Saturday, 17 January 2015

Attending Your First Live Show - How to Plan, What to Do & What to Expect

I couldn't possibly cover everything in this post but hopefully it will help newcommers feel more confident about showing, answer some questions and give you an idea about what to expect.

Before we start let me tell you a story. My first live show my dad dropped me alone at a hall in Birmingham and left. I was terrified. By the end of the day, I had only three placings, but I had an amazing time and I was hooked!

Just a note, I show in the UK so this post is based on UK shows.

Finding a Live Show

Where to Find One

Before you can even think about attending you need to find a live show.

The best place to start is the BECF Diary of Events:

If you are on Facebook then you can also take a look at:

There is also a list of UK Lives on this Blog and I run at least one live show a year so get in touch if you are interested.

Make sure you look at the following things before you decide to attend:

  • Distance to Travel
  • Class List/Sections
  • Date
  • How you are going to get there

All these factors will depend on how you plan to get there, whether you can drive and your other commitments. You'll need to make sure you plan carefully and check with anyone you will be relying on to drive you!

Getting Your Place

To get a place at the show you need to get in contact with the show holder.

If you are on Facebook take a look at the British Model Horse Collectors group (above) this will allow you to find the show holder and ask them if they have spaces available.

Some shows book up very quickly so you need to be prepared for being put on a waiting list if there are no spaces left.

Once you have got a space you will need to pay to confirm it. The schedule will let you know the amount and who to pay. If you are not sure ask the show holder.

If you are paying via PayPal send the payment as personal, shows are run as charity events so fees will eat into the money going to the charity.

So remember:

  • Ask if there are spaces available
  • Pay to secure your place
Finally some shows ask for an entry form. Make sure you get this done well in advance!

Pre-Show Planning

Once you have booked your place you'll need to decide who to take with you. You may also want to ask the show holder if you can help judge a few classes.

You cannot judge classes with your horses in, so you'll need to let the show holder know which classes you can help out with.

Understanding the Schedule

This section will go through the schedule for Kitty Kitty Live to help you understand everything about it. Be prepared for lots of screen shots!

Our first image shows you three important things:


This is the date of the show. You should already know this!


Here we have the location, you may get a full address or detailed directions. Our schedule has a full address and detailed directions lower down.


There are two times here.

The doors open time is the time from which you can start arriving. Try not to enter the hall before this time to allow the show holder time to set up.

Start time. This is the time that the classes will start. You need to have all your horses ready before this time so try to aim to arrive close to the doors open time.

This image shows the entry fees. You'll note there are different types of entrance fees.

General Entry

This is the entry that most people will pay. You can get a full table and bring as many models as you like (subject to class entry limits)

Less than 20 Models (Half a Table)

As the name suggests those who bring under 20 models and are prepared to share a table get a reduced entry fee. Not all shows offer this so don't be surprised if they don't.


If you are unable to go to a show you may be able to get someone to proxy show for you. This means that they show some of your models for you. You have to arrange this yourself. We are not going to cover proxy showing here!


Some shows charge for spectators. If they do make sure you pay for any friends or relatives who are coming with you. Spectators are just there to watch and cannot show models.

Now we are onto the most crucial part! This is the class list. This may be several pages long and seem quite complicated but we'll try to go through it bit by bit so you can understand.

The Sections

For new members of the hobby all these terms may seem quite complicated. So here are some basic definitions:

Original Finish (OF) - Plastic models that have not been altered in any way. They should be the way they left the factory. This typically includes: Breyer, Peter Stone, Hartland & Copperfox models.

Custom Finish (CM) - These are models that have been repainted, resculpted etc. Essentially they have been customised or altered. These would include plastic models or commercial resins.

Artist Resin (AR) - Artist resins are resin or china models that have been sculpted by an artist and are usually a limited run. They are not commercially produced. They will typically have been painted by a different artist.

Craft, Toy, Foundation (CTF) - CTF are 'toy' type models. These are typically made of plastic or latex. These include: Schleich, CollectA, Safari, Papo, Julip, Equorum, Breyer Mini Whinnies, Crystal Moon Ponies, Rydal, Magpie, Grand Champions and Other Makes

Performance - Performance classes involve horses wearing tack and riders. In the UK riders are mandatory.

Workmanship - Workmanship classes are for custom finish and artist resin models. These classes are different as they are judged on the finish of the horse not conformation.

Fun - Fun classes are for all makes of model! There may even be classes for ones that aren't horses.

Plastic CTF - Some shows split up CTF. Plastic CTF are CTF models that are made of plastic. These typically include: Schleich, CollectA, Safari, Papo, Breyer Mini Whinnies, Grand Champions and other makes.

Bendy CTF - Bendy CTF classes are for latex models. These typically include: Julip, Equorum and Rydal.

Animal Artistry (AA) - Animal Artistry is a UK based 'brand' of model horses. They come in resin and china finish. This section is just for Animal Artistry models.

Commercial Resin/China - These are Original Finish resin or china models. These models are factor produced and still have the same finish as when they left the factor. This typically includes: Breyer Resins/Chinas/Porcelains, Northlight, Wade, Beswick, Royal Worcester and other mass produced chinas and resins.

Custom Glazed China - These are similar to artist resins but they are in china. They are limited run sculptures produced by artists and usually finished (custom glazed) by other artists.

This is only a rough guide. If you are not sure where to put your horse ask the show holder in advance, they will be more than happy to help you out. Make sure you read the schedule carefully as some will have special sections for some makes or want certain makes in different sections.

The Classes

The next challenge once you have chosen your section is to understand what can go in which class! This is a very rough guide and again shows may vary. Always ask the show holder if you are not sure.

The Breed Classes

Typically adult horses and foals are split up. You'll notice there are youngstock and foal classes. Class lists will vary greatly, remember contact the show holder if you have a question!

American Ponies - For ponies from North and South American. Typically includes: American Quarter Ponies, Pony of the Americas and Miniatures.

American Quarter Horse - This is an American breed of horse. This class is for purebred American Quarter Horse's (AQH) only

American Stock Breed - This is for American Stock breeds. This typically includes: American Quarter Horses, Appaloosa, Paint Horses and Colorado Ranger Horses.

American Spotted Draft - This is an American breed of heavy horse. This is for purebred American Spotted Drafts (NASD) only.

American Youngstock - For all youngstock or foals from North or South America.

Appaloosa - This is an American breed of horse. This class is for purebred Appaloosas only.

Arabian - This is a breed of horse. This class is for purebred Arabians only.

Arabian Mare/Gelding - This is for purebred Arabians that are mares or geldings.

Arabian Stallion - This is for purebred Arabians that are stallions only.

British Native Pony - This is for one of the thirteen breeds of British Native Ponies only. These are: Connemara, Dales, Dartmoor, Eriskay, Exmoor, Fell, Highland, New Forest, Shetland, Welsh A, Welsh B, Welsh C & Welsh D. No other breeds should be in this class.

British Native Youngstock - This is for youngstock of the thirteen British Native breeds as listen above.

British Heavy Horse - This is for one of the three breeds of British Heavy horses. These are: Clydesdale, Shire and Suffolk Punch.

Cob/Hunter - This is for cob and hunter horses. This will include Gypsy Vanner style cobs as well as show cobs and other cobs and hunters.

Donkey/Mule/Exotic - This is for other equines that are not horses. This includes: Donkeys, Mules, Zebras, Przwalskii Wild Horses, Wild Ass and other partbred types (such as Zorses)

European Heavy Horse - This class is for heavy horses from Europe. If there is no British Heavy Horse class this will include the British Heavy breeds.

European Native Type Pony - This is from ponies from Europe that are 'native' type. Native type ponies are stocky and furry. This includes breeds such as: Icelandics, Fjords and Haflingers. If there is no British Native class then they will go in this class.

European Warmblood - Warmbloods are specific breeds of horses. They are typically heavier competition horses. They are specific purebred breeds. These horses should be from Europe. Examples include: Hanoverian, German Warmblood, Dutch Warmblood, Swedish Warmblood, Bavarian Warmblood, Olderburg, Trakehners and British Warmbloods.

Fantasy/Decorator - These are non-realistic horses. Fantasy horses are unicorns, pegasus, unipeg and similar.

Fantasy/Decorator Youngstock - This is for non-realistic youngstock.

Foals/Youngstock - This is for any horses that are under 3 years old.

Friesian - This is a European breed of horse. This class is for purebred Friesians only.

Gaited - Gaited horses have a specific gait. Typically this class if for American Gaited horses (Icelandics and Harness Horses will usually be found in different classes). This includes gaited horses from North and South America. This typically includes: American Saddlebreds (ASB), Tennessee Walking Horses (TWH), Missouri Fox Trotters (MFT), Peruvian Pasos, Paso Finos and Walkaloosas.

Heavy Type Cob - This may include specific heavy type cobs or just cobs that are heavier. A heavy type will have a chunky body, be tall and may have feathering.

Heavy Youngstock - This is for any youngstock that are heavy horses. This may include breeds like Shires, Belgium Draughts or American Cream Drafts.

Hunter - Hunters are a specific 'type' of horses. You may want to add a specific type such as 'Middleweight Hunter'

Iberian - Iberian horses are light horse breeds from the Iberian peninsula (Spain and Portugal). For example Andalusians or Lusitanos.

Light Horse Youngstock - Light horse youngstock are horses under 3 years old that are of light horse breeds.

Light Type Cob - These are cobs that are of lighter types. They may or may not have feathering.

Morgan - This is an American breed of horses. This is for purebred Morgans as well.

National Show Horse - This is an American breed of horses. This is for purebred registered National Show Horses as well.

Other American Breeds - This is for all horses (usually not ponies) from North and South America that do not fit into other classes. This usually includes breeds like Mustangs, Morgans and Aztecas.

Other British Horse - This is for any British breed of horse that doesn't fit in any other class. This includes breeds like Cleveland Bays or Irish Draughts.

Other British Native - Some shows split out different British Native breeds (Welsh is quite often separated). This is for any of the 13 British Native breeds (as listed above) that don't have other classes.

Other European Horse - This is for any European breed of horse (this may include British horses as well if there isn't a British class) that doesn't fit in any other class. This quite often includes Friesians and Dutch Harness Horses.

Other European Light Horse - This is for any European light horse (this may include British horses if there isn't a British class) that doesn't fit in any other class. This quite often includes Friesians and Dutch Harness Horses.

Other Equine - This is for any equine that is not a horse. Typical examples include Donkeys, Mules, Ass, Zebras, Prswalskii Wild Horses and part types (e.g. Zorses)

Other Equine Youngstock - This is for any non-horse equine youngstock. Including donkeys, mules and zebras.

Other Heavy Horse - This is for any heavy horse that doesn't have a place in another class. This quite often includes American heavy horses.

Other Light Horse - This is for any other light horse that doesn't fit in another class. Typical examples you will see are Marwari's and Akhal Tekes.

Other Ponies - This is for any other pony that doesn't have its own class. This is where British Spotted Ponies go if there is no European Pony class.

Paint Horse - This is an American breed of horse. This is for purebred American Paint Horses only.

Partbred American - This is for any partbred American horses. This is where a horse has two crossed breeds (or more) and is not purebred.

Partbred Arabian - This is for any horse that is crossed with Arabian horses. This may include specific types such as Anglo Arabs, Pintabians or Araloosa as well as crosses, such as a Mustang x Arabian.

Partbred Heavy Horse - This is for any partbred heavy horse. This is a horse that is a mix of (at least) two different breeds.

Partbred Horse - This is for any horse that is a mix of at least two different breeds. The horse should be over 14.2hh. Some partbred horses have their own classes so as a general rule it is for any partbred horses that can't go anywhere else. This may include types such as Gypsy Vanners or Cobs if they don't have their own classes.

Partbred Pony - This is for any pony that is a mix of at least two different breeds. The pony should be under 14.2hh. Some partbred ponies will have their own classes so as a general rule it is for any partbred pony that can't go anywhere else. This may include types such as Polo Ponies where they don't have their own class.

Partbred Youngstock - This is for any youngstock that is a mix of at least two different breeds. This includes 'types' where applicable.

Pony Youngstock - This is for purebred youngstock of any pony breed.

Show/Riding Type Pony - These are specific types of ponies. You may need to specify exactly what type you are showing.

Sport Horse - Sport Horses are purebred horses but they tend to be more 'types' that 'breeds'. They typically will have a very Thoroughbred or Sporty appearance. Clues are normally in the time. This will normally include breeds such as British Sport Horses, American Sport Horses or Appaloosa Sport Horses.

Sport Horse/Warmblood - This is for both sport horse and warmblood breeds. This means that both the heavier 'breed' type warmbloods and the lighter 'type' sporthorses will be included.

Stock Horse - This is for any stock breed of horse, not just American. It will include Australian Stock Horses, American Quarter Horses, Appaloosas, Paints and Colorado Ranger Horses.

Thoroughbred - This is a breed of purebred horse.

Type Ponies - Type ponies are non-purebred ponies that are specific types. This may include riding ponies, pony ponies or pinto ponies.

Warmblood - Warmbloods are typically heavier 'breed' types. They may have names such as 'American Warmblood' that give you a clue or a specific breed name such as Oldenburg, Hanoverians or Trakehners.

Welsh - Welshies come in four different types; A, B, C & D. This is for purebred Welsh breeds only.

Fun Classes

Best Custom By Owner - This class is for custom horses you have painted.

Bust - This is for busts, these are just horses heads that are usually on a plinth so they stand up.

Conga - This is for a collection of horses all on the same mould. You will need to bring more than three horses of the same mould.

Crystal Moon Pony - Some shows will have a specific section for this make, these aren't really fun classes. This is a specific make of model horse.

Favourite Model - For this class you will need to show your favourite model horse. You should include a brief description of why the horse is your favourite.

Medallion - Medallions are sculptures that are flat or '2D' almost. They are usually horse heads but may be the whole horse.

Other Animal - This class is for any animal that is not an equine. It may include dogs, bears or fish! Who knows!

Worst Custom by Owner - This class is for custom horses that you have painted, that aren't very good!

Workmanship Classes

These classes are for custom finish and artist resin model horses only. They are judged on the horses finish/customising work.

Appaloosa - This is for appaloosa (spotted) coloured horses. Appaloosa horses will usually have spots (although some varnish roan and snow cap colours won't have spots).

Bay/Brown - Bay horses are brown with black points. Brown horses have a less richer class. Horses should be 'solid' coloured only (no pintos or appaloosas)

Black - Black horses are black. Horses should be 'solid' coloured only (no pintos or appaloosas)

Buckskin - Buckskin horses have a creamy coloured coat with no primitive markings. Horses should be 'solid' coloured only (no pintos or appaloosas)

Chestnut - Chestnut horses have an orange coloured coat, points will be either lighter or darker. Horses should be 'solid' coloured only (no pintos or appaloosas)

Decorator/Fantasy - This is for any non-realistic coloured horse.

Dun/Grulla - Dun and grulla coloured horses have the dun gene. They have primitive markings such as a dorsal stripe or leg bars (zebra stripes). Horses should be 'solid' coloured only (no pintos or appaloosas)

Grey - Grey horses are horses which have the grey gene that causes their coat to fade to grey or white in colour. Horses should be 'solid' coloured only (no pintos or appaloosas)

Leopard/Blanket Appaloosa - This is for appaloosa coloured horses that either have the leopard or blanket patterns. Leopard appaloosas have lots of spots all over their body, whilst blankets are mainly solid with a white covering on their hips and spots.

Other Appaloosa - This is for any appaloosa coloured horse that doesn't fit in other classes. It may include Varnish Roan or Snowcap.

Other Colours - This class is for any coloured horse that doesn't fit in other clases. It may include brindles or pintaloosas.

Other Dilute - Dilutes are genes that act on the base colour coat to 'dilute' it. This includes the cream gene or champagne gene. So this class may include Perlinos, Cremellos or Champagnes. Horses should be 'solid' coloured only (no pintos or appaloosas)

Other Pinto - This is any pinto coloured horse that doesn't fit in other classes. Pinto coloured horses have white and coloured patches on their body.

Overo/Tobiano - This is for pinto coloured horses that have either the overo or tobiano pattern.

Palomino - Palomino horses are chestnut with the cream gene. They typically have a creamy coloured body with a white mane and tail. Horses should be 'solid' coloured only (no pintos or appaloosas)

Pinto - Pinto coloured horses have both coloured and white patches. They come in different patterns such as overo, tobiano and sabino.

Roan - Roan horses have the roan gene that creates an effect like they have white flecks through their coat. Horses should be 'solid' coloured only (no pintos or appaloosas)

Performance Classes

Performance classes are for all breeds and types of horses but they must have both tack and a rider. They are based on real horse events so you will need to do research to check the rules for each event.

Arabian Costume - Arabian costumes are a specific type of costume for Arabian horses. They are usually very fancy with lots of tassles and beads.

Barrel Racing & Western Games - Barrel racing is a specific event performed in Western tack. Other Western games may include egg and spoon race or balloon races. Horses should have Western tack.

Dressage - Dressage is an event performed in English tack. There are quite strict tack rules for higher levels.

Driven - Driven classes are for horses that are pulling carts, traps or carriages under harness. They should have a driver and may be of any driven type.

English Ridden - This class is for horses shown in English tack that have their riders mounted.

Fantasy Performance - This is for any form of fantasy performance, there may be fairies or daleks. But there should generally be some tack and rider.

Hollywood Arabian Costume - Hollywood style Arabian costumes can be shown with pure and partbred Arabians. There are very few limits on the style of the costume or colours so they can be quite fancy.

Jumping - These classes are for any English jumping event. Typically this would include Show Jumping, Cross Country and Hunter classes.

Native Style Arabian Costume - These classes are for purebred Arabian horses shown in 'native' style costumes. There are specific requirements as to how the tack should look.

Other Costume - This is for any other costume. This may include things such as historical costumes, spanish style costumes or fancy dress.

Other English Performance - This is for any other performance discipline performed under English tack.

Other Performance - This is for any performance discipline that isn't covered by other classes.

Other Western Performance - This is for any other performance discipline that is performed under Western tack.

Scene - Scene classes are quite literally scenes. They will normally have bases, more than one horse and can be whatever you can imagine!

Western Pleasure - This is a form of ridden Western event where horse is shown in tack with rider and no props.

Western Showmanship - This is a form of in hand Western showing. Horses are shown over with a handler and fancy style halter.

Western Trail - This is a Western event where horses perform over certain obstacles. This includes both arena (in an arena) or natural (where there is a natural style look, such as bridges or gates) trail.

Well that was a long list! But hopefully it helps a bit!

On the schedule somewhere should be information about how to get in touch with the showholder and how to send payment.

Most shows are run for charity and will therefore be looking for all kinds of donations. Our schedule has specific information about the kinds of donations we want.

You may find some information about judging on the schedule. If you want to have a go at judging get in touch with the show holder. They should be able to pair you up with an experienced judge so that you can have a go!

Most shows allow people to sponsor classes or championships. This means you pay a bit more money or donate special prizes to those classes. This allows you to help out the charity and to support some special classes.

Most shows have a raffle at lunchtime and will also allow sales at lunch.

For shows that have a raffle make sure you bring along a donation, even if it is just a box of chocolates!

Some shows charge for a sales table if you want to have one all day. This is good if you run a business or have a lot of models you want to get rid of.

This is the important bit...the rules! Make sure you read these carefully. There are some very important things you will find here.

Entry Limits - Nearly all shows restrict how many horses you can enter in classes. Make sure you check this carefully, show holders are not flexible on this. This stops classes being stupidly large!

One Class Per Horse - At all shows horses can only enter one class in a section. They cannot enter more than one breed class. They cannot enter more than one workmanship class. Usually they can enter more than one performance class as long as the set up is different. Horses can enter breed, workmanship and performance if you wish.

No Tack  - Horses cannot be shown with tack on in any classes other than performance.

Hall Rules - Make sure you don't smoke inside (that's the law), run, handle other people's horses or bring dogs/other animals to a show (assistance and guide dogs are usually allowed)

Don't Touch Others Models  - You should never touch someone elses horses without their permission. Don't lean over models/tables. If you break a horse you will have to pay for it!

Poor Sportsmanship - It is completely OK to ask the judge why they didn't place their horse but don't be bitter or argue with judges or other competitors.

Your Horses  - When they aren't in classes horses should always be kept on your table/in your boxes. Never put them on the floor or on other peoples tables.

Lunch - Clearly not a rule but most shows will let you know if they provide food but generally you have to bring your own!

Wow that was a lot of rules...don't be scared by these, they are just there to make sure everyone knows where they stand and the show runs smoothly. Shows are great because they are fun and friendly but show holders need to be supported if people don't behave!

Finally schedules will also have an address, directions and maybe a map.

Who to Take

You will now need to decide which of your horses you are going to bring! To do this you will need two important things:

  1. The class list
  2. What the entry limits are
How to Choose a Model

Shows are judged on the following criteria:

  • Finish
  • Breed Standard/Workmanship/Performance Standard
  • Custom Paint Work Standard
So you'll need to look at your horses and see which are best for these. If your not sure about breed standards then choose your models based on who are in the best condition.

Choosing a Breed

Once you have chosen a model you will then need to choose their breed. As a good place to start go with what the model was sold as. Many Breyer models are sold as a specific breed, so that is always a good place to start.

You can also do some research in breed books and online. The most important thing to check is that the colour of your horse matches the breed standard.

Finding Their Class

Once you have their breed you will need to find the class they go in. You can use the list above to help or ask the show holder if you are not sure.

Here are some things to ask yourself to help:

  • What type is your model (pony, light, heavy, stock)?
  • Where is your model from?
  • Does it have an extra gait?
  • Is it purebred or a partbred or a type?
  • How old is it?
  • Is there a specific class for its breed?

Writing a List

You will need to write yourself a list so you know who you are bringing. Everyone does this differently but I'm going to show you how I do it!

First up here is a screenshot of my list from Winter Wonderland Live

So here are the various sections:

Column A - Section

The first thing I do is use the schedule to copy across the sections, class numbers and class names. The section is OF, CM, AR etc.

Column B - Class Number

This is always helpful to have. You can use the internet to generate a list of numbers which can be copied and pasted in if you do not want to type all of them in.

Column C - Class

This is the name of the individual class e.g. Arabian

Column D - Stable Name

Now I'm going to enter my horses names. If I need a new row I right click on the row underneath and click 'insert'. I put my horses stable name here. Horses usually have two names, their stable name (which is their everyday name) and their show name.

Column E - Show Name

The horses show name is what you will write on results and BMECS cards. This may be the same as stable names but it is a good idea, particularly with OF models, to give them a different show name.

Column F - Breed

Make a note of your horses breed so you don't forget on the day.

Column G - Colour

I put my horses colour in in case I forgot who the horse is!

Column H - Sex

This is again just to help me find my horse!

Column I - Placed Y/N

Leave this blank for now. When you print it out on the day you can write in whether the horse placed or not.

Column J - Placing

Leave this blank as well. On the day you can write in the horses placing.

Column K - Champ. 1

Leave this column blank too. On the day you can make a note if your horse places in the championship.

Column L - Champ. 2

This column is for the overall championship. Leave it blank. If you are lucky enough to get a placing you can write it in.

Before printing make sure you set the following settings:

  • Gridlines
  • Horizontal
  • Fit to 1 page wide

The Week Before

So you've paid, you've sent off your forms and you've planned who you are going to take and the show is on Saturday! Aaaa panic! NO! RELAX! It will all be OK...I promise. So here we go, we're nearly there and its time to start the dreaded packing and preparation.


When you pack depends on your schedule. I have to pack the weekend before, some pack the day before. There is a risk if horses are stored too long but you have to work around what you have time to do. I definitely don't recommend leaving it to the very last minute.

What to Pack In

Most people pack into plastic boxes. You may also want to use a suitcase or crates depending on what you have. You can get good quality plastic boxes with lids from hardware shops.

You can line your boxes with bubble wrap or blankets to line your boxes and protect your models.

Bubble Wrap

Bubble wrap is the standard thing to use to pack your models. It may not offer loads of protection for more delicate models.


Pouches are a quick and easy way to pack horses but can be pricey. Packing fragile models in pouches stood up carefully can offer good protection. They can also add an extra layer of protection to delicate models or finishes.

Toilet Roll/Paper

This can add an extra layer of protection but should not be used where there is any risk of stickyness!

Performance Horses

Whether you tack up in advance is up to you. I would advise tacking up the day before, but not everyone does this, there is a risk that tack will damage the horses finish.

Important Things

Make sure you make a note of who you have packed.

Always pack extra bubblewrap and leave a little bit of extra space in case you buy any more models!

Don't forget to pack your sales pieces, tack and riders!

Breed Cards

For horses that are rare or unusual breeds you will need to produce breed cards.

A breed card should be short and sweet and no bigger than A5 size.

It should have:

  • Clear Picture
  • Colours
  • Brief Conformation (bullet points are good)
  • Height (optional)
  • A little info on the breed (optional)
Horses that are unusual colours or portraits may also have a picture as reference of their colour or detail of horses registered in that breed of that colour.

Performance horses may also need cards detailing patterns, level, discipline or show jumping courses where necessary.

Shows usually don't require you to produce breed cards for every model. Instead they will have sticky notes or pieces of paper which you can write your horses breed on.

The Day Before

Final Packing

You may leave packing of custom finish models to the last day. This will reduce the risk of damage. You may also want to pack the last minute things.

Take a look at our list of things to take as a check list of all the things you need to have packed!

Also put your camera onto charge so that it doesn't run out of battery, make sure your memory card is empty.


If you like baking then why not bake something yummy for everyone! Live shows are a great excuse to eat lots of junk food, or you could cook something healthy.

List of Things to Take

Here is our check list of things to take to a live show! There may be extra things you need to take.

  • Model Horses
  • Extra Bubblewrap
  • Blanket
  • Sales Pieces
  • Raffle Prize Donation
  • Lunch
  • List of Horses and what classes they are in
  • Money
  • Directions/map/sat nav
  • Blusher Brush
  • Sticky Wax
  • Tack/Rider/Props
  • Scissors
  • Tooth Picks
  • Sticky Notes
  • Notebook
  • Pens
  • Breed Cards
  • Performance Cards/Patterns
  • Camera

Planning Your Day

Go to Google Maps (or similar) and see how long it will take to get there. As a general rule allow at least 45 minutes to pack your car and make sure you factor in time to stop for petrol/breakfast or for emergencies (traffic jams...).

If you are taking public transport make sure there are no engineering works or similar or any changes to your transport. Book tickets where necessary.

I would also check that everything fits in the car!


Don't forget to make yourself your lunch! Make sure you bring water some good things to eat and a sugary drink in case you get tired.

Before you Leave

Good morning *yawns*. So its 5.30am and your half asleep but its time to go! Are you excited yet?

Packing the Car

Don't forget to get your lunch out the fridge!

Pack your boxes first, hopefully you will have checked everything fits the day before! Make sure you go through the check list. Here are some typical things I forget:

  • Camera
  • Purse
  • Show List
  • Memory Card
  • Lunch
  • Sticky Wax
Once the car is all packed then you are ready to go!

Final Checks

Check you have everything and haven't forgotten any boxes (or left your lunch in the fridge).

Set your sat nav (or prime your navigator) and make sure your house is locked up.

Don't forget to get batteries/cameras that were on charge!

At the Show

You've driven 200 miles your tired and you are pretty sure you shouldn't have eaten that service station back sandwich...but that's all forgetten now because you have found your hall!

If you arrive before doors open get out, stretch your legs and have a look around. Try not to enter the hall before doors open.


When you arrive you will be greated by the show holder who will show you to your table. You may have a specific place to sit or may be able to choose your table. Say hello to your neighbours if they are there already and start to unpack your car.

Unpack your car to your table and then start unpacking your horses.

Did you bring a blanket? Lay it over your table for protection.

If you have space lie your horses down. Even if you can't lie them all down make sure any really fragile or wobbly horses are lain down!

If you haven't tacked up your performance horses you can do that now.

Now go make a cup of deserve it!

The show holder will announce when the show starts and do a bit of a talk first. Make sure to listen and get ready to show those horses!

Entering Horses

The classes will be shouted out in advance. There will usually be more than one ring so make sure you know which sections are in which ring and keep an ear out to make sure you know what is going on.

When the class is called get your horse and put it in the ring. Use that blusher brush to remove any dust or dirt. For performance you will need to make sure it is all set up properly.

Use one of the little pieces of paper available to write down your horses breed for mixed breed classes or put your breed card down.

Don't forget where you put your horse!


There will be a final call for the class and then it will close for judging. You need to get your horses in before judging starts.

If you are helping judge come and help the judge.

You'll notice that judges will go round the ring inspecting all the models from all angles. They will be looking at the horses conformation/performance standard/workmanship and the horses finish.

Once judging is finished they will place placing cards down by the horse.

If the horse has placed 1st or 2nd then you MUST WRITE DOWN YOUR RESULTS! If you don't then your horse will not be BMECS qualified.

Once judging is over then you can remove the horse and put it back on your table.


Horses that have placed 1st will go forward into the championship for that section.

So make sure you keep them out and don't pack them away.

When the championship is called put your 1st place horses from that section in the ring.

Judges will usually place a Champion, Reserve Champion and Reserve to Reserve Champion.

Champions and Reserve will then normally go into an overall or large section championship. So don't pack these guys away either!

Make sure you listen to the show holders so that you know exactly what they want in the championship.

Throughout the Day

Make sure you take lots of pictures!

Try to talk to lots of different people and have a look at their horses.

Check out any sales tables, although maybe try and resist temptation!

Feel free to help yourself to any of the drinks or snacks available.


Aaa lunch, did you remember it?

Lunchtime isn't just a time for eating lunch.

If you have brought any sales then you can put them in the ring at this point. You can also browse other people's sales.

At some point during the day someone will probably have come round selling raffle tickets. The raffle is normally held at the end of lunch. If the show is using the cup system you will need to keep half of your tickets (tear them down the middle) and put the other half folded up into pots. DON'T PUT BOTH TICKETS IN THE POT!

This is also a great time to sit and chat to some of the other showers. It can be scary at first talking to people but there are some great ice breakers at shows, model horses being one of them!


Throughout the day try to pack up your models once they have gone in the class. This saves you time at the end of the show.

Once the show is over pack up the rest of your models and certificates (hopefully) and pack your car.

Make sure before you leave you thank the showholder for running the show.

After the Show

In the Evening/Next Day

This depends when you get back!

Go online/where you found out about the show and publically thank the showholder, this is just polite. You may want to also seek out people you met at the show and would like to meet!

If you are on Facebook or other social networks or forums you can upload and share the pictures you took.

The Following Week

The final thing you need to do is to type up your results. Keeping a good record of your results is a good idea.

At some point the show holder will normally have to ask for missing results. Check this against your results to see if you forgot anything!

Start looking for that next show, I guarantee you will be hooked!


Wow! This is a long post! Here are some frequently asked questions.

Should I tag my models?

Generally no. There is no requirement to do this at most shows and tags can easily damage models. If you want to then you should only include the horses breed. You can write their shown name on the other side. Never make your name or your horses name visible to the judge.

How many models do people bring?

This varies. Some people bring hardly any, some bring loads. I would advise you don't bring too many to your first show.

Do I need breed cards for all my models?

You only need breed cards for rare or unusual breeds.

Can I pay on the day?

No. Unless the showholder allows it. Shows are very expensive to run and showholders need to pay for a lot of things in advance and be 100% sure of numbers.

Can I show horses I painted?

Of course you can! Generally they will go in the custom section unless they are Artist Resin.

What class does my horse go in?

If in doubt ask the show holder, every show schedule varies so its hard for people to advise you of this on a 'general' thing.

Have any other questions? Then just ask! I'll answer them and add them in here for others :D