Part three of a series on showing at halter. Read the second segment here.
This series by judge Mark Sheridan will help people who are showing their horses in halter competition. The new class of Performance Halter has hit most of the breeds over the last few years. In addition, versatility ranch classes and various competitions require showing your horse at Halter for breed and open shows and there has been a major increase in people exhibiting their horses in Halter and Conformation classes. The tips in this five-part series will help make your experience in Halter more enjoyable and more competitive. Most importantly, it will give you the tools that will make it easier for the judges to place you closer to the top of the class.
Moving on to more helpful tips, one of the most important ones is very simple, yet so many people struggle with it: mouthing your horse.
If you show a mare or stallion, it is mandatory that you show their teeth or “bite” to the judge. A judge must be able to see where the incisors line up to determine if they are parrot mouth or have any other mouth issues. The proper way to do this is to put one hand on their mouth and separate upper and lower lips to expose the bite. I find it amazing how many people fight their horses with this simple maneuver. If you just spend a few moments every time you are around your horse, they will allow for you to part their lips and show the teeth.
Most of the halter horse trainers will show you their horse’s teeth upon approaching the horse for inspection and, as a judge, this makes our jobs easier so that we don’t have to ask to see their teeth.