Showmanship at Halter
A. Showmanship class shall be judged strictly on the
exhibitor’s ability to fit and show a pony at halter. The
pony is merely a prop to demonstrate the ability and
preparation of the exhibitor. The ideal showman is poised,
confident, neatly attired leading a well‐groomed and
conditioned pony that quickly and efficiently performs the
requested pattern with promptness, smoothness and
precision. Showmanship is not another halter class and
should not be judged as such.
B. This class shall be judged with 10% on the exhibitor, 30%
on fitting and grooming of the pony, and 60% on the
C. In Leadline 6 & Under Showmanship, the leader shall
remain near the exhibitor and is to assist the exhibitor only
if any safety issues arise. He must be at least 14 years old.
Stallions of any age are prohibited from being shown in
Leadline Showmanship. Trot is optional at the discretion of
the show committee and must be printed on the show bill
if required for this class.
D. The patterns to be worked should be posted at least one
hour prior to the beginning of the class; if the judge
requires additional work for consideration of final placings,
the finals pattern may also be posted. All ties will be
broken at the judge’s discretion.
E. Patterns may be selected from those illustrated or may be
provided by the judge or Show Committee.
1. Pattern 1, 2 or 3 must be used for 9 & Under
exhibitors unless they are entering a 13 & Under or
18 & Under class.
2. Leadline 6 & Under Showmanship must use Pattern
1, 2 or 3.
F. Class Routine
1. All exhibitors may enter the ring and then work
individually, or each exhibitor may be worked from
the gate individually. The following maneuvers are
considered acceptable: lead the pony at a walk, jog
or extended jog or back in a straight line; stop; and
turn 90 (1/4), 180 (1/2), 270 (3/4), 360 (full turn)
degrees. The judge must have exhibitors set up the
pony squarely for inspection at some time during the
G. Overall Appearance of Exhibitor and Pony
1. Appearance and Position of Exhibitor
a. Appropriate western attire must be worn;
clothes and person are to be neat and clean.
The use of artificial aids is prohibited.
b. Exhibitors should be poised, confident,
courteous and genuinely sportsmanlike at all
times, quickly recognizing and correcting faults
in the positioning of the pony. The exhibitor
should continue showing the pony until the
class has been placed or they have been
excused, unless otherwise instructed by the
judge. The exhibitor should appear
businesslike, stand and move in a straight,
natural and upright manner, and avoid
excessive unnatural or animated body
c. The exhibitor must lead on the pony’s left side
holding the lead shank in the right hand near
the halter with the tail of the lead loosely
coiled in the left hand unless requested by the
judge to show the pony’s teeth. The excess
lead should never be tightly coiled, rolled or
folded. When leading, the exhibitor should be
positioned between the eye and the mid‐point
of the neck, referred to as the leading position.
d. The position of the exhibitor when executing a
turn to the right is the same as the leading
position except that the exhibitor should turn
and face toward the pony’s head and have the
pony move away from them to the right.
e. When executing a back, the exhibitor should
turn from the leading position to face toward
the rear of the pony with the right hand
extended across the exhibitor’s chest and walk
forward beside the pony with the pony
f. When setting up the pony for inspection, the
exhibitor should stand angled toward the pony
in a position between the pony’s eye and
muzzle, and should never leave the head of
the pony. It is recommended, but not
mandatory, that exhibitors use the “Quarter
Method” when presenting the pony. The
exhibitor should maintain a position that is
safe for themselves and the judge. The
position of the exhibitor should not obstruct
the judge’s view of the pony and should allow
the exhibitor to maintain awareness of the
judge’s position at all times. The exhibitor
should not crowd others when setting up sideby‐
side or head‐to‐tail. When moving around
the pony, the exhibitor should change sides in
front of the pony with minimal steps and
should assume the same position on the right
side of the pony that he had on the left side.
(1) The Quarter Method involves drawing
imaginary lines dividing the pony into
four equal quadrants. See illustration.
(Note: quadrants are numbered I, II, III,
IV for ease of identification.) One line
runs across the pony just behind the
withers. The other imaginary line runs
from head to tail. When the pony is
squarely set up for inspection, the
exhibitor takes his proper position in
quadrant IV. As the judge moves to
quadrant I, the exhibitor should stay in
quadrant IV. When the judge moves on
to quadrant II, the exhibitor moves to
the proper position in quadrant I. When
the judge moves to quadrant III, the
exhibitor moves back to quadrant IV. As
the judge moves to quadrant IV, the
exhibitor once more moves to quadrant
I. The exhibitor should never stop in the
unsafe location directly in front of the
pony. When the judge returns to his
position in front of the pony, the
exhibitor should return to quadrant IV,
and await instructions from the judge.
g. Leading, backing, turning, and initiating the set
up should be performed from the left side of
the pony. At no time should the exhibitor
stand directly in front of the pony. The
exhibitor should not touch the pony with his
hands or feet, or visibly cue the pony by
pointing his feet at the pony during set up.
2. Appearance of the Pony
a. The pony’s body condition and overall fitness
should be assessed. The hair coat should be
clean, well‐brushed and in good condition. The
mane, tail, forelock and wither tuft may not
contain ornaments (ribbons, bows, etc.), but
may be banded. The length of mane and tail
may vary, as long as they are neat, clean and
free of tangles. The mane should be even in
length or may be roached, but the forelock
and tuft over the withers must be left. The
bridle path, eyebrows and long hair on the
head and legs may be clipped, except where
government regulations prohibit. A sparse
mane and tail shall not be discriminated
against. Tail extensions, etc., are permitted.
See Rule 85.
b. Hooves should be properly trimmed and if
shod, the shoes should fit correctly and
clinches should be neat. Hooves must be clean
and may have clear polish or clear hoof
dressings applied or be shown naturally.
c. Tack should fit properly and be neat, clean and
in good repair.
1. The exhibitor should perform the work accurately,
precisely, smoothly, and as quickly as possible. The
pony should lead, stop, back, turn, and set up
willingly, briskly and readily with minimal visible or
audible cueing. Failure to follow prescribed pattern,
knocking over or working on the wrong side of the
cones, or severe disobedience will not result in a
disqualification, but should not place above an
exhibitor that completes the pattern correctly.
Excessive schooling or training, willful abuse or loss
of control of the pony by the exhibitor shall be cause
2. The pony should be led directly to and away from
the judge in a straight line and track briskly and
freely at the prescribed gait as instructed. The pony’s
head and neck should be straight and in line with the
3. The stop should be straight, prompt, smooth and
responsive with the pony’s body remaining straight.
4. The pony should back up readily with the head, neck
and body aligned in a straight line.
5. When turning the pony to the left 90 degrees or less,
the pony should be turned to the left. On turns of
greater than 90 degrees, the ideal turn consists of
the pony pivoting on the right hind leg while
stepping across and in front of the right front leg
with the left front leg. An exhibitor should not be
penalized if his pony performs a pivot on the left
hind leg, but an exhibitor whose pony performs the
pivot correctly should receive more credit.
6. The pony should be set up quickly with the feet
squarely underneath the body. The exhibitor does
not have to reset a pony that stops square.
1. Poorly groomed, conditioned or trimmed pony.
2. Dirty, ragged, or poorly or ill‐fitted halter or lead.
3. Poor or improper position of exhibitor.
4. Excessive stiff, artificial, or unnatural movement
around pony or when leading.
5. Continuous holding of the chain portion of the lead,
or lead shank tightly coiled around hand or dragging
6. Changing hands or placing both hands on the lead,
except when preparing to show the pony’s teeth.
7. Drifting of pony while being led.
8. Pony stopping crooked or dropping a hip out when
stopping, setting up or standing.
9. Backing, leading or turning sluggishly or crooked.
10. Pony not set up squarely or excessive time required
to set up.
11. Failure to maintain a pivot foot during turn or
stepping behind right front leg with left front leg
when turning to the right.
12. Pony holding head and/or neck crooked when
leading, stopping or backing.
13. Failure to perform maneuvers at designated
markers, but pony is on pattern.
J. Severe Faults
1. Leading on the off or right side of the pony.
2. Complete failure to move around pony by exhibitor
and obstructing judge’s view.
3. Exhibitor touching the pony or kicking or pointing his
feet at the pony’s feet during set up.
4. Standing directly in front of the pony.
5. Omission or addition of maneuvers.
6. Knocking over a cone.
7. Working on the wrong side of the cones.
8. Severe disobedience including rearing or pawing,
pony kicking at other ponies, exhibitor or judge; or
pony continuously circling the exhibitor.
1. Loss of control of pony that endangers exhibitor,
other ponies or exhibitors, or judge, including the
pony escaping from the exhibitor.
2. Failure to wear the correct back number.
3. Willful abuse.
4. Excessive schooling or training or use of artificial
L. Tack. See Rule 94.
M. Attire. Exhibitors, and the person leading the pony in
Leadline Showmanship, must be neatly dressed in western
clothes consisting of western boots, western hat, longsleeved
shirt with a collar and long pants. Vests and coats