I have some questions about breed specific showing. Actually... my number one question is:
What exactly is the point of breed circuit showing?
There's so many different types of breed shows. Halter, HUS, but what does that mean? What are they looking for? What makes one paint better than another paint? What makes one arabian better than another? And how do they judge such things? My horse is a mutt... but he's got paint in him and a barn mate asked me if I would "breed circuit" show him. He's not papered, so I would assume that would count me out of that. But it made me think... what is breed showing all about??
Some breeds are designed for different things. Lets take arabians. There is not one discipline arabians don't compete in. On average, they don't do any of them as well as the breeds specifically designed for the purpose (i mean, as a whole. There are individual arabians who compete with the best of the best.. but you'll see more Warmbloods in sporthorse excelling than arabians, or in Park more SBs), etc. Breed shows allow members of the breed (in this case arabians) to compete against each other on a level playing field so to speak.
Arabians are usually competed in (not fully inclusive!! I'm sure there are a bunch of classes I've forgotten lol).
Endurance (ok.. they are the best of the best there)
Cutting (and some have NCHA earnings)
Reining (many with NRHA earnings)
Working Cow Horse
Reined Cow Horse
Dressage (many competed to FEI levels)
Showjumping (some competing up to FEI levels)
Hunter (over fences)
English Pleasure (saddleseat)
Country English Pleasure (saddleseat)
Sport horse under saddle
Sport horse in hand
Halter (how closely the animal matches the breed standard/ideal)
Classic Head (this is offered for fun at some shows.. it's not really a division. It's just a contest where they put a cooler on the horses and just judge the breed type of the head. Everyone knows it means nothing.. just a fun class)
These are also split into Open and Amateur divisions, and then further split (in the Ammy divisions) by age of the rider which is broken into two (Amateur owner/rider and regular Amateur) Some of the Open divisions are split by age of the animal too (i.e. There is Sr Stallion Halter, Jr Stallion Halter, and then AOTH Sr Stallion halter and AOTH Jr Stallion Halter).
Now, when the horses go into the classes.. they are judged on a few things. The judge wants to see that the horse performs the role. They also should adhere to the breed type and specifications.