We have just come home from our year end show, the Northwest Sporthorse Breeders Association Breeders Classic series. It's one day of HB, two days (separate shows) of DSHB classes and materiale.
WE went a long time out here with no HB venues - they just starved out. Last year, NWSHBA brought back HB in the Breeders CLassic, and this year we actually had another show as well that had classes to support, so things are looking better.
With our breed, they mature late, and are definitely not a purpose-bred dressage horse, so we take our lumps against the KWPN and the German breeds, but we do OK every so often. Last year our Irish Sporthorse colt won it ALL, over a lot of nice warmblood kids. This year, different judge (not inclined to look out of the WB box and see past growth stages as much) so we were scored down pretty hard. Hunter day though, was pretty good! Double judged, and both judges liked our Irish fillies.
For HB, it's all about manners - QUIET, obedient, and quiet and obedient. If you can run your horse down the long line at a good stretchy trot, you can show them yourself. Yearlings need to be in a bridle for HB, so get them bitted up in a plain snaffle - dee ring, and a hunter style bridle, no dressage cranks or blingy stuff. Braided mane AND tail, of course, and immaculately so. You will enter the ring, stand up before the judge, then be asked to walk one round and then to trot one round, then stand again (usually) for a final look.
In your area, you will likely have MUCH bigger classes than we do - and if you really want to be competitive (and have a horse who is competitive) it's likely worth a handler fee, as there's some politics involved even yet. Handlers here get $25 to $30 a round - but back in your area I can't tell you. I am getting too old to run colts, so we do use our young and very athletic trainer - except that my 3YO filly would only "work" for me, she was just too nervous the first day to settle for anyone else.
Best of luck in this fun class!
Homesick Angels Farm
Sultan WA USA