Western Showing 101 - Trail

Trail is an arena class and allows you to demonstrate that your horse is adaptable and pleasurable to ride through an obstacle course. The trail class is judged on the performance of the horse over obstacles, with emphasis on manners, response to the rider, and quality of movement.

Most western associations have a trail class; AQHA describe the trail class as “The trail class tests the manoeuvrability of an American Quarter Horse through an obstacle course. Mandatory obstacles include one in which the rider will open, pass through and close a gate. Scoring is based on the horse’s willingness, ease and grace in negotiating the course. The other two mandatory obstacles are riding over at least four logs or poles and one backing obstacle.”

The UK’s Western Equestrian Society description of trail “This class requires horse and rider to negotiate a series of obstacles placed on the arena surface. The horse is marked on its attitude on approaching and dealing with each element of the course. Obstacles include a gate, walking, jogging or loping over poles and backing between poles or around cones. Other obstacles can be four poles forming a square of between 5 and 6ft in which the horse must turn 360 degrees, side passing over, in front of, or between poles in both directions, and carrying an object from one point to another.”


Trail Manoeuvres
The course contains 6 to 10 obstacles, including mandatory and optional obstacles, there are three mandatory obstacles which will be included in all patterns, there are then a number of optional obstacles that can be added.

Mandatory obstacles are:
Open, pass through, and close gate
Ride over at least four logs
A backing obstacle


Optional obstacles are:
Water hazard
Serpentine at walk or jog
Carrying an object
Ride over wooden bridge
Put on and remove slicker
Side pass

Unacceptable obstacles:
PVC pipe
Dismounting or ground ties
Rocking or moving bridges
Water box with floating parts
Flames, dry ice, fire extinguisher, etc.

Judging and Scoring

Scoring (Based on the AQHA scoring system)

  • Basis of 0 to infinity, with a score of 70 as an average performance

  • Each obstacle is scored on a range from a +1½ to -1½

  • Points added or subtracted from the manoeuvres:

-1½ extremely poor, -1 very poor, -½ poor, 0 average

+½ good, +1 very good, +1½ excellent.


  • Contains ½-point, 1-point, 3-point, and 5-point penalties, with the most severe due to:

Dropping slicker or object

Letting go of gate or dropping rope gate

Use of either hand to instil fear or praise

Stepping out of, falling, or jumping off an obstacle with more than one foot

Blatant disobedience (kicking out, bucking, rearing, striking)

  • Obstacle score of 0

Ride outside course boundary

Wrong lead through entire obstacle

Fail to complete an obstacle

Wrong line of travel

Touching the horse to lower the head

Third refusal or evasion of the obstacle

Use of two hands when riding with a curb bit

Useful Resources
If you are thinking about giving trail a try, here is a roundup of resources you might find useful


One Pole at a Time is a how-to instructional video series for those interested in trail competition at American Quarter Horse Association events. This three-part series features Tim "The Trail Man" Kimura who designs the trail class courses for the AQHA World Championship events. Learn how to measure and set up trail class obstacles at home along with valuable tips and tricks of the trade that will help you excel in showing your American Quarter Horse in trail classes.

One Pole at a Time Part 1 https://youtu.be/XKH19ZryMdc

One Pole at a Time Part 2 https://youtu.be/lpR8WSVZfB4

One Pole at a Time Part 3 https://youtu.be/tLqcmub_wy4


We asked Avril Wilson, a talented British show clothing designer, what should be worn for trail classes:

Trail, Western Riding and Pleasure are informal classes. This means the judge is focusing on your horse, so you can wear whatever you like! These classes give you so much freedom. For women riding jackets and vest sets look vibrant, smart and fun with all of their leather appliqué. Vest sets are especially good options because you can change the colour of the shirt under the vest, creating a whole new look!


TIP: Block-coloured shirts also look great in these classes, especially if you or your horse is a novice.

Men, should wear starched jeans and smart shirts. Make sure the sleeves and body are long enough that the sleeves don’t ride up your arm when reaching out, and you don’t become untucked!

Look out for Avril’s stunning Collection 33 outfits in the show pen and if you are interested in your own one-of-a-kind, custom piece then look for Collection 33 on Facebook or call 07970462486.

Western Showing 101 - Halter & Showmanship


What’s the difference? 

Halter focuses on the horse’s conformation whereas showmanship concentrates on the handler and the performance. 

In a halter class, horses are judged on their conformation and whether it represents the breed ideal. They should be well-mannered and show balance, structural correctness and good movement and characteristics appropriate to their breed and sex. 

Classes are typically split by sex (mares, geldings and stallions) and age (weanlings, yearlings, 2-year-olds, 3-year-olds and aged horses), but sometimes they may be grouped together. These classes are usually affiliated with a breed association such as AQHA or APHA. 

If you’re unsure whether your horse will be competitive in Halter classes, ask a trainer or more experienced competitor for their opinion. However, just because your horse may not be a multiple Grand Champion does not mean you can’t still have a go. Halter classes provide valuable show experience, especially for younger horses. Additionally, remember that different Judges have different preferences. It is not unknown to see a horse place low under one judge only to win under another.  

Differing from Halter, Showmanship does not focus on the horse’s conformation but instead on the handler’s ability to show the horse. The class is judged on the ability of an exhibitor and their horse to execute a pattern consisting of a combination of manoeuvres. The horse must be well conditioned and groomed, and the pattern executed smoothly and precisely. The exhibitor should be poised and confident, and their body position is also judged. Turnout is important, but in this class, unlike Halter, the horse is not judged on its conformation. Any horse (and anyone) can excel in Showmanship! 

For most associations, Showmanship is a scored class. For example, the AQHA judging system scores each manoeuvre from very good, to very poor. An overall final score from 0-100 is chosen. Minor, major and severe faults result in point deductions. The overall presentation of exhibitor and horse is also a factor. Showmanship is usually a class for Amateur or Youth exhibitors; however, some associations and unaffiliated shows will put on Open Showmanship classes. 


Why not would be a better question. There are many reasons to have a go at these classes. These classes teach a horse to have good ground manners, something which is important in any successful partnership. Learning to control your horse on the ground has many benefits including helping to build a relationship and ensuring your horse is safe to handle. This relationship can also make your horse easier to handle for farriers, vets, etc. – particularly useful in critical times. Having a horse that will stand calmly for a vet can help in a stressful situation. Good control on the ground can improve your ridden work too. Another reason may be that your horse may be too young to be shown in ridden classes yet. Also, they are an excellent way to get points on your horse if you are competing in affiliated events. Last but not least, a key reason to have a go is that they’re fun!

Showmanship Manoeuvres 
-Extended jog
-Backup (straight and curved)
-Turn 90 (1/4), 180 (1/2), 270 (3/4) or 360 (full turn) degrees. Pull turns are not used.
-Set up (setting the horse up to stand squarely) 
-Inspection (where the judge ‘inspects’ the horse) 


Halter and showmanship require less equipment than ridden classes. All you need is a halter and lead. A show halter is leather and often adorned with varying amounts of silver. A leather lead with a chain is then attached. The halter must be well fitted, and they do come in different sizes. It may be worth asking others to try theirs on for size before investing in your own. The quality can also vary widely.

Turnout & Presentation

Turnout is crucial in these classes. Horse and exhibitor should be immaculate. Horses need to be well conditioned and groomed. Many exhibitors also clip their horses’ facial hair (whiskers and ears), around the coronet band and sometimes the white markings. Turnout is now often influenced by the other classes the horse may be shown in. For example, an all around pleasure type horse will often have a short mane that will be banded whereas a reiner, or ranch horse, may have a longer mane left un-banded. Furthermore, a horse shown in ranch riding won’t wear hoof black. 

The exhibitor’s presentation is also paramount in Showmanship. You need to be smart and tidy. Remember, you can be up close with the judge in this class so details matter. Makeup and clean, manicured nails can be the finishing touches that make a difference in a close competition. In Halter, there is less emphasis on the exhibitor with more focus on the horse, but as with any class, you should always try and present yourself as best as you can. 

Get Practising
The best way to get started, and succeed, in these classes (especially Showmanship) is to get practising. In both classes, your horse needs to be able to be set up to stand squarely – something that takes practice. However, methods will differ between the classes. In Halter, you can manually move their feet. In Showmanship, the set up must be achieved 'off the halter' in other words you cannot touch the horse or point at their feet. Teaching a horse to stand still and quietly can take time. Showmanship manoeuvres take practice; it is the key to success. Ten minutes a day can make all the difference. If you don’t get to see your horse regularly, there are still things you can practice in the comfort of your home. Hang a halter on a chair and practise your footwork for the inspection. Make a conscious effort to move with good posture, poise and confidence. Showmanship can be addictive and very rewarding when you start to see the results of your hard work. Halter has fewer manoeuvres and is not centred around executing a perfect pattern. However, this does not mean there is nothing to practice! Your horse still needs to be able to lead at the walk and jog, be able to be set up to stand squarely and stand still and quietly to be judged. They must also be well mannered. It is worth spending time on this at home in preparation, especially with younger horses. Remember on the day of the show horses can be more unsettled so if you can’t do these things at home, it’ll be even harder in the class.

Western Showing 101 - Barrel Racing

Barrel racing is a rodeo event dating back to the 1930's, starting as a sport for women. At that time the event alternated between a cloverleaf and figure-eight pattern and speed was not key. It wasn’t until 1949 that barrel racing was judged by the shortest time and not of the appearance of the girl and her horse.


In 1948 the Girl's Rodeo Association (GRA) was formed, and Barrel Racing started to look more like the fast and thrilling event we see today. The Women's Professional Rodeo Association (WPRA) replaced the GRA in 1981. The sport now attracts prize money that competes with the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA).

Modern barrel racing is open to both women and men with associations such the Nation Barrel Horse Association (NBHA) and others welcoming women and men into their membership and competitions.  

The IBHF (International Barrel Horse Foundation) are now responsible for the development of barrel racing around the world. There are NBHA’s in over 20 countries around the world including Brazil, China, Italy, the Netherlands, Venezuela, Canada and France.

The UKBHA has been set up to promote barrel racing and increase participation in the sport. Aiming to provide coaching and riding opportunities for barrel racers around the UK and to provide a support network that enables an increase in the quality and quantity of riders, horses and competitions in barrel racing.

Barrel Racing Basics
There are three barrels which are set up in a cloverleaf pattern, and each rider must turn each barrel as fast as they can. Riders may choose to run a pattern that requires one right-hand turn, and two left-hand turns or vice versa. The rider must complete the required pattern and number of turns.  The pattern is essentially a series of straight lines and quick, tight turns. 

Remember, you and your horse won't be able to compete at speed without first working at slower gates, as with any competition accuracy is critical, and in this case, accuracy will save you seconds when you are ready to compete. Per the International Barrel Racing Association, “The horse’s athleticism and mental condition and the rider’s horsemanship skills are crucial.” Practice riding your horse in a figure eight pattern and circles to help your precision. You should consider stamina and conditioning work (for you and your horse!). 


Getting Started advice from UKBHA
Working at a walk, as you head across the start line you should be roughly in line with the third barrel and gradually curve towards the first barrel. About 2 metres before each barrel you should stop your horse, this is to teach them to slow down before you turn. Once you start to ask for more speed, it is important that your horse has the understanding that you must slow down to make the turn accurately. If you go into the turn with too much speed, then you risk overrunning the turn, and then you will be out of position going on to your next turn. 

When making your turn, you want it to be a smooth circle around the barrel. When working slowly, it’s important to stay around 6 feet from the barrel, and as you build up the speed, your horse will bring you in closer to the barrel. Start too close when you are working slowly, and once you add the speed you risk that your horse will start to turn too early and run you into the barrel and remember, the most important rule of all, have fun with your horse. 
Facebook: UK Barrel Racers/UKBHA or email ukbha@outlook.com

Judging and Scoring
Rules may vary by association so be sure to read the rule book!
The first and second barrels are spaced 90 feet apart with 105 feet to the third barrel. 

Barrel racing is a speed event, so as you would expect penalties are dealt in seconds and in a class where seconds can mean the difference between winning and losing a five-second penalty can be significant. Many associations will use electronic timers and sensors to ensure accuracy when recording the start and finish time.

To be successful in this class, the competitor must complete the pattern without knocking over any barrels. Tipping a barrel may result in a five-second penalty and deviating from the pattern results in a zero score.

Sports boots to help to protect the horse’s legs against injury.

Barrel racing saddle, these tend to have deep seats and short skirts. A barrel racing saddle will position the rider to be able to “sit deep” and “step out” through fast, tight turns with the rider’s legs slightly forward. Any saddle used should fit properly.

Western hat or safety hat, long sleeved western shirts or blouses, riding jeans, western boots, and a western belt is considered a standard dress code. 


Showing 101 - Reining

Reining is a pattern class and each horse and rider are judged on the accuracy of the pattern, to be completed from memory. The National Reining Horse Association have 10 patterns and AQHA events have 11 patterns.

Reining is often described as the western form of dressage as it requires the horse and rider to be in tune with each other in order to perform the movements, without the rider aids being seen.

Reining originates from cattle work as the work required responsive horses that could change direction quickly and “stop on a dime”. These horses needed to be ridden with leg aids and weight and only a light rein so that the cowboy’s attentions could be on the task at hand.


Each pattern includes the following manoeuvres, which the horse and rider should must perform smoothly and accurately, which includes controlling speed.

360-degree spins
The horse should turn around a full 360 with the inside hind leg stationary, in other words pivot around the inside hind leg. Spins are judged on correctness, smoothness and cadence.

Flying lead changes
To complete a flying change, the horse switch the leading front and hind legs during the lope during the moment of suspension in the lope gait. The transition is judged on precision; early or late changes will have points deducted.

Small slow circles and Large fast circles
Circles should be perfectly round and the change of pace between small slow circles and large fast circles should be without any difficulty.

Without hesitation, the horse will perform a 180 turn after a sliding stop and immediately lope off (on the correct lead).

Sliding stops
The horse stops by driving his hocks underneath him and sliding on his hind feet, while the front legs continue to walk. The stop should be in a straight line. Before a sliding stop is the ‘rundown,’ this is where the horse runs along the side of the arena building up speed before the stop.

Back up
Back up quickly, but in a straight line for at least 10 feet. Judged on speed, smoothness and straightness.

Each riders starts the pattern with a score of 70, the judge will then either add or subtract points for each manoeuvre, the points range from -1.5 to +1.5. 

-1 ½ for an extremely poor execution

-1 for very poor

– ½ for poor

0 for correct with no degree of difficulty

+1/2 for good execution

+1 for very good

+ 1 ½ for excellent

A final score of 70 is a good score and one that reiners aspire to achieve. A manoeuvre that is correct, with no degree of difficulty, will nether gain or lose points.

Equipment and Attire

For protection, horses usually wear splint boots on the front legs and skid boots on the back. Reining horses often have special horseshoes known as sliders, these shoes have wider plates which are smoother than regular shoes.

Riders must wear a long-sleeved shirt, jeans, and cowboy boots. In most competitions, they also wear chaps.


Have a go at …



A new year means it is the perfect time to try new things. Some horse owners would love to have a go at showing, but either don’t know where to start or don’t feel they can. Some simply believe it isn’t for them. Here, we cover some of the basics so those who want to can have a go. For those who don’t think they want to: Give it a go, you never know!

But I’m not competitive
There are many more reasons other than winning prizes to attend a horse show. Some of us just aren’t competitive and don’t feel the need to compare ourselves to others – and that is completely fine. However, that doesn’t mean there is nothing horse shows can offer you. Showing under a judge offers you the chance to get valuable feedback on your and your horse’s progress. You can practise refining your training and get an expert opinion, without worrying about where you will place. Shows also offer a fantastic opportunity to socialise and make new friends. There is more to shows then rosettes and winning, but, equally, you never know where the journey may take you.  

Unaffiliated and All Breed
Unaffiliated and all breed classes provide something for everyone. These classes are great for those starting out or who don’t want to spend out on membership fees. It also means you don’t have to have a particular breed of horse to enjoy showing. They are the perfect opportunity to have a go. An unaffiliated class is not affiliated to a particular breed, association or organisation. This means your horse does not need to be a particular breed, does not need to be registered and you don’t have to be a member. However, unaffiliated classes can often still be found at affiliated shows, opening it up to more people. Often, they may be run under the rules of a particular organisation, as far as judging is concerned. They are also a great stepping stone for those who wish to compete affiliated, but want to have a go first. 

Walk jog
Walk jog classes are a fantastic way to get into showing. Walk jog classes are completed entirely in two gaits, either walk or jog. These classes provide an environment in which people can feel confident to have a go. Whether it is because you or your horse are new to showing, inexperienced, young, green or simply lacking in confidence, a walk jog class could be perfect for you. There are also those, both equine and human, who may not physically be able to do more and these classes mean they don’t miss out. They provide a great entry point for many, and those who don’t feel they wish to progress to more advanced classes can still take part. 

Breed Associations and Organisations
Breed associations and organisations have a lot to offer. There are various associations; those for different breeds, those for all breeds and those with a more specific purpose or discipline. These shows can often be larger and have more classes at different levels. Also, they sometimes offer the chance to show under some high-profile judges, giving the potential for some very useful feedback. However, these shows often require a greater financial contribution. Associations and organisations often provide high point awards, which reward consistency as much as winning.   

Breed associations and organisations have a lot to offer those who want to step up their showing or take it more seriously. Equally, don’t be intimidated. There is still something for everyone. There is competition ranging from entry level for novices and beginners (including walk jog), to the open classes at which you can see the best riders show their skills.

One of the main things associations and organisations have to offer, and something that is appreciated the most by their members, is community. Socialising with like-minded people is an attraction for many and lifelong friends can be made. Don’t be intimidated. You will often find people are excited to welcome newcomers and offer help and support.

  • Some of the associations and organisations in the UK are:  
    Western Equestrian Society (WES)

  • American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA)

  • American Paint Horse Association (APHA)

  • British Reining (BR)

  • Nations Reining Horse Association (NRHA)

  • UK Barrel Horse Association (UKBHA)

  • Western Horsemans Association (WHA)

Basic Equipment
Different organisations may have different rules on equipment and attire and you should always be sure to check which rules you are competing under before attending a show. This can also depend on the level of competition. However, there are some basics that are a common theme at most shows and if you just want to have a go, attire rules aren’t restrictive. Show holders want to encourage everyone to have a go and would hate to think people weren’t because they don’t have a top dollar show wardrobe. Although you don’t need to splash out on expensive equipment to show, try not to sacrifice safety for economy. 

Some basic attire/equipment includes:

  • Hat – either a western hat or hard hat

  • Heeled boots

  • Long-sleeved shirt

  • Jeans or show pants -- many also like to show in chaps

  • Usually western tack – there are some exceptions; for example, the hunter classes and some unaffiliated shows may be more lenient

Class Overview
The wide range of classes means there is usually something for everyone. These include:

  • Halter

  • Showmanship

  • Horsemanship

  • Trail 

  • Western Pleasure

  • Ranch Riding

  • Western Riding 

  • Reining 

  • Hunter Under Saddle

  • Hunt Seat Equitation

  • Barrel racing and speed games 


WHUK Gift Guide 2018

Check out the 2018 Western Horse UK Gift Guide.

The Western Saddler

Now stocking a new brand designed to custom fit horses backs – Top Saddle maker. Their Buckaroo Ranch is a beautifully made saddle with the option to use EQUIscan Topographer to take a template of your horses back and have a computer generated adjustable wooden tree to fit your horse. The saddles are made by Christoph Rieser, a highly sought after saddle maker in Germany.

WS 2.jpg
WS 1.png

The Western Saddler Ltd | www.western-saddler.co.uk | 01425 480060 / 07725 137737


Italian Trail Ride long weekend with Cooking Experience

Day 1 - Arrive and settle in, ½ day Trekking. Day 2 - Visit Tarquinia town with Liliana Piccioni, to buy fresh ingredients. She will instruct you how to cook using traditional family recipes & then eat them with local wines!. Day 3 - Day Trekking. Day 4 - Depart

Stay at Red Cedar Ranch & enjoy the cowboy life - Italian style! Full board and transfers from Rome Airport €550/person (Ref:WHUK)

www.bellatarquinia.com info@bellatarquinia


Order yours now at www.Sarade.co.uk Or Call 01489 809111

Full Range of English & Western Boots and Apparel.

All Major Credit & Debit Cards Accepted.

Fast Free Delivery

Little Reindeers take to the sky, dropping off parcels as they fly, BOOTS! BOOTS! BOOTS! they cry - Ariat H20’s will keep you dry.
— https://www.sarade.co.uk/western

 The Western Saddler 

Don Orrell makes the most beautiful stirrups!! In many different types of wood, many widths, tread depths and designs. The Angled Offset Stirrups have often been used successfully for riders who experience numbness in their feet, as well as ankle, knee and hip pain. They can be decorated with conchos and custom engraving is also available. These are quality stirrups and you will not be disappointed! 

www.western-saddler.co.uk | 01425 480060 | 07725 137737 

DC custom leather designs.jpeg

Hand Crafted Leather 

DC custom leather designs based in the UK hand crafts items to customer specification. Whether you want items to match existing tack or items personalised. From chaps, armitas, belts, headstalls etc. Also repairs and rework to existing items. Prices start from £5.95, chinks start from £300, 

chaps from £400. 

Contact Debbie: 07598023384 or visit Facebook: DCCustomLeatherDesigns 


Handcrafted Custom Western Saddles 

Pavel is based in the West Coast of Ireland and specialises in handcrafting Custom western saddles and tack. Every saddle is uniquely handmade to fit each particular horse and reflects it’s rider’s style and requirements. He uses finest raw materials and traditional methods of leathercraft to produce top quality saddles and tack that blend function and art offering the best possible comfort to both horse & rider. 

00353 87 6724 581 email: pdsaddlery@gmail.com 

Facebook: Pavel Danko Saddlery and Leathercraft 


If Horses Could Talk   If Horses Could Talk is a gripping tale of revival and redemption, both serious and sad. And it should change the way we communicate with horses forever.  By Gary Witheford  Available from Amazon: Kindle £6.47 - Hardback £14.99, - Paperback £4.79

If Horses Could Talk

If Horses Could Talk is a gripping tale of revival and redemption, both serious and sad. And it should change the way we communicate with horses forever.

By Gary Witheford

Available from Amazon: Kindle £6.47 - Hardback £14.99, - Paperback £4.79

“Trust ‘n Horses”  explores the subject of trust and how it relates to domesticated horses, their training and their lives in the world of humans. This subject is addressed in a grounded, pragmatic style of writing, that is easily understandable and logical. It is a great resource for any horse lover.  By Franklin Levinson  Available from Amazon £11.32

“Trust ‘n Horses” explores the subject of trust and how it relates to domesticated horses, their training and their lives in the world of humans. This subject is addressed in a grounded, pragmatic style of writing, that is easily understandable and logical. It is a great resource for any horse lover.

By Franklin Levinson

Available from Amazon £11.32

Sporting Horse: In pursuit of Equine Excellence   The Sporting Horse is a glorious celebration of the athletic abilities of these beautiful animals, and the unique relationship that has evolved between horse and rider. Working side-by-side for centuries, horse and man have achieved a lasting synergy - and nowhere is that more evident than in the sporting arena.  by Nicola Jane Swinney (Author), Jane Holderness-Roddam CBE LVO (Foreword), Bob Langrish MBE (Photographer)  Available from Amazon £24.99 also available in Kindle

Sporting Horse: In pursuit of Equine Excellence

The Sporting Horse is a glorious celebration of the athletic abilities of these beautiful animals, and the unique relationship that has evolved between horse and rider. Working side-by-side for centuries, horse and man have achieved a lasting synergy - and nowhere is that more evident than in the sporting arena.

by Nicola Jane Swinney (Author), Jane Holderness-Roddam CBE LVO (Foreword), Bob Langrish MBE (Photographer)

Available from Amazon £24.99 also available in Kindle


LIFE Charity Calendar

Striking 2019 wall calendar featuring animals rescued and rehabilitated by LIFE, the Lucy Irvine Foundation Europe.

LIFE is a charity working in Roma communities in Bulgaria, where cruelty to horses, dogs and cats, often through lack of knowledge, is rife.  

Measuring 43 by 31 cm, LIFE’s calendar can be bought from our website for £2.50 plus p&p.   www.lucyirvinefoundationeurope.org/support-us/shop

34th Anniversary as The premier WESTERN RIDING CLUB

It seems like yesterday, the Western Equestrian Society (WES) were celebrating their very first year as the premier Western Riding Club here in the UK, and here they are, many years later, planning a huge celebration for the 34th anniversary. WES members participate with a vast variety of breeds such as Highland ponies, Welsh ponies, traditional cobs, cobs, Haflingers, Arabians and not to mention various western breeds. Looking at it realistically you name breed, and WES probably have a member out there riding in a western saddle.


Every year WES hosts a national show at the Moreton Morrel College in Warwickshire which over the years has been the one show to have exceeded all expectation, showcasing some of the best photographic material captured to date. This is all thanks to the Charity Pleasure Class where Members dress themselves and their steeds up in some of the most Incredible costumes, and all in the name of raising money for nominated charity’s, including Macmillan, Great Ormond Street Hospital, and many others.


This year WES have decided to nominate a charity close to their hearts. This being said, the Horseback UK charity has been chosen. They are a very deserving charity, dedicated to supporting Mentally and Physically disabled Ex-service Men and Women by introducing them to the beauty and physicality of horses.

And of course, one of the highlights of the event is the announcement of this year’s fancy dress theme. Officially confirmed that this year WES will be celebrating Military through the Ages, so far entries include a Viking, a Musketeer and I did hear some mention of a Tank so this leaves so much open to the imagination. Over the years they have been fortunate enough to see some outstanding representations.


 One such example was a horse dressed as a John Deere Tractor and this year is already promising some exceptional creativity. There is a huge excitement around the photographs that will be taken on the day highlighting the best moments.

The events are always ones to be remembered and this year WES will have a professional photographer on site, making sure every moment is captured and nothing is missed or left out. Throughout the weekend, the photographer will be working his magic and rest assured all the photographs will be made available a few days after the event.

WES is beyond excited and looking forward to the energy and creativity this show will bring.

The show dates are confirmed for 24th to the 26th August and the ever long awaited for Fancy dress pleasure class will be on Saturday the 25th. 

AMERICANA 2017 - News and Results

Results from 2017 AMERICANA, all pictures courtesy of ©Dead or Alive


World Cup Non-Pro Bronze Trophy Champion: Tina Künstner-Mantl & Gina-Maria Schumacher become Co-Champions

The $10.000-added World Cup Bronze Trophy Non Pro final ended with a tie for first place between Gina-Maria Schumacher riding Gotta Nifty Gun (Dun It Gotta Gun x Custom Nifty Nic) and Austrian Tina-Künstner-Mantl riding Nu Chexomatic (Nu Chex To Cash x Tejons Little Lena), who posted a 223.5 each for their runs. The two decided against a runoff and became Co-Champions.

Bernard Fonck_What a Wave.jpg

Bernard Fonck & What A Wave claim World Cup Open Trophy

Bernard and his stallion had had the second best score of the go round. And then the big show arena exploded with cheers when the two presented a brilliant performance in every manoeuvre. What a Wave melted into his last stop, backed up fluently – and left the arena with a 231! Grischa Ludwig and Nu Chexomatic placing second and Ann Fonck and Made in Walla placing third.

Annovazzi_Highbrow Time.jpg

Martina Annovazzi and Highbrow Time claim World Cup Cutting Open

The World Cup Cutting Open Championship was claimed by Martina Annovazzi aboard Highbrow Time (Highbrow CD x One Time Soon) who posted a 154. The 32-year-old Italian professional had already dominated the go round with this horse and also managed to earn the Co-Reserve Championship with her second horse Imminent Cat

Giovanni Campanaro_WR  Smoke Time.jpg

ERCHA Reined Cow Horse Futurity Open Champion: Giovanni Campanaro & Bet Command Rey.

In front of 5,000 visitors, Giovanni Campanaro claimed the ERCHA Reined Cow Horse Futurity Open Championship aboard Bet Command Rey (composite score: 864) and also became reserve Champion aboard WR Smoke Time (862). In fact, the 25-year-old Italian had four horses in the final and placed fourth aboard SJR Sumkinda Reydar and fifth aboard DG Little Rey Merada.

Gina Schumacher_Gotta Nifty Gun.jpg

Gina-Maria Schumacher takes Lead in World Cup Bronze Trophy Non Pro Go round

The final of the World Cup Bronze Trophy Non Pro on Sunday should be a sight to see after this great go round! Ten riders in a field of 37 made it to the final, the minimum score being a 214.5. FEI World Champion Young Riders and NRHA World Champion Non Pro Gina-Maria Schumacher took the lead aboard her 7-year-old stallion Gotta Nifty Gun (Dun It Gotta Gun x Custom Nifty Nic) scoring a 221.5 with their fine, smooth run.

Lena Wolf and Luke Phillimore claim Bronze Trophy Int. Non Pro Co-Championship

The Intermediate Non Pro Bronze Trophy was run class in class with the Non Pro. Two riders tied on first place becoming Co-Champions:  Lena Wolf aboard her Maganic (Magnum Chic Dream x Show Tennic) and Luke Phillimore aboard his 7-year-old mare Tin Whizin (Tinsel Nic x Whizin Off Sparks). Maria-Theresa Ottillinger and her 9-year-old gelding Magnum Brut (Magnum Chic Dream x Rosaline Chex) placed third scoring a 216.


World Cup NCHA Non Pro Champion: Damiano Avigni & Highbrow Time

Damiano Avigni and Highbrow Time (High Brow CD x One Time Soon) had already dominated the World Cup NCHA Non Pro and they did even better in the final. The two posted a 152 with their remarkable run in a field of 12 finalists. This was the World Cup NCHA Non Pro Championship 2017.

AMERICANA 2017 Show Schedule

AMERICANA publish their 2017 show schedule, including live demo by Pat Parelli, Cow Horse Nations Cup, World Cup ERCHA, Reining Festival, World Cup Ranch Riding, World Cup NRHA, World Cup NCHA Cutting, Freestyle Reining, ERCHA Cow Horse Futurity, World Cup Trail all ages and that's just a few of the classes! AMERICANA also attracts numerous retail pop-up stores to satisfy your shopping needs. 


Jaton Lord - Legacy of Legends Mentor

Carrying on the traditions of Tom Dorrance and Ray Hunt

The legacy of Legends is a scholarship program co-founded by Carolyn Hunt and Buck Brannaman and aims to pair students with horsemen and women who are carrying on the teachings of Tom Dorrance and Ray Hunt.

In our series of articles, we meet the Legacy of Legends Mentors that are travelling to the UK to teach clinics; these articles will appear in both of our magazines; Western Horse UK and Horsemanship Journal and posted across our websites. To make sure you don't miss any of these articles sign up to our mailing list and we will let you know when we publish anything new.

Over the summer we will get to know: Jaton Lord, Tom Wolter, and Buck Brannaman.


Jaton Lord: Legacy of Legends Mentor

Jaton is the grandson of Ray and Carolyn Hunt, travelling with them and riding under Ray’s tutelage from an early age. Jaton also worked on the family ranch in southern Idaho, competed in High School Rodeo and started colts for the ranch along and worked with clients.

After finishing school, he went to work for Reined Cow Horse trainers Annie Reynolds and Doug Williamson. Then starting out on his own as Jaton Lord Performance Horses. Among the futurity horses he now has in training are several Colts started at the Legacy of Legends Gathering. 

Ray Hunt was Tom Dorrance’s protégé; he had a way of explaining Dorrance's teachings in a way that people could better understand. In a 2014 interview with Horse and Rider Jaton spoke of the things he learned from his Grandpa and his early memories of Tom Dorrance:

“Grandpa always said to use your brain,” he says. “Think about stuff. Even when he signed his name, he put ‘Think’ next to it. When you stop using your mind with a horse, that’s when stuff doesn’t go well.”

“Tom had a way of lightening a mood and bringing out the best in horses and people. He particularly wanted to make things interesting for the horse so that the animal would feel part of a team—and therefore work with you.”

Jaton is holding three clinics in the North of England this summer, organised by Clive Johnson Horsemanship. “Riders will learn what horsemanship means, and what is best for them and their horse." says Clive, "They will also learn how easy it is to have a functional, successful relationship with their companion, using techniques used by some of the best horsemen in the world.”

Jaton Lord UK Clinics 2017

11-12 August - Cumbria

14-15th August - Doncaster

18-19th August - Richmond

To book: http://clivejohnsonhorsemanship.tictail.com/


Look out for future issues of Western Horse UK where we will chat with Jaton, if you have any questions that you would like us to ask please go ahead and put them in the comments. 


Changing the Way We Train - Horse&Rider | Western Training ...

Bob's Comment - March 2017

Bob's Comment - March 2017

I'd forgotten that moving house was so stressful, but was quickly reminded when we were given two weeks’ notice. Thankfully, with the help of friends, family, and our excellent removal team — Move Fast, aka, Steve Hart, former owner of Quarter Horse Rio — it was successfully completed on time. Twenty-seven years of successful breeding, shoeing, and training came to an end on the 24th February. Wye Oak Quarter Horses finally closed its doors.

Read More

2016 AQHA UK Championship and Breed Show

Show report first published in November/December 2016

The 39th American Quarter Horse Association UK Championship and Breed Show took place at The Oakridge Arena from the 1st to the 4th September; 81 horses took part, entering 897 classes in total.

Competitors started to arrive on the Tuesday prior to the show. The Oakridge Arena looked amazing, a credit to the Oakridge Team, as another show had just pulled out that morning and there was not much time to turn the arena and stables around.

The Championship Show was run as 2 x split/combined AQHA Shows. Shows 1 and 2 were judged by Mai Brit and Rick Lemay from Sweden, while Shows 3 and 4 were judged by Ralph Hesselsschwerdt from Germany and Elizabeth Baker from the USA, on her first trip to the UK. The show also encompassed a full slate of National Reining Horse Association and Bieman Riding classes. These classes were hotly contested, with the highlight being the $1,000 NRHA Open class generously sponsored by Oakridge Arena, won by Lee Rutter, riding Lita Pocock's Little Nic, and a $500 NRHA Non Pro, also generously sponsored by Oakridge Arena, won by Fiona Howard, riding her own Gun Chic Nic.

It was encouraging to see large class entries, particularly in the Ranch Riding, Trail, Hunter Under Saddle and Halter Classes.

The Halter classes were extremely competitive, with Fiona Howard's Gun Chic Nic, shown by Lee Rutter, winning the UK Stallion Hi Point Championship. Jane Wallace's Make Me Invited won the UK Gelding Hi Point Championship and, making a welcome return to the show ring, David Teideman's Jays Dene took the Mare Championship. These three horses then went through to the AQHA UK Supreme Championship, with Gun Chic Nic taking the honours.

Sadly, the halter futurity classes were poorly supported, but Jayne Lerwill's stunning grey Fifty Shades of Jay took the 2-year-old Gelding Futurity Champion, and Joanne Clark's beautiful mare Fashioned in Blue was the 2-year-old Mare Futurity Champion, each winning the much sought after Bling It On Futurity Rugs. The ridden Futurity and Maturity classes were well-supported, with Alan Payne and Hot Steppin Leaguer winning the Trail Futurity on Friday. Tammy Greaves had a clean sweep on the Hunter Futurity and Maturity classes, winning the Futurity on Debbie Burns’ gorgeous black mare, Lady Sudden, and Rebecca Holt’s consistent gelding Jack Te Higgins winning the Maturity. The Western Pleasure futurity and maturity classes were showcased on the Saturday evening, with Sally, Alan and Helen Payne's Hot Steppin Leaguer winning the Futurity Class, shown by Alan. The Maturity class was well-supported and all the exhibitors turned out in their best 'Bling', which sparkled in the evening lights of the arena. The champion of this round was Jane Wallace's Make Me Invited, ridden by Jess March. The reserve champion was Evelyn Dash, riding her own Certainly Immortal.

The last classes on Saturday evening were the Futurity and Maturity Reining Classes. These were hotly contested, with competitors also wanting to earn points for the prestigious British Bred Hi Point Futurity/Maturity Trophy. Tammy Greaves and Mary Larcom were both in close contact going into these classes and interestingly both were riding horses bred by Mike and Jane Roberts from their Stallion Sean Dillon. Tammy finished ahead of Mary and the Champions were Alan Payne, riding Mary Lungenmuss’ This Remedys Smart in the Futurity and Lee Rutter riding Fiona Howard’s Custom Remedy, taking the Maturity Championship.

The final class to determine the British Bred Hi Point Champion was the Trail Maturity, held on Sunday morning. Evelyn Dash, riding her own Certainly Immortal, was the champions, but Tammy Greaves and Rebecca Holt's Jack Te Higgins picked up enough points to win the enormous British Bred Hi Point Trophy. It is interesting to note that "Jack" is a full brother to last year’s Champion, Seans Little Te Boy, both bred from Mike and Jane Roberts’ Stallion Sean Dillon.

A new class for this year was the introduction of 2- and 3-year-old longe line classes. The overall champion was Jayne Lerwill's Fifty Shades of Jay, finishing off a very successful first year of showing with Jayne.

On Saturday, the arena was really buzzing, not just with the competition, but also due to the great turn out of spectators who, despite the rain, had turned out in good numbers to come and see the UK's best Quarter Horses and western riders. AQHA UK took the opportunity to parade the successful Youth World Cup Team, which had competed in Australia. Outgoing Youth Director Sheila Fitzpatrick presented them all with medals to acknowledge their success as a team.

Olivia Lochead, a youth team member, took the Novice Youth Hi Point Championship, riding Carrin Herrick's Wimpys Smart Chex, and Karen Coleman, riding her own Jays Diamond Heiress, won the Oakridge Western Riding Club Hi Point Championship.

The AQHA UK Championship classes were highly contested, with all champions winning a Montana Silversmith Buckle and Champion Rug. The buckles will be awarded at the AQHA UK Awards evening to be held at the Garden of England Spring Show on the 27th May 2017. All of these awards were generously sponsored by some very kind and generous individuals and companies whose details are listed on the photographs. AQHA UK would like to pass on their grateful thanks to all of the sponsors. Without them, none of the awards detailed above would have been presented.

Alan Payne had a successful show, winning both the Open Hunter and Western Pleasure Championships. Gill Parker and Gregory Pep won the Open and Amateur Trail Championships. Lee Rutter, riding Lita Pocock's Little Nic, won the Open Reining Championship and perhaps the most competitive open Ranch Riding Class was won by Lucy Adams with Caroline Goodwins Lady Magnebellum.

Avril Wilson, riding her father's RS Hermes Olena, was the most successful Amateur and Novice Amateur competitor, winning two Amateur Championships and four Novice Amateur Championships. Evelyn Dash and Certainly Immortal won the Amateur Horsemanship and Western Pleasure Championships. Jane Wallace and Make Me Invited were the Amateur Hunter Under Saddle champions for the third year running. Other amateur champions were Liz Shaad and SS Smokin Jesse, Ranch Horse Riding Champions, and Carrin Herrick and Smart Wimpys Chex, winning the Showmanship Championship.

Other novice amateur champions were Karen Shaw and Juicy June winning Ranch Riding, Sue Gardner and A Pro But Shy, won the Western Pleasure Championship and, finally, Gemma Taverner and KB Give Me The Top were the Reining Champions.

Katie Willis and Protecturinvitation were the most successful youth competitors, winning four championships, Emily Sands and This Chicks Smokin won two championships, and Olivia Plum, with CS Texas Cat, won the Youth Ranch Riding Championship.

All competitors and spectators were superbly fed in the amazing Oakridge café -- the food on offer is excellent and the menu varies on a daily basis. A special thanks must go to Chris and Craig who worked tirelessly throughout the whole show. Including an absolutely delicious barbecue on Saturday evening, which must have taken an incredible amount of time to organise.

The other hard-working team was LRG Photography, who captured the most amazing photographs and videos and covered every single class and presentation. The photographer is an integral part of a championship show and the whole team worked incredibly hard over four long days. A huge thank you to this amazing professional team.

It takes a huge team to coordinate and manage a show of this size and a massive thank you must go to the following people: Jane Wallace, Jane Muir, Charles Graylan, Mick Carder, David Lloyd, Rob Painter, Chris Valle, Helen Payne, Jane Mead, Tracy Haynes, Anna Kerslake, Michelle Mcquire, Mike and Jane Roberts, Nick Mason, Karen Coleman, Lucy Adams, Ruth O'Reilly and David Deptford.

Last, but not least, a huge thank you to Lita, Graham, Becky and Lee and the rest of the Oakridge Team for hosting a very successful show and giving a very warm welcome to everyone in attendance.

Next year’s 40th Anniversary show will be held at Bodiam International Arena, with dates to be confirmed. 

2016 Nov/Dec
3.80 4.80
Add To Cart

To rug or not to rug?

   As the weather gets colder many horse owners are deciding whether or not to rug their horses. It can often be difficult trying to decide whether a rug is needed, which rug to use and when to put it on. However, some people feel horses should not be rugged and it may even be detrimental to do so. Here we explore the issue of whether to rug our horses or not.

Heat Regulation

  The horse has many natural mechanisms by which it can regulate its heat loss. A horse can generate heat through digestion, muscle movement and the skin, fat and coat can provide insulation. A horse can increase the thickness or length of its coat in response to changes in daytime light length and can raise, lower or change the direction of the hair altering the insulation offered. As a result, horse’s find it easier to warm up when it is cold than to cool down when it is warm or cool down after heavy exercise.

    Rugs often leave parts of the horse exposed to the cold. As horses are incapable of regulating the temperature in specific parts of their body, when they attempt to warm these exposed parts the areas covered by the rug can then become overheated.

    Furthermore, when the relevant mechanisms through which horses regulate their temperature are not used they deteriorate. This could mean that if they were to be exposed to cold temperatures suddenly, they could not use their natural mechanisms properly.

 Natalija Aleksandrova (2014). Thermoregulation in horses in a cold time of year. Revised. Holistic Horse and Hoof Care. Available at: http://holistichorseandhoofcare.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/thermoregulation-in-horses-in-cold-time.html.

Rug Fit

    Rug fit is very important. Many horse owners may have noticed rubbing from ill-fitting rugs. However, it is less commonly known that incorrectly fitted rugs could cause more damage to your horse. A dip or indent in front of the withers can sometimes appear when the edge of a rug is pulling down and pressing on to the crest and nuchal ligament. Apart from an indent, other signs that this could be happening include hair loss, coldness from lack of circulation and potentially even stiffness and soreness in the horse, ranging from mild discomfort to severe unsoundness.  

Stefanie Reinhold (2010). Horse Winter Blankets: How much damage can they do? Reinhold’s Horse Wellness. Available at:



Every Horse Is Different 

    When deciding whether to rug a horse it must be remembered that each horse is different and will have different circumstances. A sick or injured horse that may not be able to move around as much could benefit from a rug. Elderly horses could also benefit. Another reason may be that you have little shelter available. Many horse owners also show their horses. This may mean they want to rug their horses to keep them clean, or prevent a thick coat from growing. Many people also don’t have much flexibility in when they can exercise horses in winter meaning horses may be clipped or need a rug after sweating.


Your Thoughts

    A recent survey was conducted by Western Horse UK and Horsemanship Journal which included questions about rugging. Of the 114 respondents, 65 % felt that horses were often over-rugged whereas, only 4 % felt horses were often under-rugged. 20 % believed horses were both often over-rugged and under-rugged.

    When asked if they rug their horses to prevent a thick coat for showing, 41 % said they did not. Furthermore, 45 % of respondents said they find it hard to find well-fitting rugs and 37 % said they sometimes find it hard.

Comment below with your thoughts and to read more you can buy WHUK Volume 7 Issue 5/HJ Volume 3 Issue 5 below. 

Add To Cart




Rider Weight


How heavy is too heavy?

The controversy of rider weight has long been a popular topic for equestrians and the media. While we all want what is best for our horses, it is important to recognize the relevant factors that should be used in determining a healthy weight that a horse is capable of carrying. Things like the type of work being performed, horse breed, suitability, riding ability and gender of the rider all should be considered. 


The Studies

Studies performed by Powell et al. (2008) have determined that it isn’t until horses carry 25 and 30% of their weight that heart rates remain higher, plasma lactate concentrations are faster, and muscle soreness and tightness are more significant. A study by Halliday and Randle (2013) at Duchy College, Cornwall, recommends that a rider should be 10% of the horse’s body weight – somewhat unachievable considering that this percentage should include the weight of the rider and tack.

Type of Work

Before worrying that you are too heavy for your horse, remember to consider the type of work being performed. Remember that the more strenuous the work, the lighter the rider should be in order to achieve optimum performance.

Horse Breed

Not all horses are created equal. The list of breeds is incredibly long and, within each breed, horses will vary. Different horses and breeds have different characteristics and weight-carrying abilities. Additionally, age, fitness, condition and conformation all contribute to a horse’s ability to handle a heavier rider.

Riding Ability

Yet another argument revolves around riding ability. Lighter riders typically are less capable, more unbalanced and use “heavier” riding. A heavier rider tends to be more competent, balanced and rides with a lighter seat.


It has also been argued that gender is a significant factor in a horse’s weight-bearing ability. A heavier woman riding a horse is more quickly condemned than a man. Some have made the observation that men – not even those who are overweight – typically weigh more than women. This theory suggests that an overweight female may not weigh much more than an ideal-sized man.


Fat Shaming vs. Taking Responsibility

Some in the equestrian society think the answer is simple: A person should take responsibility for his or her own weight. Riders should be encouraged to be happy and confident, while keeping the horse’s best interest in mind. If a rider is too heavy for a particular horse, simply don’t ride that horse.

WHUK's Theresa McCaffrey Gives Online Horse Show a Try

WHUK's Theresa McCaffrey Gives Online Horse Show a Try


In July, we tried out the new online showing app, Competio. We chose to try the showmanship class and enlisted Carin and Twinkie to enter, too. Carin regularly competes in AQHA Showmanship, while while I haven’t competed for many years and I haven’t yet entered any showmanship classes with my horse, Mr Giles.

Read More