Those who have invested in certain breeds of horses often participate in horse shows and judged competitions. Such events are composed of a group of horses of similar breeds and similar training that compete for awards and, frequently, prize money. Judges’ scores are based upon the horses’ performances, evaluations of the riders’ posture and the relationship between horse and rider.
There are both international and national horse shows. In its competitions, the International Federation for Equestrian Sports (Fédération équestre international-FEI) has established 10 disciplines:
- Combined driving — This event involves carriage driving.
- Dressage — Rider and horse perform a memorized series of particular movements.
- Endurance Riding — Rider and horse participate in either endurance rides of 50 or 100 miles or shorter rides.
- Eventing — Rider and horse compete in three events: dressage, cross-country and show jumping
- Reining — Horses perform a precise pattern of circles, spins and stops.
- Show Jumping — Horse and rider perform various jumps.
- Tent Pegging — The rider picks up a target with a lance or sword.
- Vaulting — This event involves gymnastics on horseback.
- Reining or Western Pleasure — This event consists of a horse’s manners and a relaxed gait.
- Dressage — Also a manners event, the rider is poised and the horse demonstrates obedience, balance and flexibility.
On the national scene, judges also evaluate riders on their posture and relationship with their horses and the skills performed. Competitions include the following:
- Pleasure Classes — Judges scrutinize the horse’s demeanor in the ring and whether it is calm enough to ride in competition events.
- Equitation Classes — Judgment is made on how well the horse responds to the rider’s commands as they go through 15 different movements.
- Timed Classes — Several events are involved in both Western and English competitions. One popular event involves 12 fences placed on a course. The horse jumps over the fences, but if it knocks over a fence or refuses the jump, points are deducted.
- Reigning-In Classes — In this event of Western competitions, the horse is tested on how fast it can come to a stop from a fast gallop.
- Stock Horse Classes — This event involves agile cattle-herding horses that are usually quarter horses. Judging involves how well the horse trots and how well teams achieve a perfect rhythm in a specific time.