Arabian horse showing falls under the equestrian discipline of showing. There are three different categories of classes to compete in: Halter classes, riding classes and driving classes.
For the halter class, the handler brings the horse into the show ring on a lead. The handler then shows his or her horse to the judge, who will judge the horse on the basis of various aspects such as quality of movement and conformation.
In the riding classes, the competitor enters the show ring, mounted on his or her horse. There are various riding classes which all have different specifications of the type of picture the horse and rider should create. These can be categorised into two groups of classes. The first is Arabian performance classes. These are the more exhilarating and exciting classes. The different classes are:
Country Pleasure Horse
In this class we look for a horse with a free-flowing stride that allows itself to comfortably and calmly move forward with grace and style. Ideally the gaits should result from a balanced, cadenced motion that emanates from moderate impulsion created from the hindquarters. The standard is that the neck should be in an upright position, with moderate knee action.
English Pleasure Horse
The good English pleasure horse has the spirit of a show horse and gives the appearance that they enjoy their job, which makes them attractive and pleasing to the eye. Ultimately these horses have a great deal of charisma. They have an animated stride that allows them to move forward with authority, attitude and spectacular impulsion.
Western Pleasure Horse
The good western pleasure horse has a comfortable, free flowing stride of reasonable length in keeping with the horse’s conformation. It should cover a reasonable amount of ground with little effort. To be shown at a walk, jogtrot, lope and hand gallop.
Hunter Pleasure Horse Horse
In Hunter Pleasure, we look for a horse that successfully recreates the picture of riding out on a foxhunt. The standard is a forward-going horse with impulsion. The neck should be in an arch position.
The Costume class is one of the most spectacular classes, in which the horse and rider is dressed in native Arabian dress. Horses are shown at a walk, canter and hand gallop.
The Show Hack is by far the most technical class of all, demanding immense ability of the rider to guide the horse through 10 gaits. Each gait; walk, trot and canter, are carried out at a collection, normal gait and extension. In addition, the canter is also performed at a hand gallop; demanding increased lengthening of stride from the extended canter. A tendency to break gaits is a total disobedience and therefore completely unforgivable in this class.
The second group of riding classes is the English ridden classes, based on more traditional, classic riding style. These are:
Novice Riding Horse
These classes are dedicated to horses with limited experience. Competitors judged against the rail and are then asked to do an individual test.
Open Riding Horse
These classes are dedicated to horses with experience and are also asked to do an individual test.
Child’s Riding Horse & Child Rider
Child riders are below the age of 14, and are asked to perform a basic individual test.
Junior Riding Horse & Junior Rider
Junior riders are between the age of 14 and 18. Competitors will also be asked to do an individual test.
Adult Riding Horse & Adult Rider
Adult riders are riders above the age of 18 and also do individual tests.
The utility classes are the traditional “working riding” horses. Competitors are asked to do an individual test consisting of basic obstacles, such as jumps.
The final category is the driving classes, in which the competitor drives a cart pulled by the horse. Two driving classes exist, namely Country Pleasure Driving and English Pleasure Driving.