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The Quarter Method
I thought I'd post this to explain one of the trickier parts of in hand showing. Grooming and Showmanship requires this, at least at every show I've ever done, and halter to a lesser extent, which I'll explain later.
The quarter method of showing is essentially a way to make sure that the judge always has an unobstructed view of the horse in the ring. When moving forward, the handler is always on the left side, as is "correct" in any situation (getting the horse accustomed to working from both sides is a good thing, too, in schooling in hand). When standing still, however, the horse is to be between the handler and the judge. They system divides the horse into quarters, with a line from muzzle to tail, and a line crossing the withers.
The handler never stands in the II or III quarters, but moves from I and IV as the judge inspects the horse. Every time the judge crosses an imaginary line, the handler switches sides. For example: The horse is standing square, and the judge begins to circle the horse and inspect the grooming job. He is in I, and you (the handler) are in IV. When the judge crosses the wither line, into III, you step from IV into I. When the judge passes the tail line, you step back from I into IV. When the judge crosses from III into IV, you go back to I. When the judge crosses directly in front of the horse, you cross in front of him back to IV.
Here's a video to help explain, and to show the footwork involved to make the switches look fluid. Also, note that in the beginning of the video, before the pattern starts, the handler sees that the judge would be in the IV quarter if he were closer, and so switches to I until the pattern starts. This is very correct, and should also be done once the individual entry has been dismissed to the lineup. Disclaimer: Not me, not my horse in the video.
I hope that clears some stuff up about one of the more confusing parts of G&S. As I said above, many halter exhibitors do this as well, not so much out of the requirement, as in showmanship, but to make sure that the judge's view and ability to see the conformation of the horse is unobstructed.
Wow... thanks for posting this!! Totally makes sense now. :) I always wondered how the exhibitor knew when to switch sides.
So essentially if the judge is behind the wither line you are to be on the same side, and when he is in front of it you are to be on the other side correct? I think thats how I learned it, but its been a few years since I've done any showmanship. Also when in line you are to stay quartered if I remember correctly. Is this all correct?
I am a little slow. So your supposed to stand on the side the judge isnt on?
Great post but like I said I am a little slow.
Here's the diagram again, to save scrolling.
When the judge is in QII, you need to be in QI, so you're on the same side. And when the judge is in QIII, you need to be in QIV, so you're on the same side again. It's when the judge is ahead of the wither line that you need to be on the opposite side.
If I had to hazard a guess as to why the handler is on the same side as the judge when the judge is behind the withers, I'd say that it's a safety/control measure. If the horse acts up while the judge is behind him, pulling the horse's nose should tip the hindquarters away from the judge if the handler is in position.
This is a challenge for me! :lol: I'm used to teaching this by demonstration, not by explanation alone, lol.
cheers for this! I am thinking of doing some in hand showing with my pony in the future and have just started his training, so need to start my training too! haha
by "stay quartered" I meen keep using the quarter system. When I was doing 4-H people would forget and be on the wrong side of the horse while in line. Aka, if you are in line waiting and the judge is to the left of your horse (even if they are way out on the other side of the arena) you are to be on the right side of the horse.
Great posts! Some advice that helped me get it was "always be in the same half, but NEVER the same quarter". Your footwork should spell OAT. Over, Across, Together. So you step over, then cross your feet, then put them together. You always want to be standing "at attention". Pretend you're in the Marines lol, but don't look stiff. Everything should be smooth. Again, great posts everyone!
I also want to note: I'm not sure what the protocol for all of this is outside the US. I know there are halter classes (or at least equivalent, perhaps called something different) in the UK, and I've read a little about them; pretty similar, but there are some differences. Non-US members, please speak up and explain if G&S/halter positioning is different in your neck of the woods! :D
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