Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: northeast Arkansas
Make sure she's at a decent weight with good amount of muscle. You don't need her to be fat, but not ribby.
It will really help you if she's ok with standing square for several minutes at a time. You want to get her squared before the judge looks you over and what you could do is just not worry about her squaring up until the judge starts heading down the line, that way she'll be more willing to stand for a shorter amount of time.
In halter you will want to wear a cowboy hat, long sleeve western shirt, jeans should be fine for the local level, and boots. Make sure your hair is tidy and you can tuck it into a bun under your hat or if it's short it should be ok left down.
In Halter the horse is being judged, not so much you.
Preparation starts months in advance with a good conditioning program to make sure there's enough muscle tone and you'll want to spend quite a bit of time daily just brushing to get a nice shiny coat. Clip the whiskers from the muzzle, any long hairs under the throat, around outside of ears/inside if you want, trim long fetlock hair, whiskers around eyes. On show day you want your horse to be as clean as possible. Get the mane tidied up and shortened, you may use hoof blackener or clear, depending on color of her hooves, I like using a small bit of baby oil on the muzzle to highlight it.
Getting her to walk at your shoulder without needing to be pulled along is great, same with trotting. I know the local classes here you usually just enter, walk towards the judge along the rail, and some judges ask that you halt, then trot along the rail, then line up in the middle facing the stands. Each judge may be different. A great idea is to go watch a show where you plan on showing later. It gives you an idea of how laid back it is, what to expect from judges, and your competition.
In Halter you'll want to move around when the judge is checking your horse to allow the judge to have a clear view. Don't cross behind the withers, stay by the head, but if the judge approaches the front left side, smoothly move to the horse's right side, keeping your toes pointed towards the horse's shoulder, left hand holding lead slack and right holding the lead closer to the halter. When the judge is at the rear of the horse, stay on the same side as the judge. If he's at the right rear, stay on the right front.
ALWAYS pay attention to where the Judge is, keep your eye on the Judge when he's judging your horse.