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Sort of a spin-off: What just for fun horse show classes have you ridden in or observed?

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  • Sort of a spin-off: What just for fun horse show classes have you ridden in or observed?

    Reading the thread about costumes for horses brought back so many memories of the "just for fun" horse show classes I used to enter with my horse.
    Costume was one of them, of course, but there were many others.

    My favorites were:
    Water glass-ride at called for gait while holding a cup of water in one hand. Winner was rider with most water left at end!
    Egg and spoon-same idea but holding an egg on a spoon in one hand. Last rider with their egg wins!
    Break and Out-ride at called for gait and transitions had to be immediate. My horse rocked this class!

    Fun classes weren't limited to just barn play days either, they were offered at most shows in the area. They weren't point earners at the local saddle club shows but they did award ribbons for them(and a bit of money at the fair, lol!) so if you were having an off day in the regular classes there was always a chance to not go home empty handed by entering a fun class or two!

    So what were/are your favorites? What is the funniest one you've ever seen? Do/did you have a horse that excelled at a fun class?


  • #2
    Our club has a timed event called Dressage by the Letters. We use a driving size arena. 6' "gates" marked with cones at all letters including the CL. Enter at A, go thru gates in alpha order, exit after x.... Lots of fun.

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    • #3
      Oh, so many! Ride a buck (I kick butt at this, especially on my current horse), ribbon pairs, dizzy bat, catalog race....I'm sure there are more. I LOVE doing the fun classes
      \"In all manners of opinion, our adversaries are insane.\" Mark Twain

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      • #4
        Ring Spearing! Local riding club playday class.

        Three tiny rubber rings hanging from strings, off an upside down L shaped bracket attached to the rail, about 20 feet apart. We were given what seemed to be a pool cue to be used like a knight's lance. Time and accuracy to count. Though you really had to go fast, if you missed a ring it was hard to make up the points.

        It was weird but fun. It was eons ago, I have no idea if anyone still offers that class.
        I won a really nice silver platter for winning that class at one of our biggest club shows. Those were the days of really nice trophies.

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        • #5
          I know ride a buck (bareback keep a dollar bill between your thigh and horse), but dizzy bat etc I’ve never heard. What are they?

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          • #6
            One barn I boarded at would do a fall fun show. The best class to watch was the costume hobby horse class for the non-horsey husbands and fathers. One guy pranced around in a tutu and tiara. It was great fun.

            The kids had relay classes, trail classes, costume classes and a trick or treat trail ride.

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            • #7
              My barn had a Halloween fun show last year and had a fun relay race. Proceed at gait of rider's choice from starting line to end of arena. Dismount. Horse bobs for apples. Rider sidles up underneath a row of donuts suspended from a clothesline. Once both parties have eaten their treat, remount and proceed back to starting line. Horse must finish his apple prior to remounting; there is no penalty for a rider who is still chewing while crossing the finish line.

              As my horse approached the line, we agreed that there would be no penalty if the horse finished the rider's donut, provided the horse finished his apple first. (I believed it plausible that my horse would select his own donut. Or four.) My horse won. He ate half my donut. He had a pretty good day.
              "I'm not always sarcastic. Sometimes I'm asleep." - Harry Dresden

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              • #8
                Old clothes race. A pile of old, oversized clothes was at one end of the arena. Riders are timed as they gallop from one end, dismount, put on clothes, remount (some horses objected!) and gallop back.

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                • #9
                  Bribe Your Pony

                  A Liberty-type class with a course of very small (< 2') jumps you had to convince your (untacked) horse to jump/follow you over.
                  Any kind of treat incentive allowed.

                  Friend's DraftX mare appeared to be aiming a kick at friend, who dared to withhold a treat for effort over every fence.

                  My own shareboarded QH gleefully took off jumping everything randomly & forcing me to walk him down when time was called

                  ​​​​​
                  *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                  Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                  Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                  Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

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                  • #10
                    We did the bribe class as well, but it was a full trail course with the bridge, weaving cones, poles and a log etc. Super fun! Here are some others we've had at fun shows.

                    Bubblegum race: timed event or race: ride to far end, get e piece of that really hard Double Bubble bubble gum, chew til you could blow a bubble over one inch, ride back.

                    Donut race: timed or actual race, depending on numbers. Ride to far end, halt, Eat a donut suspended on a pole without touching it, ride back.

                    Catalog race: timed event or actual race. Ride to far end, dismount, find a specified item in a catalog, tear it out and ride back, hand page to judge at end for verification.

                    Command class: gaits, transitions, halts, etc. called out with fairly fast count to three. Anyone not doing the command on 3 is eliminated until one remains (hand gallop to halt is a great way to weed out a group...) Halts also because command must be maintained until the next is given, and moving a foot on a long halt is elimination.

                    TP command class: variation on above, done in pairs. Each pair has a 6-foot length of toilet paper or crepe paper that they must hold onto as commands are given. Dropped or torn paper = elimination.

                    Not really a "fun" class per se, but my favorite show class was always road hack, a rail class that called for W/T/C plus extended trot and hand gallop. I loved it, and my horse at the time always placed well because he had a true 4-beat hand gallop while many, if not most just got a fast canter. I loved that class, but apparently it's a northeast thing because I've never seen one offered at shows around here.

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                    • #11
                      Favorites (already mentioned above, but) were dollar bareback and command-break-and-out. Now I'm going to be feeling nostalgic the rest of the evening. Fun thread!!

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Chall View Post
                        I know ride a buck (bareback keep a dollar bill between your thigh and horse), but dizzy bat etc I’ve never heard. What are they?
                        Gosh, we had to sit on the dollar, in other words, keep the dollar between our horse and our backside.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by MsM View Post
                          Old clothes race. A pile of old, oversized clothes was at one end of the arena. Riders are timed as they gallop from one end, dismount, put on clothes, remount (some horses objected!) and gallop back.
                          We did this...but with a twist. It was a relay. Rider 1 is at one end of the arena with the horse. Rider 2 is at the other end. At the word go, rider 1 puts on the old clothes, which were very large jeans and Tshirt, (That alone added a challenge keeping them up, haha.) mounts, races to the other end. When they cross a line, rider 1 dismounts and gets out of the clothes for rider 2 to put on. Rider 2 then mounts and races back. I used to do this as a kid with my mom! And she was never much of a rider. We had it down to an art, though. As she was dismounting, I was pulling the Tshirt over her had and putting it over mine inside out. Then she was out of the jeans and she helped me get them on and away I went. Ah, what find memories! This was over 30 years ago. We won this classes a few times.

                          Though not necessarily a class, a few years ago I joined a western drill team. We were 5 women competing against large teams of teens who kicked our butts every time, but we had tons of fun!!

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                          • #14
                            Not a “fun show” class, but when I was growing up, the Arabian shows used to always have ride & drive, as well as multidiscipline classes (western + saddle seat + hunt seat). They were pretty fun. I also always enjoyed native costume, which doesn’t seem to be as big of a deal today as it was in the 1980s.
                            Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO

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                            • #15
                              A few years ago I had a fun in barn Christmas show.

                              One of the "classes" I help was "pin the face on the snowman". I had a paper snowman on the wall, and riders had to pick up the face pieces, ride to the snowman, and stick them to the appropriate place (the pieces were slightly sticky).

                              Another was like the Dollar Bill class, but instead I made them carry a carrot under their leg and they had a saddle. Highly entertaining for me.

                              A non-riding class was throwing "road apples" into target buckets. Also entertaining for me.
                              Freeing worms from cans everywhere!

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                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Chall View Post
                                I know ride a buck (bareback keep a dollar bill between your thigh and horse), but dizzy bat etc I’ve never heard. What are they?
                                Dizzy bat: (Timed event) - gallop length of arena, dismount and grab a baseball bat. Put your forehead on the end of the bat with the other end on the ground. Circle around the bat a specified number of times, keeping bat in contact with forehead and ground. Remount and gallop back to finish line. (YOU are the dizzy bat )

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                                • #17
                                  Some classes I remember from the UK:

                                  Relay jumping - jump a course, pass a whip to rider 2 who jumps course too. Fastest time/fewest penalties wins.

                                  Horse and Hound: ride a horse over the jump course,then pass the baton to person 2 who leads a dog over same course

                                  Bareback jumping class - no saddle!

                                  Chase me Charlie - one jump, whole class jumps it in turn, and each round jump gets higher (or narrower if you prefer) - any refusals or poles down and you're out.

                                  Simon says - commands are called out to the whole class, with "simon says" in front, like "simon says canter left lead" and those who can't follow the commands or follow commands without "Simon says" in front, are out.

                                  Pairs class: both horse and rider to look as identical as possible

                                  Best turned out: The class where clean and neat beats conformation and performance

                                  Family pony: members of same family all ride same horse demonstrating how kind and well trained it is

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                                  • #18
                                    We are way to competitive to have any real fun classes here. We do, however, have one jump and drive. I did it this summer with my friend riding my daughter pony. She had a bad season so wanted a good fun experience. Yup, pony rocked but friend forgot the change over and I was so scared I would stall out as I haven’t driven a stick in ages that we were by far the slowest round of the class🤣🤣

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                                    • #19
                                      Duplicate

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                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Texarkana View Post
                                        Not a “fun show” class, but when I was growing up, the Arabian shows used to always have ride & drive, .
                                        Welsh shows also. I loved that class when I could borrow a driving horse!
                                        Let me apologize in advance.

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