Horse Showmanship for grown ups... is it possible to learn?


9 Years
Aug 25, 2010
Rural Brooklyn, WI
A class caught my eye "Jack Benny Showmanship". For the folks that don't know the class its one for 39 yr old's and up.
Showmanship is an in-hand class that requires the handler and horse to walk, trot, back, pivot a 3/4 turn and usually pivot a 180..
Now I am slightly confused on one hand.. is the fore or the hind that does the 180 or 3/4??

AND while I have access to a horse that has done showmanship in his sleep (super super well trained)...
I haven't done it..
And it doesn't "LOOK" that hard... it doesn't look harder than doing dressage with some backing. (knowing when to free walk/knowing where X is)
-NOT using your crop to salute with...Been there, done that... got the chortles but hey it was my first dressage test EVER!! and this was before you tube...
(oops I am showing my age aren't I).....

So... is there an online resource I can utilize to learn what to do, when... without the improper salute.. LOL

Thanks tons


10 Years
Sep 23, 2009
pivots are always done on the hind end, away from you with the back right staying planted as the pivot point.

edit to add this is how its done in stock horse and 4h type stuff, I am not aware if dressage is different in any way.
Last edited:


9 Years
Aug 25, 2010
Rural Brooklyn, WI
I am not speaking of dressage version of showmanship (it doesn't exist) I meant knowing patterns and where/when to trot/canter and such.

so where can one find showman ship patterns and such.
And can you clarify, the 3/4 turn and a 180 turn are all done on the hind vs done on the fore?

Peaches Lee

12 Years
Sep 19, 2010
Speaking from my 4-H days (which was awhile ago, so may be inaccurate), I don't believe they require canter in showmanship and I *think* there is no pattern. The judge observes the horse at a square halt. I think you trot in a line away from the judge, and then maybe back at the judge, back the horse a couple steps, the pivot on the haunches and that's it. Perhaps your best bet would be to observe a show, but get there early, that's when the hold the class.


The truth is out there...
12 Years
Mar 5, 2007
Phoenix, AZ
You can certainly learn!

I did western showmanship for many years and once I got really into it, it was a hoot. There are a lot of technical things you have to learn, like where and how to stand when the judge is inspecting your horse, how to move to stay out of his way, how to present yourself and your horse, how to hold the lead rope, and most importantly, grooming! That was my favorite part of the whole thing. It was an excuse to get out there and doll up my horse without my dad rolling his eyes!

Remember that showmanship is all about you and your presentation of the horse. So grooming, behavior, etc. are all factored in, and conformation doesn't really play much of a part at all. In showmanship, you are in essence "selling" your horse.

A horse that will square up and perform for showmanship is a great way to start. I didn't have the luxury and had to teach my horse myself.

Take that class though! It should give you a nice intro into showmanship. It's amazing how involved showmanship is. During my 4-H days we were all forced to participate in showmanship so I HAD to learn, but a lot of people that get into showmanship do just that class because it really is a thing of it's own.

I would love to do it again with my horses now, but they all need training. The only thing I don't like about showmanship is that your horse is supposed to walk along side you and your shoulder is at their throatlatch. This sort of goes against everything I was ever taught as far as proper following goes! I would have to retrain my horses to walk that way because they are all used to walking behind me and to the side.


A Good Egg
10 Years
Apr 27, 2009
Tonasket Wa
When I used to show, showmanship was one of my favorite classes! It pays to be sharp! There is usually a pattern posted ahead of time to memorize. There can be anything from walk and trot, halt, back-up, stand squared (using the quartering in position to the judge) a turn on the hindquarters or the forehand from (anything from 90* to a full 360*), sidestepping etc. the most common patterns have a turn on the hindquarters (the pivot), Remember grooming is a biggie as well as doing the pattern correctly. Smile big time cheesy as well lol if you have a horse that already knows all his groundtraining its just a point of being sharp, and tuned up!


9 Years
Feb 7, 2011
Showmanship is a great class! Lots of little details though. Try to find a local 4-H rulebook or breed association rule book and read up on the showmanship class. They tell how the class works and what you are judged on. The rulebooks can be found free online. Even if you don't show a quarterhorse the AQHA rules are very similar to other stock type breed rules.

Here links to a few rulebooks--most are similar:

AQHA: (look for show rules section)


11 Years
Jan 4, 2009
N.E. Ohio
I don't know anything about horses, but I don't think you're ever too old to learn. Never stop living the dream! That's how we keep ourselves young at heart.

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom