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Unveiling the World of Online Horse Shows: Everything You Need to Know

An online horse show, also known as a virtual horse show, is a competition where participants submit photographs of themselves and their horses performing various disciplines and tasks according to the show's requirements, instead of attending a physical event. These submissions are then judged by knowledgeable judges, and results are posted online.


This format allows equestrians from all over the world to compete without the need for travel, making it accessible and convenient, especially for those in remote locations or those with limited access to traditional shows.



a bay horse modelling rosettes. This image represents the concept of participating in equestrian competitions through online platforms.


Online horse shows can cover a wide range of equestrian disciplines, including dressage, show jumping, cross country, and many more. They may also include classes for conformation, where the horse is judged on its physical appearance and adherence to breed standards, as well as fun classes like fancy dress or liberty. Participants typically pay an entry fee, upload their photos to a specified platform by a deadline, and await the judges' decisions.


Although Online Horse Showing was established in late 2016, the format has grown in popularity, especially during times when gatherings and events were restricted due to health and safety concerns. It offers a way to keep the equestrian community engaged, provides training goals, and allows for a competition experience without the usual costs and logistics involved in attending live events.


These virtual equestrian showing competitions offer diverse features and advantages tailored to equestrians of all levels, from amateurs to professionals. They reflect an innovative approach to equestrian sport, leveraging technology to maintain competitiveness and community engagement. Here are key aspects that provide a deeper understanding of horse shows online:


Format and Participation

  • Submission Process: Participants must review the schedule and choose photographs that align with the criteria outlined on the entry form, or capture new images accordingly.

  • Classes Offered: A wide variety of classes are available, mirroring those found in traditional horse shows. This can range from flat classes (e.g., dressage movements, traditional showing) to jumping classes, cross country, and even non-riding classes such as best handler, where the handler is judged on their ability to present the horse on the ground.

  • Judging Criteria: Just like in-person shows, each class has a set of criteria. Judges, who are knowledgeable within the equestrian industry, review entries remotely. They evaluate performances based on how well the image meets criteria, adherence to the discipline's standards, rider's skill and presentation, and overall harmony between horse and rider.


Advantages

  • Accessibility: Eliminates geographical barriers, allowing participants from different regions or countries to compete against each other without the need for travel.

  • Cost-Effective: Significantly reduces costs associated with traditional horse shows, such as transportation, lodging, entry fees, and stabling.

  • Flexibility: Participants can photograph their images at a time that suits them within the submission window, allowing for better management of schedules and accommodating unforeseen circumstances like bad weather.

  • Learning and Feedback: Some online shows provide detailed feedback from judges, which can be invaluable for educational purposes and for improving future entries.


Community and Engagement

  • Global Community: Builds a sense of community among equestrians worldwide, creating connections and friendships that otherwise may not be possible.

  • Inclusivity: Encourages participation from a broader range of riders, including those who may feel intimidated by the traditional show environment or have horses not suited for certain in-person competitions.

  • Social Media Integration: Many online horse shows leverage social media platforms for submission, judging, and announcing results, enhancing the visibility of participants and creating opportunities for sponsors and advertisers.



a horse modelling rosettes. This image illustrates engagement in an online horse show via digital platforms.


How to Participate in Online Horse Shows:


  • Locate the entry page on the website.

  • The entry page for Online Horse Showing can be accessed here.

  • Review the class schedule and carefully read the criteria.

  • Choose the classes you want to enter and select suitable images.

  • Upload your photos and provide the handler and horse's names.

  • Add the entry to your cart.

  • For multiple entries, return to the schedule and repeat the process.

  • Proceed to checkout and enter your postal and payment details.

  • Once the entry is submitted, await the results.

  • The results page for Online Horse Showing can be found here.


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