Today's photos were taken during the Three Year Old Geldings class at a recent Friesian Keuring. This class was run under a standard Sport Horse In Hand format. That is, each horse was individually "on the triangle." Here's a fairly typical triange pattern.
The horses enter the ring one at a time...and are stood up in front of the judges for inspection. Most Sport Horse breeds favor an "open stance". This means the front and hind legs are not lined up squarely. Instead, the two front legs and two hind legs are placed with one leg slightly in front of the other, allowing all four legs to be seen simultaneously from the side.
At the judge's signal, the horse and handler move off at a walk.
The triangle pattern allows the judge to assess the horse's movement from three different angles--going away, side view and coming toward.
Once the horse and handler have completed the walk triangle...
they pick up a trot...
and trot around the outside perimeter of the triangle.
Quality of movement is of utmost importance to the Sport Horse crowd, so the horses are asked to move out on a long, powerful stride.
Not surprisingly, this happens a lot.
When it does, the horse is brought back to a trot, and the judges may ask the handler to go around a second time.
Because these pictures were taken at the Friesian Keuring, the horse is being handled by a show provided runner and whip. At most other shows, the handler would be dressed in khakis and a polo shirt or perhaps huntseat riding attire. Similarly, the horse would wear a hunter or dressage type snaffle bridle rather than the white Keuring bridle.
After the trot work is completed, the horse may be stood up for the judges a second time. He is then led out of the ring before the next horse competes.
Performance showers beware: Strictly speaking, this is a halter class. Since it includes a pattern, there's a tendency to use it as an Other Performance entry. I have no problem with that. but some judges may be less lenient. The Scene Class may be a better option. If in doubt, be sure to ask the judge!