Fresian In Hand Showing


I have bought a 7 month old friesian colt and have entered him in the pta show.. the problem is i have no idea how in hand showing works! he can trot next to me reasonably well, walk and after a few seconds of tugging he does halt... has anyone got any tips on how to refine his training and advice on techniques that i can use because right now its the classic "follow the carrot" technique thats proving to be most effective but i guess the judges wont like that very much.. bottom line- what should i be training him and how?


Congratulations on getting what I am sure is going to be a horse that will bring you plenty of pleasure and hours of fun. Having worked with many Fresians before, I have developed a bit of a soft spot for them. They are easily trained, hungry to please and they still have plenty of spunk! I have always been amazed at the types of things those horses could be taught and how easily they form strong bonds with their owners.

My worst moment with a Friesian at a showing show was when my recently backed young Friesian boy decided at his very first show that all this clean and shiny nonsense was for the birds and decided to roll in the middle of the in-hand class! I could only stand there miserably and wish the ground would swallow us whole! Fortunately, the grass was soft and green and the judges were busy with the other horses so he got up, I dusted him off and we went on to come second in that class and reserve champion for the show. What I am trying to say is that even if your worst nightmare is realized in the middle of a class, you still never know how things will go and after that you can laugh about it and never forget it! Don’t let your nerves get the better of you and enjoy it no matter what!

The way that Friesians are shown in hand in Society Fresian Classes is basically as follows:


Neat Khaki Long pants that cover the ankle(you could wear a long khaki skirt of you wanted to – might be in the way when you run though!) with a White collar shirt and Khaki Cap. What is preferred is the official Society shirt and tie with their emblem on. You may not wear any clothes that advertise a stud, for example, and the Handler and his/her Assistant (should there be one) must be dressed the same. The emphasis must be on neatness and presenting a professional image.

Your number must be pinned neatly to your back and must be A5 sized.

Your Horse:

The focus is on a healthy, good looking individual that is a proud ambassador of the breed. Feet must be neatly trimmed, hair under the chin/jaw and excess hair under the stomach may be trimmed neatly. I have also noted that some Friesians have had their ears neatly trimmed of excess hair however the rulebook does not say anything about it being allowed or not.
The horse may be shown in a halter if he is under 12 months, and for horses over 12 months, a bridle is used. The halter may be black, brown or white. White presents best.
Basic show turnout does apply here – things like polishing hooves, face makeup and things like that to improve the appearance of your colt.


Horses are judged from the moment they enter the arena. Normally, horses enter in an anti-clockwise direction at a trot and line up facing the pavilion or where the judge is standing. Normally, judges are very good at tlling you what they expect so that everyone knows what to do. What usually happens is that one by one, the competitors walk towards the judge, halt and present their horse. You will then be asked to walk away from the judge, trot in an anti-clockwise direction past the spectators and return to the line. Sometimes, a triangle is set up to help competitors, and the horse will walk and trot along the triangle. The judge will tell you what he prefers. Each horse may have a maximum of 2 handlers in the arena, although you might not need an extra handler if your colt is well schooled. If you would like to use a crop of sorts, a neat crop of approximately 1m should do.

I hope that helps you a bit. In terms of schooling, your young horse should be performing walk, trot and halt on your command. His shoulder should be in line with your shoulder and he should be able to quietly stand in the que with other horses (often the most difficult part of the class!) as the judging may take some time. Try to position yourself near the front of the que when lining up so that your horse is judged sooner as he may get difficult if he has to wait a long time and that may spoil your individual judging later on.

If you are going to be doing normal SANEF showing in –hand classes, things are a little different, so do let me know!

Also, you might want to get in touch with the friendly folks at the Society, who can direct you in terms of clothing, halters and more tips.
Call them on 051-4302456 or

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