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Showing the Holsteiner

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Tags: Holsteiner Horse, Competition, Show, Training

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Presenting your Holsteiner for American Holsteiner Horse Association approvals can be an exciting but nerve wracking experience. This should be a special day for owners to spend with their Holsteiner, no matter what age, and is the result of what can be anywhere from weeks to years of training. The competition will certainly be steep, so owners will want to do everything they can to make sure their Holsteiner is ready for their moment in the spotlight. Here are a few tips for being ready to present your Holsteiner.

Foals and yearlings should be well groomed and clean. Braiding is not necessary at this young age, and clipping is not necessary unless you live in a very mild area. Before the show, it is advised to spend a few weeks working on standing in an open position and leading. For their evaluation, foals are stood up for conformation and then set free for a liberty evaluation. Make sure your foal is easy to catch after the evaluation by establishing a cue for a quick retrieval. As for tack, a well chosen harness can both accentuate a beautiful head and hide any flaws on a head that is less than ideal. To protect your hands and keep the foal safe, choose a long, soft lead rope.

As with foals and yearlings, preparing mares, geldings and stallions for presentation should include the best grooming possible. Details should include braiding on the offside, secured with yarn or elastics, trimming the longer hair from under the jaw line, trimming the tail in a bang or blunt cut between the hock and fetlock, trimming the longer hairs on the legs, and polishing the hooves. Choosing the right bridle can make a huge difference, whether the horse's head is naturally beautiful or needs a helping hand. Reins with clips are highly recommended, as horses are evaluated as liberty, and this will save time rather than running the risk of fumbling with buckles or hooks.

For preparation before the show, working with the horse for up to ninety days before in hand will help get the horse in shape and well muscled. Horses should stand in an open position for the best results and be able to respond to a cue when the liberty evaluation is over. Adults will be shown in a triangle with the judges at the point. Important points of the evaluation will include the handler and horse's entrance, in which the horse will stand at the open position for the conformation evaluation, followed by a walk around the triangle, and then a trot around the triangle. The judges will then give permission for the horse to be set at liberty. After this part of the evaluation, the judges will give a signal to end this portion, so the handler should quickly capture the horse, attach the reins and stand in position in front of the judges again until they are dismissed.

Finally, handlers also should appear in the traditional outfit for presentation, including a red polo shirt, tucked into white pants with a belt, and running shoes. Longer hair should be tied back and the handler should present an overall neat appearance.

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