western disciplines covered, the subject came up about adding some fun classes. Since I had many more years experience with horse shows, both as an attendee and as an organizer, I added my thoughts. Here they are:

Liberty Class

A very common class back in the 1990’s in Arabian shows. This class is well suited to the halter only trained and fully trained horse. liberty classHere is how the class works. The horse is let loose in a good sized arena. Music is played and is the choice of the horse owner/exhibitor. The horse is allowed 2-3 minutes in the arena. Horse is judged on 3 main things, movement in matching to the music, variety of movement (cannot be all galloping or trotting, ect) and ease of catching the horse at the end of the 2-3 minutes. Other things judged are how well the horse is groomed and even how the handler is directing the horse – too much chasing and the performance is down graded. Horse can be judged by the audience clapping or a team of judges. Usually this is a jackpot class where there is a separate entry fee where the winner takes all.

Matched Pairs class

This class is more common in Britain, Australia and New Zealand than it is in the USA. The class is based on a good turn out of a matched pair of riders and horses. match pairsHorses are usually the same color and size. The tack of both horses match and the riders match in clothing. Other variations of this class are large and small, where one rider rides a large horse and the other rides a pony but the pony looks like it could be the twin of the larger horse but everything is scaled down. This class is not limited to just riding but can also be done as a halter class.



True leadline class

Leadline classes came from the actual experience of when children were first taken out on trail or a foxhunt to get them use to riding with others. They were ponied from another horse. When the experienced was mimicked in a horse show the leading rider and horse now became mom or dad leading their child around the ring on the ground. Adding a true lead line class would add a bit more skill on behalf of the handler.

 Other Classes

I have already written about Horse Agility, so you might be interested in adding that to your show. Here is a short list of other classes you might want to look into:

  • side saddle, both English and western
  • costume classes, get creative
  • hobby horse class (you know the stuff horse head on a stick) great for non-riders, young and old
  • Just clipped class, where you could show off your horse with imaginative clips. Check out this post for some ideas

Now you get to come up with some of your own. If you would like, you can share them with us on our Facebook Page


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