Remember that Head Injury Awareness and Appeal Week begins today (Tuesday, 8th June) If your current riding helmet has a few years under its belt, and/or has had a few knocks and bumps (even one fall can be enough to render them ineffective) get down to Saddlery Warehouse or Stirrups Equestrian.

Both Saddlery Warehouse and Stirrups are offering substantial discounts on new riding helmets.

Saddlery Warehouse is offering a 20% discount on any new riding helmet purchased during the Head Injury Awareness & Appeal Week, which runs June 8-15 this year.

Stirrups Equestrian, located in Auckland city has also agreed to support the awareness week and will be offering a 10% discount on their GPA range of riding helmets and 20% off other safety riding helmets at their Newmarket shop during the Head Injury Awareness & Appeal Week.

Remember you only have one brain and one head and a bad fall can be absolutely devestating. Be safe. Wear a helmet :)


On Friday 21st May, former international model and head injury victim, Elizabeth Charleston, launched THINK! The Head Injury Network for Kiwis, to increase awareness about head injuries and to provide support to those dealing with the condition.

THINK! was created in partnership with the Waikato branch of the Head Injury Society of New Zealand and ties in with The Head Injury Awareness and Appeal Week which runs from June 8th- 15th 2010.

‘New Zealand has a higher rate of head injuries than many other countries in the world with researchers at Auckland University of Technology estimating incidents between 18,000 and 26,000 per year,’ explains Elizabeth. ‘One of the main messages I want to get across to people through THINK! is that anybody can suffer a head injury.

'I would also like to break down some of the attitudes that people have towards head injury victims and the stigma that is attached. Often, even after a sufferer has started to accept that they have a head injury, the people around them do not know how to deal with the changes to their personality and abilities. This has got to change.’

THINK! encourages people to use safety-approved head protection when playing sport or taking part in potentially dangerous activities, such as climbing, horse riding and cycling, and at work when the circumstances or activity being undertaken puts the user’s head at risk.

‘When you get into a car a person instinctively puts on their seat belt. The same level of self preservation should apply. It’s about reducing the risk and improving safety,’ says Elizabeth.

Elizabeth has also launched a campaign to coincide with the Head Injury Awareness & Appeal Week in June that gives equestrians a discount on safety riding helmets at Saddlery Warehouse and Stirrups Equestrian.

For more information on the Head Injury Society of New Zealand, visit their website by clicking here.

THINK! has a Facebook Page at http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/THINK-The-Head-Injury-Network-for-Kiwis/378242020990?ref=ts


Equine Trader, New Zealand's leading online equestrian resource, has launched a brand new forum for horse mad Kiwis. You can check it out here.

There are loads of new discussion areas including General Chat, General Horse Chat, Riding and Training, Horse Health and Care, Equine Breeding and Tack and Rider Wear. There's also an area for showing off pictures of your horses and ponies and a place especially for grumbles! On top of that, there are special areas for all of the disciplines, including Showing, SJ, Dressage, Hacking, Western Riding, Classical Training and more.

It would be great if we could make this into a really buzzy, friendly forum where we can share our successes-whether it is out at competition or our own victories at home-, have constructive discussions and learn from each other.

I'm a forum moderator so if you need any help or have any feedback, feel free to drop me a line, either through the forum or by email. I look forward to seeing you there!


I know a few of you have been suffering Show Circuit withdrawal symptoms so you'll be glad to know the next issue will be hitting the shelves this Monday! You can't miss it with Cindy Rowe's stunning boy, Rubin James, gracing the cover. I'm pretty sure that if Johnny Dep came back as a horse he'd look a little like Rubin....

Those of you that subscribe will get your hands on it a little earlier. If you don't subscribe but want to, go here to subscribe online. It's very easy.

I have a few stories in this month's edition of the magazine. Feel free to email any comments or leave them here as I'm always keen to hear your feedback :)

Happy reading!


I was looking through a box of old photos today and it got me feeling all nostalgic and thinking about the first time I got into showing *insert wavery, dream like transition here*

My first showing experience was when I was ten years old with my first pony, an oversized skewbald Shetland called 'Tullie.' He was ancient but hadn't been ridden for years by the time he came to me. The first three times I got on him, he dumped me on the floor and ran back to his stable. By the time our fourth attempt rolled around, he had relented and deigned to let me sit on him for a little while. We used to jump over milk crates and flower beds and raced my brother around the garden (my brother usually won, Tullie wasn't very fast)

We headed off to our first show that first summer, a buzzy local affair, with horses and ponies of all types, colour and quality. I'd scrubbed him to within an inch of his life and got so many comments on how clean and bright his white bits were. I went in some ridden class and spent most of the time up his neck as the saddle didn't fit his rather broad, barrel like frame.

I don't even remember if I won anything, but I do know I had the most fun ever and have been hooked ever since!

What's your earliest memory of showing? Feel free to either share it with us in the comments below this post or email me and I'll add your memory for you :)


'Loughkeen Dancing Lord' (left)- Winner Heavyweight Hunter at Royal Windsor Show

Seeing as the New Zealand showing season is over for the time being, I have decided to post a few of the British results to keep us all going! It's always interesting to see what bloodlines and types are doing well over there (well, I think it is...although, I am a bit of a geek when it comes to things like that!)

First off are the results from Royal Windsor Horse Show which took place from Wednesday 12th-Sunday 16th May 2010. Royal Windsor is one of the most prestigious horse shows in the country and has been held annually since 1943. It offers qualifying tickets for both the Royal International Horse Show and the Horse of the Year Show which means classes are hotly contested!

128cm Show Pony: Elliot Barnett on Daldorn Victoria Plumb
138cm Show Pony: Daisy Cambray on Wyndham Aristocrat
148cm Show Pony: Jemima Weaver on Rotherwood Pavarotti
First Ridden Pony: Nicole Bowen on Copybush Moon Sprite
(have left out leading rein pony winner as results say Nebo Hebert- pretty sure this is a Welsh D so am imagining the results are wrong!)

Show (Saddle) Hunter Pony 122cm: Georgia Darlington on Wortley Celebration (pictured)
Show Hunter Pony 133cm: Katie Roberts on Rhoden Master Frederick
Show Hunter Pony 143cm: Sophie Court on Braeglen Symphony
Show Hunter Pony 153cm: G Keyward on Thornbank Lancer

Ridden Mountain and Moorlands, Welsh Cs and Ds: Jack Bowlby on Kentchurch Raindrop
Ridden M&M, Welsh As and Bs: Claire Sheehan on Lemonshill Falcon

Small Hack: Katie Davies on Kingsford Silver Spray (pictured)
Large Hack: K Hounsom on Classic Top Totty

Lightweight Hunter: Leon King on Loch Royal
Middleweight Hunter: Oliver Hood on Jenny's Prince
Heavyweight Hunter: Robert Oliver on Loughkeen Dancing Lord

Small Riding Horse: Jayne Webber on Jackson Fair & Square
Large Riding Horse: Jayne Webber on The Philanderer


'Sarah knew her new show horse was going to be a star. She hadn't seen any others that could perfect such a beautiful handstand'

Like many others, I am impatient for the next show season to get started. My last competition was Royal Easter in April which seems an eternity ago (yes, yes, I know it was only a month ago but it feels like it has been a very long time!) I don't even know how I coped with not showing for the four years I was at university. Ah yes, I do....bar crawls and vodka shots.

Ummm...moving on. This impatience to get showing again has inspired me to come up with my own list of things to do during the long, cold, winter months. Feel free to share your own!

1) Start sending the local A&Ps emails, letters, text messages and carrier pigeons, hassling them to get their January 2011 schedule up online already. You've had at least a month to get the next show organised- what's taking you so long!

2) Spend hours in the paddock staring at your wild, hairy beast trying to remember what he looked like in his summer coat. Much more entertaining than staying inside and watching America's Next Top Model. Ignore the stares of non-showie horsey types and family members. Of course they wouldn't understand.

3) Spend some time in the kitchen concocting a new kind of show shine, then test it on your hapless equine. I wonder if a combination of olive oil, shoe polish, ginger and margarine would work....? If it doesn't, present it to your friends or partner and pretend it's a dessert you've invented.

4 ) It's very important to browse TradeMe during the boring winter months. There are so many fantastic winter projects for sale, how could you possibly resist? I recommend purchasing horses of the same colour, say bay, so that they all blend together and your partner can't tell whether you have bought any more equines when he peers out at the paddock. This will come in handy when you get fed up of being bucked off previously mentioned winter project and resort to throwing him out into the field until further notice.

5) Clip 'I love New Zealand Showing' into your horse's furry winter coat. Don't pay attention to the sniggers. They're just jealous and envy your superior showie knowledge.

6) Practice some new workout moves to impress your fellow showies with when you hit the show circuit again. Teaching your Park Hack to roll over, spin round or perform a leap into the air on command could really make you stand out from the crowd and will undoubtedly impress the judge. Of course, some of us have ultra-special horses that don't need any training and will execute such awesome moves without our intervention. Getting some practice in while out on hacks or at winter dressage shows never hurts though.

7) If it's raining outside, try mock-cantering around the living room, pretending that you have just won a title at Horse of the Year. Make your partner/children/family cheer and play some suitable music to make it extra authentic. You will appreciate the practice when you win a major prize in 2011 and have already perfected your lap of honour.


The Auckland weather can't seem to make its mind up at the moment. It seems to turn from chilly and overcast, to rainy to warm and sunny all in the space of one day! I've had to take my Irish Draught filly's cover off as she's too warm. Which inevitablly means the temperature will plummet and the heavens will open. Ha!

Despite the unpredictable weather, some brave souls have been out showing.... and yes, I'm jealous. I want it to be next season already!

I hear there was a good turnout at the Canterbury Foal Show. You can read full results here. It was great to see Tracy Crossan (breeder of my filly) doing well with her new colt, Thornfield Richie Mac Finn. He took out the Hunter Type Foal to Mature Over 158cm and Irish Hunter Foal classes. Well done Tracy! You can see photos of Mac Finn and the other Irish foals that competed at the Irish Horse NZ Facebook Page.

Supreme Champion was the Hewson Family's 'Weston Park Tekapo.'

There looked to be some top quality babies at the North Islands All Breeds Foal Show as well. Champion was the sensational palomino derivative 'Graemar Showtime' (bred and owned by the breeder of another of my girls!) and reserve was Regent Park Gossip Girl.

The next show that I know of is the Nelson Youngstock Show on 30th May. Entries are being accepted until the 21st May so get in quick if you want to take your youngster over for an outing. Schedules and entry forms can be obtained by emailing Ryan Teece on at b.v.ponies@hotmail.com


Fledgling magazine, Show Circuit, pipped other media to the post at the New Zealand Showing Awards last night. This is a great reflection on the magazine and is an apt reward for all the effort and passion that has gone into producing this publication.

I have personally loved being involved in the magazine and hope to be a part of it for a long time to come. It's always so refreshing and inspiring to be around people that want to look at things a little differently and keep upping the bar. I know Show Circuit will keep setting new standards in equestrian media which is really exciting.

Anyway, enough gushing.................!

The New Zealand Showing Awards looked to be a great deal of fun- I wish I could have been there. Maybe next year...although I do feel a tad shy about events like that as I seem to know a lot of horsey New Zealanders through email, phone and Facebook but haven't met an awful lot of them! If, like me, you couldn't make it, check out the results and pictures on either the New Zealand Equestrian Scene Facebook Group or over at the Show Ring Forum.

Kudos to Elizabeth Charleston for organising this, along with everyone who supported her. It's events like this that will keep showing interesting, exciting and will keep attracting new people to the sport :)


Team Ramsey Website and Blog- one of my favourite show riders, trainers and judges, Richard Ramsey, is now online. As well as maintaining a pretty professional looking website for their show horse production/sales business, he and wife Majorie, who is also a highly respected judge, are keeping a blog. Always interesting to read what the pros are up to and how they're doing it!

Nala Stud has launched a website. Apparently, there are some ponies for sale so drop them a line if you're in the market for a new showing star. Welcome to the world wide web, Alan ;)

The Show Ring forum is an amaaazing place to go if you want to chat with showing people from across the world. It's UK based but I would recommend it to anybody. The top producers in the UK frequent the forum which can be pretty handy when you have questions about turnout of horse and rider, schooling, ringcraft etc! It's a private, subscription based forum but well worth it.

Burleighvilla Stud- Ryan actually updates his site fairly regularly unlike some NZ studs (content that hasn't been updated since 1993 is not a good look- it means visitors think you have either shut down or have absolutely no news. You know who you are!) Ryan currently has some lovely youngsters for sale and I know there he has made some sensational matches for the next foaling season so keep an eye on his website...

Supreme Products Blog- I had to drop this one in because I do some work for them. However, we have a huge library of rider interviews, photos, articles on everything from plaiting to tail pulling to hood fitting, and news about showing from across the world which will gradually be uploaded to the blog. Definitely drop by from time to time to see what's been added.

Show Circuit- The Show Circuit website is well worth a visit. You can read PDFs of past articles online, subscribe, view the equestrian business directory, find out about competitions and see what's in the current issue.

If you know of an outstanding showing websites, whether in NZ or overseas, let me know and I'll add it to the list of links displayed at the side of this blog.


Here's a question. How many people can hold up their hand and say they have given stewarding a go? We all traipse off to shows quite happily to compete but I wonder how many realise what a valuable insight into showing stewarding can give you. Think about it. You are given the opportunity to stand in the middle of the ring and see classes from a judge's viewpoint. Depending on who you end up with, the judge will often share his/her thoughts on the animals being presented and why they placed the way they did. It's a fantastic learning opportunity.

I used to do a lot of stewarding for British Show Pony Society and Ponies UK classes and I loved it to bits. In fact, I was one of the only people who would agree to steward at the dreaded winter shows as I enjoyed doing it so much. Yes, my fingers would be chilled to the bone and I would look like a drowned rat from all the rain by the end of it (the person who decided a British winter and outdoor showing go hand in hand is clearly some sort of sadist!) but I learned the ins and outs of show pony conformation, I knew how a novice mountain and moorland pony was expected to behave, I learned all about the perfect show hunter pony type and I discovered that watching a freshly clipped show pony at it's first outing of the season in January can be quite amusing (I joke.....)

I went on to represent my county at the BSPS Summer Championships as a teenager where every year teams from across the country congregate to take part in a Young Judge's Competition. We were all expected to judge a class (go round, individual show, conformation section), take notes and then explain our placings to a panel of senior judges. I used to love competing as a young judge- I wonder if it is something that would encourage more young people to take their judge's exams in NZ?

I was put off by one of my more recent stewarding appointments in New Zealand (some shows need to remember that stewards, while doing it for the love of it, are unpaid and should be treated with a degree of politeness and respect....) but have decided not to let it bother me and will soldier on!

I have actually written a piece about stewarding for the latest issue of Show Circuit so grab a copy if you can. Admittedly, the article was intended to be slightly tongue in cheek but all of the points are relevant and should be adhered to if you're considering becoming one of our 'unsung heroes of the show ring.'

If you are interested in stewarding and even progressing on to becoming a fully fledged judge, contact the RAS as I'm sure they would love to hear from you!


I was lucky enough to watch a lesson taken by Grand Prix rider and trainer, Jody Hartstone, on Sunday. I was there on behalf of online equestrian resource, Equine Trader. A lucky member of the website had won a Power Hour Lesson with Jody and I was taking notes and photos so I could write up a report later (not an easy task, I can tell you- it requires more hands than I have!)

I was intrigued as to how many similarities there were between what Jody was teaching and how the classical dressage masters of old used to train their students and horses.

Jody adheres to the McLean system, where the emphasis is on breaking lessons down into simple, logical steps, making it easy for the horse to succeed and be rewarded. The reins are used to bend and steer the horse- never the legs. The reins control deceleration of the horse’s front legs, whereas the rider’s legs control the acceleration of the horse’s back legs. There's a bit more to it than that but I think it would take more space than I have here to explain every inch of it! Andrew McLean is coming over to New Zealand in May so if you want to learn more, you can pop over to one of their clinics, either as a rider or to observe. Find out more here.

I think Jody is a bit too far away from me to contemplate training with her but it has cemented my belief that I only want to get instruction from a person with her kind of ideals. Yes- I want to have my horse going beautifully for the show ring and whatever other disciplines I might want to try my hand at but never, ever at the expense of the horse. Truly understanding how the horse is thinking, placing their welfare and happiness first and keeping the human ego out of the process is something I have always put above everything else. It might sound a bit tree-huggy but I think it's the right way to approach the training of any animal and it always amazes me to see people going so entirely in the other direction.

To finish, here is one of my favourite segments out of my much thumbed book 'Dressage for the 21st Century' by the awesome Paul Belasik:

'Today, humans design experiments to teach animals to talk like humans. In equitation, the best riders have put down their own native language to try to learn the horse's- and they have. Once you have made friends with horses, and have lived with them in this world without words, you begin to see words as less important than actions. Horses don't care about your words, they care about and respond to actions. Riding will bring you into a world of action, of real living. It will show you how life is interconnected.

'You might have already decided to take up the practice of dressage. You might think that I have implied you will have to choose- picking sport or picking art. But that is not our real choice at all; a bad artist is as bankrupt as a bad athlete. Your decision has to be whether to do it right; without a desire for gain, for profit, for the reason of ego. Do it for the purity of the experience, wherever it takes you- for the love and excitement of the trip.'

And isn't that what it should be all about...? :)


On the horses that is! Make-up on riders is an entirely different story....

When is enough enough when it comes to the products we use on our show horses and ponies? We have so many choices now: black and clear make-up for the eyes, muzzle and ears, sparkle spray for the body, black hoof cream and varnish, dye for the body and tail. If you wanted to, you could transform your show animal into something barely resembling the equine that emerged from his stable earlier that morning.

My own personal opinion is that 'enhancement' should be the key word here. Use a tiny bit of product around the eyes and nose to enhance a pretty head and to bring attention to quality features. If it is blindingly obvious that your horse is wearing make-up, you've gone too far. Also bear in mind that the judge will occasionally want to give your horse a pat when handing out ribbons etc. No judge will thank you if she walks out of the ring with a nose shaped black mark on her sleeve or the back of her jacket!

One final point. I do not like make-up on hunters. Simply because I have never seen anyone following hounds plastering their mount with product before heading off to a hunt meet. What would it be for? Mesmerising the hare with your horse's beautifully made up face, thus giving the hounds a chance to catch up with it? We have established in a previous post that many show/saddle hunter riders are wary of hunting, for various reasons, but come on people- at least pretend that you're sticking with traditional turnout!

Comments welcome. What do you think about make-up in the show ring? Are people getting too carried away with it or do most of us strike a good balance?

If you want to learn more about turnout, there are some great articles on the Supreme Products website. A quick Google search will also throw up some decent guides.


This year, I managed to dive back into showing after a six year break and survived my first, albeit short, season back in the ring. From competing and observing, I have realised that showing in the UK and NZ is not all that different. Here are a few valuable tips I have picked up both here and back in Blighty!

1) Horses will always surprise you. If you think they're going to be chilled and lovely at their first show, they will turn into a fire-breathing dragon the moment they step off the trailer. If they are normally a bit full of it at home, they will probably be a lamb out showing. That's horses. They like to keep us on our toes.

2) Never trust alarm clocks. They will inevitably fail you at a crucial moment. Always set two the night before a show!

3) If a well known combination shows up, you will have to work even harder to stand out. The judge will be expecting the former horse and rider to do well and will automatically give them a second glance. It's naive to think otherwise! However, do not give up as soon as a successful combo enters the ring. Use the competition to push you to perform as well as you possibly can.

4) Too much make-up is just as bad for horses as it is for people. Subtle is the way- don't turn your pony into a drag queen lookalike.

5) Judges are everywhere- it's not just the one in the ring you should be thinking of.

6) If your horse doesn't perform well, do not take it out of the ring and work it until it is a sweating, wobbly mess. This will achieve nothing. Take it home, consider what you did wrong (and yes, issues out competing are usually rider error) and get back to the schooling drawing board.

7) On some occasions, despite the fact that you have shelled out an unthinkable amount of money to produce your show horse or pony, dragged yourself out of bed at the crack of dawn and have performed to the best of your ability, you will still be placed last, behind a half-lame moose.

Don't stress and do not go on a mad rant, stamping your feet and shouting at the judge and anybody else who will listen. Sometimes, the judging just does not go your way. Grit your teeth, smile sweetly and put the judge's name in your little black book of 'judges to avoid.' Your next time out will be better.

8) Don't use spurs, draw reins or a double bridle if you haven't been taught how to use them properly

9) A smile costs nothing.

10) There are some people in the showing world, as in every sport, who have acute tall poppy syndrome. If you succeed, they will try to cut you down. They despise other individuals doing well (unless it is them of course...) Ignore them at all costs- do not let them spoil your fun!

Anyone have any words of wisdow to add?


Well, I went to my last show of the season on Friday, The Royal Easter Show in Auckland, and had a fabulous time. I was very impressed with the grounds at the ASB Showgrounds. They were probably the most professionally maintained that I have seen in my first short show season in New Zealand. It's always nice to not have to battle knee high grass when you're applying your black hoof gloss!

My yearling filly, 'Graemar Replique', was impeccably well behaved, as she has been at every one of her three outings this year. She trotted up faultlessly, stood like a statue in the line up and loaded/unloaded well. We ended up placing second in the Yearling Sporthorse class behind a very upstanding and charismatic young colt. So, not as great a result as we achieved at Kumeu A&P but still something to be proud of. Despite being heart-breakingly pretty, she still looks quite immature compared to some of the others that are out at the moment so I'm looking forward to seeing how she looks with another winter/spring behind her.

Despite fairly low entries, the standards were very high at this year's Royal Easter. A number of well known showies did very well, including Anne Hjorth who scooped Champion Saddle Hunter on the stunning 'Savile Row' and Champion Hack/Supreme Horse on 'Acquisition.' What an amazing result!

The only teeny tiny downside of the day was still seeing a couple of riders, both children and adults, abusing draw reins, double bridles and side reins (and sometimes a combo of these!) when working in their horses. I especially dislike seeing horses being yanked down in front while being booted in the ribs, leaving it with absolutely nowhere to go. Also, if you need to turn your black horse white in order for it to be rideable in a show class, you really need to reevaluate your training techniques and/or whether said horse is suitable for the show ring, and whether a different discipline would be better...

Thankfully, I also saw a large number of beautiful riders who were actually having a conversation with their mounts rather than screaming at it with a megaphone. Always a pleasure to see :)

I hope everyone had a great show season. Roll on the next one.


Exciting new equestrian magazine, Show Circuit, is now using both Twitter and Facebook to communicate with readers. News, views, photos and sneaky peeks at upcoming issues can all be viewed over at the Fan Page by clicking here. Follow Show Circuit on Twitter by heading over to this page.

Online equestrian resource, Equine Trader NZ, can also be followed via both these social media tools. Their Facebook Fan Page is here and you can follow them on Twitter here.

I think it's fantastic that horsey businesses are finally jumping on the world wide web. It's a great way of keeping in touch with us customers and also shows us that the people behind them are in fact human, not some cold, faceless corporate entity! I find it interesting that equestrian companies seem to be a few steps behind other industries when it comes to networking online. Why do you think that is? Are they online less? Or just too damned busy!

If anyone else knows of any NZ equestrian businesses who have taken the plunge in their online communications, feel free to share links with the rest of us.


This might sound like a funny question but when you're watching the saddle hunters (show hunters in the UK) parading around the show ring, immaculately groomed and covered in show sheen, it's kind of hard to imagine them flying over fences and galloping over muddy fields on a hunt meet. How many riders actually take their hunters out hunting?

Part of me thinks it would be ridiculous to have a horse you are presenting to judges as the perfect hunter type, and only compete in the show ring with it....It would be a bit like owning a shiny, brand new Aston Martin and only using it to drive down to the bottom of your drive to pick up the post. Surely, if you have the perfect hunter, he should be out doing what he was bred to do. Hunting, cross country, jumping, plus a million other things a horse like that is built to do.

But then another part of me does understand that these animals are show horses and, even though we often won't admit it, a scar or a lump, will have an impact on the judge's decision if they are faced with two horses of equal type, quality and performance.....

If you're a show rider and you actually take your saddle/show hunter out hunting over winter, let us know! If you keep your hunter wrapped up in cotton wool, tell us about that as well. I would love to hear both sides of the story on this one.

UPDATE: Comment from succesful NZ saddle hunter competitor, Anne Hjorth, owner of 'Savile Row':-

'I would hunt my saddle hunter, however, a couple of things stop me from doing this:

1. the cost to join the hunt club - i have no funds left after a show season for this lump sum of nearly $400. (Waikato Hunt)
2. I work full time and would not be able to keep him fit enough for it once daylight savings ends.
3. last few times I hunted (rode huntsman spare horses) couple years ago, it put me off as there are some riders and horses totally uneducated that are down right dangerous and I would hate to put my good show horse in a situation which might cause injury to himself.

Otherwise, love the sport and if there were smaller fields or if I didn't work I certainly would be hunting each winter.'


If you're new to showing or returning to competing after an extended gap, you need as much help as you can get! The Supreme Products blog is a great resource and is regularly updated with showing tips like how to sew perfect plaits. Make sure you check it out!

If you have any questions about Supreme Products, feel free to ask me. If you would like to purchase anything, you can contact them directly and they will advise you of shipping costs etc. A limited selection of their products can also be purchased from D C Grooming Supplies here in New Zealand and a few items also occasionally pop up on TradeMe.

Happy Showing!


This is something that has been on my mind for a little while so I have decided to get it out there and air it on this blog! Does anyone else think that the majority of people that show in-hand overshow their animals or is it purely the less educated individuals who are new to the sport and perhaps don't know any better? Or, at the other end of the scale, is it in fact the breeders and professionals who while aiming to get their stud name and stock out in front of potential purchasers/clients, demand a little too much of their in-hand animals? I'm not entirely sure of the answer so would be very interested to hear your thoughts.

The reason I included youngstock in the title is because overshowing the babies is something I have noticed in both the UK and here in NZ.

I do know of several well known studs and handlers who only take their yearlings and other youngsters out two or three times a season and this is great. It gives them that valuable show ring education but keeps the horse fresh and interested.

However, I have also noticed people dragging their baby horses and ponies out to show after show and I just do not think it is fair. It is even more distressing to see mares and foals treated like this as young joints find both travelling and the work required in the ring quite tiring. Young minds also find it very stressful. Once they have arrived at a show, I have seen foals/yearlings taken in a huge amount of classes. I'm sorry to say that I consider 3+ classes excessive for a very young animal and I do wonder whether people are more interested in a scrap of ribbon than the welfare of their horse....?

People also need to remember that while in-hand showing is an awful lot of fun and we all love walking away from a competition with that much yearned for red ribbon, if you want your horse to come out in a few years as a successful ridden show horse, overshowing can be detrimental. The last thing you want is a beautiful three year old prospect that is already sick of the show ring! And yes, you can spot them a mile away when compared to ones that have been shown lightly. Something to think about perhaps?


I have just been looking through the NZ Horse of the Year Show results here, and Alan Windle, founder of Nala Stud, has clinched the prestigious In-Hand Pony of the Year title for the SIXTH year running, with 'Nala Emblems Zephyr.' What an outstanding achievement!

Two of his other ponies also did very well in the title class. 'Nala Emblems Windswept' came third and 'Nala Nicholai's Fern' came sixth. He must be very proud.

The Rising Star Park Hack class also took place yesterday. It's always good to see some new names in the results. I do hope we see all of the Rising Stars out competing over the years to come though and that they don't just vanish as many seem to do!


I'm very excited to announce that I have just started doing some online marketing work on behalf of UK based company, Supreme Products. I have been a fan of this brand for my entire showing career so I'm really looking forward to helping them develop their online presence and reach even more people

For those of you that don't know them, here are the various Supreme Products links.

Website: www.supremeproducts.co.uk
Blog: www.supremeproductsltd.blogspot.com
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If you have any questions, feel free to flick me an email. Happy showing!


If you want to keep up to date with all the goings on down at the Kelt Capital Horse of the Year Show, make sure you check out the New Zealand Equestrian Showing Scene group on Facebook. Well known showie, Elizabeth Charleston is adding results as they come in.

It's great to see that New Zealand's first ever Show Riding Horse of the Year title class was well attended, with some good quality horses in there. It will be interesting to hear what people have to say about how it was judged etc when they return from Hastings next week. Winning Show Riding Horse of the Year was 'On Cloud Nine', ridden by Jordan Murray. Reserve was 'Volte' and Amanda Berridge.

I have also just read that 'Aranui Chablis' has won the Lead Rein title yet again, this time with Ashleigh Everton on board. That little pony is unstoppable!

Photos of HOYS classes can be seen over at NZEquine. They're uploading new ones every day so no need to wait for ages to browse through all those lovely pictures.


Now and again, I like to provide a list of other showing and equestrian related blogs. Sometimes, when we're not out riding or battling with a pony that won't stand still to be plaited, it's nice to settle down in front of a computer to read about somebody else's experiences!

Supreme Products Blog: Supreme Products is a UK based company which provides show ring products and garments. Their blog is an excellent source of information, showing tips etc and also contains a number of rider profiles and other articles. Definitely one to check out!

The Horse Show Kid is a lovely blog which follows a young girl and her pony through their showing career. You can tell from her posts that she's a truly dedicated show rider- very inspirational....

There are some excellent Badminton Horse Trials blogs being hosted on the Horse & Hound website at the moment, from such riders as Badminton debutant Sarah Stretton and Chinese eventer Alex Hua Tian. Both diaries are a great read and give you a good idea of the level of hard graft that goes into preparing for an event like this!

Does anyone know of any Kiwi horse related blogs that are worth checking out?


In case you weren't aware, a number of 'Show Circuit' articles are now available online over at http://www.showcircuit.co.nz/.

Quite a few of mine are now available, including interviews with Simone Simpson (great interviewee!), Alan Windle, Leigh Taylor and Louise Blair. My 'The Art of Ringcraft' piece is also up, as is 'Show Hunter: Striving for Success.' Make sure you check them out. I'm always open to feedback and comments. If you have anything to say just leave a comment here or flick me an email.

Keep an eye out for the April issue which will be out in a few weeks


I have been using Twitter for business purposes for a little while now but haven't really done much personal 'tweeting.' I decided to change this today and have set up my own Twitter account, separate to the business ones, to talk about my two favourite topics- horses and showing!

You can follow me here: http://twitter.com/showringtips

I'll be posting interesting links, showing and equestrian news from around the world and will also be passing on any turnout, grooming and other showing preparation tips I come across along the way. Feel free to sign in and add your own advice as well. Happy tweeting!


Well, I have been neglecting the Horse Tales blog these past few months. Partly because I went back to the UK for five weeks over Christmas and also because I've had a few other exciting things going on. However, I am now back in avengence and looking forward to posting regularly!

As far as my own personal showing activities go, I am very excited to have been showing yearling Park Hack filly 'Graemar Replique' (stable name Katie) for the first time this season. She has taken everything in her stride and I'm very proud of her. At her first show, Helensville A&P, we took things slowly and cautiously, ending up with a third place in the Junior Arab Derivative Filly class, Three Years and Under. My main objective was to get her used to the sights and smells of the showground and she excelled herself! A few neighs but that was all. At our next show, Kumeu A&P, we really went for it as she had proved at the previous show that she was perfectly laid back about the whole showing affair. We were rewarded with two firsts, in the Sporthorse Yearling class and the Junior Sporthorse Suitable for Show Hacking! I'm so pleased with this little horse and really looking forward to taking her out again.