Here's a website with oodles of practice patterns: Showmanship Practice Patterns
Most look kind of tricky (as I skim and see lots of loops and serpentines), but there are a few fairly simple ones. Do practice at home, but working the pattern and memorizing it.
As far as ring advice, firstly don't be the first one in the ring if you can help it. Really small shows sometimes let entrants sort themselves into the order they want, but most do call number by number. Being first (or last) to go helps you stick in the judge's mind, but if you're unconfident or unsure watching a couple of people run the pattern can help.
Usually the pattern starts with a cone. When the horse in front of you leaves the starter cone to do the pattern, you can take your place there and square your horse up for his run. The caveat to this is if the pattern will bring the horse before you back to the starter cone for some reason... then wait until he's done with the cone to take your place.
Even at this point, remember your quarter method. You always lead from the left, but if you're standing still for any length of time, be quartering according to the judge's position just like at inspection. This holds for the post-pattern lineup as well.
When the judge is ready for you to begin your pattern, he/she will acknowledge you with a nod, perhaps waving you forward. It's generally good etiquette to nod back, then crossover to the left side if you need to, and start your pattern. The judge is looking for a solid entry -- straight lines, smooth transitions, responsive back-ups, pivots, and square-ups, and a horse that neither charges past or lags behind the handler, on a tidy but relaxed lead. Smile, and be confident! If you aren't, fake it until you make it! Above all, have fun!
After the inspection portion of the pattern, finish out or return to the lineup as the pattern requires. I usually look back over my shoulder at the judge 2-3 times at this point, but I was taught old-school. Ideally, the looking back shows respect for the judge, and according to some helps straighten your line (my lines get crooked when I look back... so not fair
). When you get back to the lineup, tack yourself onto the end a safe distance from the next horse. There will probably be a ring steward of some description to guide you as to where to stand. In the post-pattern lineup, set your horse square and continue to follow the quarter system. You are still being judged, and your performance in the lineup can be a big bonus at some shows.
That got really long (sorry, I ramble when it comes to G&S/Halter
), hope it answered some of your questions about what to expect in the class. Best of luck, have fun
, and enjoy the show!