Conformation Showmanship

Conformation Showmanship


How do you like to see a horse stood up for conformation?  What can an exhibitor/handler do to show off his/her horse?

Conformation is judged in classes within a hunter division or in a distinct Conformation Hunter division. In addition to performance, judges are evaluating quality, substance and soundness of horses in judging conformation. Judges must penalize but not necessarily eliminate horses with structural faults, defects and blemishes in areas which might impair their activity and durability.  Horses must be stripped (saddle removed) for conformation judging except in an Under Saddle class. In a Conformation Division, horses are judges 70% on performance and 30% on Conformation, while in Junior and Amateur classes, conformation is not to exceed 25%.

In-Hand classes, also called "model" classes, are non-riding classes where the horse is presented to the judge "in hand" meaning that it is led by a handler on the ground. The horse wears only a bridle. The animal's conformation is judged, as well as its movement and soundness.

Judges look for conformational form and a physical blueprint that supports the function of a hunter.  A rider or handler can stand his/her horse up to show off his horses best conformation attributes and minimize his horse’s conformation faults.  We asked our judges how they like horses to stand up and any advice they can give handlers and exhibitors to best show off their horse’s conformation.