live show is a huge undertaking, demanding much from a host
financially, emotionally, and mentally. A host must wear many hats,
which can be tricky at times, even for the best of them. To help
manage this, try to make your live show as organized as possible and
also abide by the “Three C’s” (Consistency, Cohesion and Consequence),
The show policies, codes, rules and regulations are thought out,
well developed and written in concise, clear language, leaving
little room for misinterpretation. Such information should clearly
outline the consequences for those not honoring these stipulations,
particularly on issues of sportsmanship. Make sure everyone in
attendance understands that honoring such requirements is a
condition of participation, such as having a clause on a signed
entry form alerting entrants to this. And, lastly, ensuring that
said stipulations are enforced consistently throughout the show and
equally for each attendee.
Everyone is accountable to these stipulations and also helps to
ensure others adhere to them, too.
If an attendee chooses to ignore the stipulations, consequences are
in place and are promptly enacted by the host. This can include
being asked to change behaviors and make apologies and reparations,
or being asked to leave the show, with or without refund. A host
should also share information about chronic offenders with other
hosts, because, remember, it’s a host’s first obligation to protect
showers from those who are chronically unpleasant, poor sports, or
threatening. Absolutely, there is no overriding concern that should
put other showers in harm’s way or be forced to endure unacceptable
circumstances. Note: If your show is a NAMHSA member
show, it's a good idea to discuss acceptable consequences with your
Regional Representative to ensure your member status.
And hosts, please also
remember these other concerns:
Hall Layout and General
tables should be set up in a straightforward and easy-to-access
plan. Make sure the show tables are clearly and properly
identified, so that any shower in the hall can view and understand
this identification. Be sure your judges are clear on this
identification as well.
set up the exhibitor tables in a straightforward and
easy-to-access plan, making sure that tables aren’t too close
together, won’t box anyone in, or block (partially or not) any
necessary doorways, aisles or emergency exits. In short, ensure
each table has adequate space, even if that means reducing or
limiting your attendance.
consider having one announcer for the entire show so entrants can
tune into one voice and be better able to distinguish important
announcements over the usual noise of the show. This also helps to
reduce crowding at the podium or jockeying for the microphone as
judges try to announce information.
website is created for the show, it’s important to keep it current
and also to provide a show packet download or information on
receiving one. It should also have current contact information.
packets should contain all the required information and be
detailed, clear and organized.
all advertised particulars and bulletins without fail.
procure good judges since they are your “selling point”. If you
wish, you can also allow judges-in-training to shadow experienced
ones, if acceptable to the judges.
potential confusion or questions regarding appropriate classes for
certain breeds, colors and performance set-ups and formulate clear
policies about them for the show. Be sure showers and judges are
also clear on these policies since it can be stressful when the
rules say one thing, and the judge inadvertently decides another!
At the Show:
each shower warmly, and offer each one your hospitality.
the judges to the showers, perhaps along with staff members, too.
seek feedback from showers and judges during the show, and make
meaningful changes based on that feedback. Remember, the show is
for the showers and they are your “customers”. If you want a
successful show, tailor it to their needs.
early to set up the hall, allowing it to start smoothly on time.
So if you advertise that doors open at 7am, do it and have things
ready to go.
the arrangement and timetable of classes and divisions, and do not
switch them at the show.
show and classes moving along to adhere to any timetables or
avoid last-minute changes in your choice of judges and their
assignments. It’s very stressful to a shower who may have brought
entries tailored to the advertised judge.
If a code,
rule, regulation, policy or timetable is advertised, it’s
important to consistently enforce it.
class rules unfailingly and make sure the judges enforce them in
tandem. For example, if the rules require no halters in the Custom
division, make sure your judges disqualify all those wearing
halters. Likewise, if rules require the costume class be free of
props, make sure your judges disqualify those entries with them.
In short, everyone should be made to follow the rules equally.
before a class is closed, please allow showers the opportunity to
fix an entry if it’s a simple, quick fix. For example, if a model
is required to have a show tag, and a shower accidentally forgot
it, please allow the opportunity to provide one before
disqualifying that entry.
tolerate inappropriate behavior and bad sportsmanship for any
reason, from anyone. Please enforce the advertised consequences in
a timely manner to maintain the integrity of the show
reasonable series of planned breaks, such as lunch or dinner
breaks, and stick to them as closely as possible.
for your judges with such things as meals, beverages, breaks and,
if possible, travel and lodging expenses.
the showers with water or other beverages, if possible, or choose
a hall with a water fountain or soda machine.
show hall with accessible, clean, functioning bathrooms and with
easy access from the parking lot into the show hall.
good reference materials on breeds, colors, tack or performance for
showers or judges to refer to throughout the day. Specialized breed
books are the best source, although they may be impractical if space
judges and helpers about how the awards are to be handed out and
necessary things, such as NAN cards and awards, are organized for
judges and ready to be distributed.
Be sure your
announcer(s) are well versed in how the show and classes will run
throughout the day. It’s also a nice gesture to provide your
announcer(s) with water and throat lozenges, as needed.
it’s a nice gesture to provide your judges with rolling office
chairs to allow them to “sit n’ roll” to judge, instead of
continually being bent over and on their feet all day
and Sponsors: Donated items include door prizes, awards, auction
items or any other piece of property offered to support or promote
the show. And because these items are often provided by a donor’s
generosity, it’s important to keep that thoughtfulness in mind. If
you have a sponsorship program for awards, classes or divisions,
extend to sponsors the same courtesies and recognition you would to
donors. It’s also imperative to practice the following:
stick to your prize list, to include door prizes, donations,
raffle items or any such items.
paramount at a show to recognize and acknowledge people who
donated items to your show, whether auction times, door prizes,
raffle items, etc. Sending Thank You notes to donors is also good
do the same for your sponsors. And don’t forget to mention
sponsors and their sponsorships at appropriate times throughout
any donated items for yourself! These items are for the showers,
and absolutely not for you.
alter donated items! They must be awarded in the very same
condition they were when sent to you. This also means never
changing an item’s information, such as signatures or other
identifying marks, or certificate details.
switch donated items!
donated items safe from damage! It’s poor form to allow donations
to become damaged or lost due to negligence.
have to cancel a show, return all donations in a timely manner, in
the same condition they were when sent to you. Do not sell them,
hold onto them for next year, or otherwise distribute them. They
are not your property and the donors will expect them to be
mail out results in a timely manner. Be sure they’re clearly
written, complete and organized.
judges and staff with gifts or Thank You notes.
as the host. This includes being groomed and dressed in attire
befitting the position and perhaps wearing a pin or badge with
your name and title on it.
professional, organized, courteous and confident and have the
positive skills of leadership and problem solving.
important to respond to questions or issues in a timely manner, so
don’t procrastinate with this task.
from impatience, curtness or rudeness when responding to emails or
phone calls. It can turn away a potential entrant, making him/her
feel unwanted or less prone to ask legitimate questions as well.
pins or badges to your judges with “Judge” on it, to identify them
to showers and staff.
provide pins or badges to your staff with “Staff” on it, to
identify them to showers and judges.
rotate judges in your region, or import them, to keep your show
back poor judges, no matter how hard up you may be for a judge.
attentive to the needs and growth of your showing community. If
possible, consider offering specialty classes such as “Custom by
Owner” or “Vintage Models”. Or consider adding entirely new
divisions, such as “Amateur Owner”, “Youth”, or “Custom Glaze”.
nice idea to organize a get-together the evening before or after
the show to nurture camaraderie.
good idea to spend the extra fee to become a NAMHSA member
fee schedule that is sympathetic to a small number of entries.
thank your judges, staff and showers for their participation and
patronage, before and after the show
staff is an extension of the host, professional, polite and
responsible behavior is expected at all times, even in unpleasant
situations. This includes, the following:
Show up on
time and be ready to do the job at hand.
as the staff, and wear any identifying pin or badge the host
and dressed in attire befitting the position.
a complement to the host, and work with diligence and reliability.
uphold all rules, regulations, timelines and codes of the show,
including the enforcement of proper behavior of all attendees. For
example, put a stop to dangerous behavior (often by children) such
as running in the hall or rough housing, make sure showers are
careful around the show tables or remind folks not to take too long
setting up their entries, etc.
Seek to help
all showers, particularly newbies.
in their duties, when necessary.
Help to set
up before the show and clean up after the show.
Usually a live
show has other folks present who are not active showers, such as
spouses, family members, friends, and visitors. These attendees are
welcome and can add to the show’s enjoyment. Really, it can be fun to
chat with someone who may have a whole different perspective on the
day and has interests outside of model horses.
these folks are bound by the same tenants of etiquette as showers are,
and are expected as well to comply with the rules, policies,
regulations and codes of the live show. This includes etiquette
pertaining to children and pets.
Rare is the
youngster who can remain quiet, calm and courteous at a table during
an all-day adult indoor event such as a busy live show. And rare is
the parent who realizes this. Really, youngsters would be happier
elsewhere. Too often, curious children of whatever age want to touch
and pick up the often expensive collections and things on the tables,
or want to play with another shower’s pet, or want to run around and
make noise and play rough to burn off energy. An undisciplined,
frustrated child is an annoying distraction to the tone of the show,
and will cause concern among the showers for the safety of their
collections on display. Each live show may have different policies
regarding the attendance and behavior of children and you as parent
are obligated to abide by them. Prior to a show, be sure to check with
the host about the policy. If you must bring along children, remember
you are responsible for them and their behavior and actions, including
damage to people’s property.
Some things to
consider regarding children you bring to an adult event:
child must be attended at all times and will not be allowed to
wander the show hall and among the tables without supervision, for
any reason. This includes groups of children as well.
expect your neighbors at the show to baby sit your child at any
time. Instead, bring along an adult with you to watch the child if
you must leave for awhile.
may not touch, grab, take or pick up anyone else’s property
without supervision and the permission of the owner.
Unacceptable behaviors include running, rough play, yelling, and
creating a general annoyance.
welcome are balloons, balls, roller skates, bats, large or noisy
toys, loud music players, and other things that could endanger
property or person or be an annoyance.
makes a legitimate complaint about your child’s behavior or your
lack of considerate supervision, consider their point of view and
comply with any requests made by your fellow attendees and the
host. If compliance is not possible, be prepared to remove the
child from the hall.
safety, small children should be kept out of the way before and
after a show, during the hustle and bustle of set-up and packing
up to leave. If possible, they can play outside with supervision.
do not allow them and it is wise to ask the host about pets before
attending a show. Similar to bringing a child, you are responsible
for the pet’s actions, including injury and damage to people’s
If you are allowed to
bring your pet, keep in mind these considerations:
thoughtful to the allergy concerns of your neighbors.
should be clean, quiet and well behaved.
must be attended and supervised at all times and will not be
allowed to roam the hall at will.
cage or kennel is an ideal enclosure for your pet during the show
if you must leave a pet unattended for awhile.
should be well socialized to people of all ages and to other pets,
and not be perceived as dangerous or threatening at any time.
should be kept out of the way of your neighbors, and not take up
aisle space or neighbors’ table space, including under their
expected to comply with the rules, policies, regulations and codes
of the show, and conduct themselves in a manner acceptable to the
show’s host and staff. Vendors are also expected to comply with all
requests made by the host in a timely, polite manner.
There may come
a time when you have a legitimate concern that needs to be addressed.
The host and staff may be able to improve a situation, but only if
made aware of it.
legitimate concern may be the hall’s environment: The temperature
is uncomfortable, the sun is blinding through the windows, the
tables are too close together, more chairs are needed, tobacco
smoke is wafting in from the outside, the bathrooms are locked,
the water fountain does not function, etc.
legitimate concern may be an attendee’s behavior, whatever the
age: The conduct poses a danger, it lacks good sportsmanship, it
creates a loud or unruly annoyance, it fails to comply with the
show’s rules, it disrespects personal property, it fails to
address a neighbor’s complaint, etc.
legitimate concern may be a judge’s methods: The judge is not
reading documentation, is ignoring bay horses, is placing illegal
performance entries, is disregarding the quality of all entries,
is otherwise engaging in behavior uncharacteristic of a good
judge. No one likes a whiner and poor sport, yet there are times
when a judge does exhibit obvious unfairness.
Insufficient reason for complaint would be unhappiness because
your entries are not doing as well as you had hoped.
Procedure for handling a legitimate complaint:
diplomatically bring your concern to the host’s attention and give
your clear examples and reasons. Your quiet approach can prevent
an unpleasant situation from becoming worse. Do not whine or
become unpleasant about the situation.
cannot know about your dissatisfaction with a show unless you
provide that information, so fill out the survey/evaluation
sheets, if provided. If not provided, write a courtesy note to the
host on your issues, particularly if you believe some judging was
questionable. Be sure to inform the host of the good judges, too,
since that is important information for the following year.
important a host understand that the selection of judges has a
negative or positive impact on attendance. If you choose not to
attend a show because you believe the hired judge is questionable,
please discreetly inform the host.
is the host’s primary responsibility to protect the showers and it
is the staff’s responsibility to support the host in that task. As a
condition of attendance, you must follow the rules, regulations,
policies and codes of the live show, as well as practice good
sportsmanship. If you choose to ignore them, you may be asked to
Remember: We are human and we all make mistakes and misjudgments
from time to time. It is important to learn from an unhappy incident
and to let go when amends have been made.
Be A Thoughtful
courtesies are easy to practice that also encourage a positive
atmosphere. Sometimes it is the little things, too, that make a big
difference, such as:
nametag! If one is not provided, make or bring your own. Put your
stable or studio name on it too.
If you live
close to the show hall, it is considerate to offer assistance to the
host with such tasks as helping to set up tables and chairs, lay out
the awards, set up the microphone, clean up after the show, etc.
your exhibitor or vendor tables before you leave and dispose of
unwanted packing materials yourself in the appropriate way.
If you can,
it’s thoughtful to help clean up after a show, such as putting away
the tables and chairs, clean up the garbage, collect all show
considerate to a tired staff. Pack up quickly and leave if you are
not helping to clean up after a show.
appropriate for both judges and showers to support a mutual respect
for the time, money, and effort that was invested in their
attendance at the show.
yourself in a way that allows others to be proud of sharing their
chosen creative efforts with you.
above all, remember: Never forget to have fun! So smile and let
everyone see you are having a wonderful time!
attends a live show wants an enjoyable experience with happy memories
and a sense of community. This is essential not just for personal
reasons, but also for the future success of live showing. In that
light, the priority ought not to be competition, but the positive
atmosphere that fosters fun, happy relationships and a welcoming
community. With that in mind, may your live show experience be full of
laughter, learning and likeable people!