Preparing For Show Hack
Class Specifications and Training Tips
by Jennifer Parsons
In this article Jennifer Parsons, Pyramid Society member and
'99 Egyptian Event performance competitor,
deals with the discipline of Show Hack, along with tips provided by Carolynn
Carberry. Our thanks to
Jennifer for allowing us to print this article as it originally appeared in
the April 1, 1999 Arabian Horse Times.
Will you be ready to claim your share share of the
additional $10,000 in prize money available to performance horses at the 1999 Egyptian
Event? In addition to having the right horse, competitors must have knowledge of the
class requirements. Following are the class specifications for Show Hack, along with
some helpful training tips.
A Show Hack horse is neither a dressage horse
or English pleasure horse of the Arabian division. Elevation and high knee action
are not emphasized. A Show Hack must be balanced and show vitality, animation, clean
fine limbs, presence and supreme quality. Soundness is required and blemishes may be
penalized. Obedience is of prime importance. The Show Hack is a suitable
section for the well-trained animal.
Competitors enter at a normal walk in a
counter-clockwise direction. Light contact must be maintained, with all reins, at
all gaits. The judge(s) are required to consider the performance at each gait
equally on adjudicating the class. The collected and extended gaits must be
performed. Mounting and dismounting may be required. The Show Hack shall
perform with a noticeable transition between the normal, collect and extended gaits.
Horses on the rail may be asked to halt and rein back at the discretion of the
Walk - a four beat gait, true and
flat-footed. The normal walk should be unconstrained and energetic, yet quietly
forward. When moving to the collected walk, the strides are shortened and higher
than at the normal walk. The head approaches the vertical, but should never move
behind it. Pacing is a serious fault, which will be penalized. During the
transition to the extended walk, light rein contact must be maintained while the horse
lengthens its frame and stride. The extended walk should cover as much ground as
possible without rushing.
Trot - a two
beat gait, free-moving and straight. The normal trot should be light, balanced and
cadenced with the rider posting. The collected trot requires a shorter and lighter
stride, maintaining impulsion and balance. The neck is raised and arched higher than
at the normal trot as the head approaches the vertical line, without moving behind it.
The rider is sitting at the collected trot. Maintaining the same cadence as
the normal trot, the extended trot is performed at medium-speed, with the stride
lengthened as a result of greater impulsion from the hind quarters, and the rider is
Canter - a
three-beat gait, straight on both leads. The normal canter is light with even
strides and the horse should move into the gait without hesitation. The collected
canter is marked by the lightness of the forehand and the engagement of the hindquarters
and is characterized by supple, free shoulders. The neck is raised and arched higher
than in the normal canter as the head approaches the vertical line without moving behind
it. The extended canter is performed with the same cadence as the normal canter with
the stride lengthened as a result of greater impulsion from the hindquarters.
The horse should remain light in the riders hand as it lengthens its frame.
Hand Gallop - The
hand gallop is to be performed with long, free, ground-covering strides. The
distinction between the hand gallop and the extended canter is the latter being the
ultimate linear extension of stride within the hand of the rider. A decided
lengthening of stride should be observed while the horse remains controlled,
mannerly, correct and straight on both leads. Extreme speed will be penalized.
The bridle should be light, of show quality, in either a
kimberwick, snaffle, snaffle, pelham or double. Browbands and cavessons, other than
the hunter or dressage types, are prohibited. An English saddle of any type is
required. Acceptable girths include leather, white web, nylon string or suitable
material. The saddle pad should be either the hunt or dressage varieties.
Figure-eight , drop or flash nosebands, boots, leg wraps, martingales and breastplates are
not allowed. Horses may be shown with a braided mane and tail secured with tape,
yarn or rubber bands. Decorations are prohibited.
Acceptable Hack attire consists of conservatively colored coat, breeches, hunting cap or
derby. Formal attire, usually worn after 6:00 p.m. or in a championship class, may
consist of white breeches, top hat and tails, spurs, whip or crop (optional at the riders
Stripping of the horse is optional, however it MUST be stated in the
prize list if the horse is to be stripped. One groom, suitably attired, is permitted
to assist the rider for stripping when conformation judging is required. To be
eligible, a horse have been entered and judged in a qualifying class in the Show Hack
section of the show. Horses to be shown at the walk, trot, canter and hand gallop;
collected, extended and normal gaits to be called for; to stand quietly and back readily.
by Carolynn Carberry
Carolynn Carberry is a certified coach
who has been
successfully training and showing Arabians in performance and
halter for 20 years at the regional and national levels. In 1998,
Carolynn's IAHA youth team won the Region XVIII High Point
Award for participation in recognized shows. Carolyn Carberry,
1998 Eastern Canadian Breeders' Champion Show Hack.
a potential Show Hack, consideration must be given to the criteria of the class.
A Show Hack must be able to perform at it's peak for extended periods of time,
without hesitation. The mental suitability for this division must is of equal
importance to physical condition and athletic ability of the chosen
individual. A well-trained horse is usually the best prospect.
a Show Hack, attention should be given to the length of the time the horse and rider will
be required to perform. Classes will often run 20 - 40 minutes, depending on the
number of entries. You'll want to ensure that both you and your horse have the
stamina to finish the class. Time should be taken to school your horse at each gait,
moving up and down through the transition. The training of Show Hack requires time
and patience, but is very rewarding.
Formal attire is not
mandatory, however in the higher levels of competition, it is definitely an
asset. To keep your gloves clean and white, store
them in a bag and only put them on before entering the ring. Braiding the
mane and tail is important as it provides the Show Hack with a formal appearance suitable
for the division. A wide variation of braiding is accepted. For a professional
look, incorporate some white tape into your braids and add a pattern on the hindquarters.
Horses should be shown in a full
bridle. Adding brass fittings to the bridle is another way to compliment the formal
image of the Show Hack. Keep in mind, when choosing a bridle of this nature, many
Arabians have small heads, which are easily overpowered with excessive brass or to heavy
of a bridle. When selecting bits, I prefer to use larger ringed snaffles with
short-shanked curbs. In my experience, this design provides the best results for
achieving the desired headset for the division. Saddle pads should be rectangular in
either black or white. Black pads are a personal favorite of mine on dark colored
horses. Regardless of the appointments used, it is imperative that the horse be well
groomed, the tack spotless and the exhibitor's attire clean and in good condition.
Exhibitors want to exude confidence throughout the class, thus providing the judge(s) with
a reason to look their way.
Show Hack can be very demanding on
both horse and rider, but to win a class is a wonderful feeling. It is both
rewarding and satisfying to place well in this division.
Enjoy yourself and have fun.
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