I remember looking at my first prize list for a horse show. I was lost and wondered what it all meant, it was as if I was reading a different language. I am using our local prize lists that are most common.
Trust me, it is not that complex once you figure it all out. I will start out by defining some basic terms.
O/F - Over Fences, the horse will be jumping those cool jumps
U/S - Under Saddle, this is a flat class. Think Nascar, the horses go around in a circle, but they go left and right.
Eq or Equitation - a class where they are judging the way the rider rides and not the horse.
Green - I don't want to say beginner, but think of this as the horse/pony's rookie season.
Pony - guess what? Ponies are still horses, but they are under 14.2 hands high, so they have their own group of classes.
Thoroughbred - yes, this is a breed of horse, but they made a division for horses that were once race horses! Yes, horse people take race horses then train them to jump over things!!!! This is really awesome because they give many race horses are second chance, which is awesome.
Division - a group of classes, usually consists of 2 over fence classes and an under saddle class.
Course - the order in which the jumps need to be jumped. In normal classes, there is usually a Couse A and Course B.
Junior - Rider under 18
Adult Amateur - Non-Professional Adult Riders
Lets now decode a prize list -
Lead Line - the rider has someone holding the horse on a rope, or lead as we call it, while the rider demonstrates riding ability. Get ready for some cuteness!!! These are the little ones who are just starting to ride! Yes, they make show clothing for the tiniest humans. Crazy BUT ADORABLE!!
Pre-Short Stirrup - these are still the young riders. They aren't jumping yet. Just walking and trotting in circles. And for those who say it is easy....have you tired to trot and steer a horse?
Short Stirrup - this is a class when the young riders are just learning to jump, they are normally jumping small jumps and have a very simple course.
Pleasure Horse/Pleasure Pony Division - so this is one of those flat classes, no jumping. This is judging the horse/pony and if it is pleasurable. Its solely based on the horse and how it moves and reacts. So you need a well behaved horse/pony that looks fun to ride.
Schooling Hunter Divisions - these are divisions that are meant to help school or teach horses. Some riders use these as warm ups so their horses can see the jumps and get around the ring.
Green Hunter - the rookie horses have their own division.
Thoroughbred Hunter - these horses have to be registered with Jockey Club, so you need a special pass to get into this one.
Children's Hunter - if you have a horse and are under 18, this is your class!
Adult Amateur Hunter - Once you become an adult, you have your own division...i wonder is this when you have to start paying for your own classes and your parents can take a vacation with the money they save?
Children/Adult Amateur Hunter - this is the free for all. If you have a horse, you can compete in this division. They usually are lower heights that the regular Adult Amateur and Children's Hunter divisions. I consider it the stepping stone to the larger divisions.
Special Hunter - I guess it is special since everyone is invited to this party. You have a horse or a pony - you can play. You are a junior or adult amateur - you can play.
Equitation Classes - most every division has an equitation class. The equitation class judges the rider and how they get the horse to move.
See - its not too scary - now we can talk about those pony classes.
Children's Pony Hunter - This is offered to juniors on ponies. This is like the stepping stone to Pony Hunter.
Pony Hunter or Green Pony Hunter - I saved the most complicated for last!!!! They have Small, Medium and Large ponies. Their size is based on their height. So why does this matter? The size of the pony determine the height of the jump. I know, crazy! But it gets better sometime they will split the class and Large ponies will get their own class and Small/Medium get their own class. And you guess it, if it is Green Pony Hunter, it is for those rookie ponies.
There you have it!! That is prize list decoding 101. It wasn't that hard, was it?