Half a life time ago I used to do versatility classes, a ton of fun!
I've been in classes where western is run first and english second, but usually its english is first and western is second. You start do a basic equitation class WTC both directions, line up then the break is called. everyone goes off to a corner of the area. You get one helper who brings in your tack and outfit change. USUALLY the helper cann't do anything but bring stuff in, hold the horse and giv you a leg up, but they are usually allowed more leway with younger riders, (Juniors tighting cinches and girths etc.).
You untack, retack and change your clothes right there in the area.
The best way to keep everything flowing is to do it in that order untack, and retack in your first set of show clothes. If you change first your show clothes get dirty before the second half of the class.
Second trick is in the clothes. Usually they require full on show clothes which means for english a full riding habit (Hunt coat, tie/ratcatcher and button up shirt). Wear a short sleaved buttonup shirt as when you have to change in the arena, you can put a long-sleaved wester show shirt on right over it and once you take the stock tie or ratcatcher off of it, the mandrin collar of the english shirt is hidden behind the western shirt collar.
Chaps are a huge help. I've seen some girls put jeans on over their breeches and either ride like that or then put chaps on over the breeches, at that point you're riding with a ton of layers. Forget the jeans and just slip on chaps over your breeches. If your division allows the use of half chaps in the english section you can get away with using the same riding boots. There are a lot of tie up Justin boots that look like Ariat english paddock boots and once coveredwith either half chaps in english or full chaps in western you can't tell either way, and you won't have to try and switch out your over foot wear.
You want to get everything switched out fast so you can get back up. Usually the class gets started as soon as the last rider is mounted. Which means they get extra warm up time.
That additional warmup time is essential
to getting the horses frame of mind switched over, from say a strong forward marching, hunter or dressage walk, to a relaxed, meandering, low walk. From again, a strong powerful forward posting english trot, shifted down to an easy barely hip shaking western jog.
The last person up, usually gets one time around the arena which depending on how prepared you and your helper are can be the difference of several minutes.
Hope this helps!
I've been looking at some local shows, and I saw a few were offering versatility classes and I'm very interested in them. I understand the basic concept (half english, half western), but how are they usually run? (I'm very new to showing, so I need all the help I can get
) And does anyone have any tips for versatility classes?