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  • Personal Note from Bonnie
  • Article:Planning a Model Horse Show

Personal Note from Bonnie

Quick Personal Note: How many of you have wanted to start showing or exhibiting your model horses but don't know where to go? Or maybe the shows are too far away. Today Diane shares with us her personal insights from putting on model horse shows. When she started there were none to be found, so she worked at changing that. This is a long article with lots of information so let's get started. And if you have any questions, simply email us at

Article: Planning a Model Horse Show

One of the most frustrating aspects of model showing is often the lack of shows in your traveling area. While all parts of the country have model shows, they aren't always near you. While a long-time exhibitor of models may drive hundreds of miles to get to a large sanctioned show, the beginning showman isn't ready to spend that amount of time and money while she learns the craft. It's the same as real horse showing. Most exhibitors start out at local shows. As their knowledge and skill increases, they move on to bigger and farther shows. It's no different for the model showman.

But if there aren't many shows in your area, what do you do? There is a remedy, of course. You can always plan a model show in your area. That's what I did when model showing came to our rural area. Here are some idea's to get you going…

The first item you need to put on a show is a show building. Community buildings and school gymnasiums serve the purpose well. Any large, open building with a level floor will work. The floor is very important. You want the stable and arena tables to have firm footing when you set your horses on them for exhibition. A rocky table means horse's will tumble over which could result in nicks and scratches.

Once your 'arena' is chosen, you need to arrange for tables. They will be used by the exhibitors as 'stables' to set up their entries and prepare them for the show. Have plenty on hand; many showmen come with several horses. Performance set-ups take a lot a space to get ready.

Also make sure you leave plenty of room between your stable tables. Exhibitors move around getting their horses set up. Crowding could lead to bumps and horses crashing. Most shows charge an exhibitor for the use of a table. While you're arranging for tables at your show, don't forget chairs. Model showing often goes on all day, so your exhibitors will need somewhere to sit down between classes.

Tables are also used for the 'show arena'. Two tables set end to end make a nice size arena that will be large enough for most classes. You should have at least two arenas so the next class can be setting up while judging is going on in the other arena. If your show has pre-entry and you know it is going to be large, three arenas may be better to keep the show moving along. A model show can take just as long to judge as a real horse show. Once a class is called, the exhibitors move their entries from their stable table to the arena table for judging. When the class is placed and recorded, the entries are then moved back to the stable and the next class is set up on the arena table.

One thing I have not seen at the model shows I've been to is a picture area. Real horse shows often have a setting with a background to take pictures of the horses at the show. I think this would be a good idea for model shows too. Often exhibitors take pictures of a winning entry. If they take the photo in the show arena, there is the clutter of the other entries in the background which doesn't highlight the winner very well. Taking a picture at the exhibitor's stable is even less desirable to produce a good photo since she most likely has several horses and set ups on her 'stable' table to detract from the winner's picture. I think a table with a nice background would be an excellent addition to a model show.

Entry forms can be as simple or as complicated as the show committee wishes. My favorite form of entry is buying the number of entry tickets of classes you plan to enter. You also sign in with your name and address on an entry sheet. When you set your horse on the arena table for your class, you also put one of the entry tickets by it. Before the class starts, the ringman collects all the tickets. This way the show committee knows every horse in the class has paid an entry fee.

When judging is complete and the ribbons have been set down next to the winning entries, the ringman walks around the table and writes the name of the winning horses and owners from the tag on the entries leg. This method works very well at a large show with multiple entries in a class. It also saves the exhibitor who shows many horses a great deal of writing time over the method where you have to fill in an entry form with each horse's name, breed, and your name and address.

An important addition to your model show you should never forget is a food booth. Exhibitors will most likely be there most of the day and will get hungry. The food booth provides a convenient way to feed them and also provides additional cash for the expenses to run the show. Another alternative is letting a youth group run the food booth at the show as a fund raising opportunity for them.

Other important areas you have to cover before you can have a successful model show are hiring a judge, deciding what classes your show will have, and choosing prizes. I will discuss these areas in a separate article to give each one the coverage it deserves.

You should now have a good background to plan a model show in your area. Consider doing it during the next several months when the real horse show season slows down and winter sets it. It's a great way keep active in the horse showing world during the colder winter months.

Diane Maccani is a lifelong horseman and the author of a thirteen book series, What the Cowgirls Do! Her books take you into the ‘real world’ of showing, rodeo, and ranching in today’s horse industry. Check out her website: for more information about the series and how to order.

Until next time, keep imagining!


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