Posted on Friday, August 2, 2013 by Heather Dodd
There’s nothing quite like the atmosphere of a horse show; oft times they are golden days which are etched in the memory for a lifetime. But now there are new kids on the block in the form of video and photo shows and the concept has growing appeal for those who cannot attend events in person. CHN looks at the rise of online photo horse show, and asked participants of two popular sites why they love taking part in them.
But first, what is a photo show? Jem Plester of www.photo-shows.co.uk explains how her site came about and what it offers.
On an Idle Tuesday in March 2010, I was musing the fact I could not get my two horses to a show. Sadly this was a difficult point in my life and marred by illness taking the horses out was impossible. Whilst competing is most definitely not the be all and end all for me, I do enjoy taking them to shows.
I realised I must not be the only one who felt like this and that there must be many people who would enjoy showing their horses and getting a rosette but may not be able to for many reasons. So I set about thinking what I could do.
PSO was created in April 2010 with our first show held a month later from humble beginnings on an internet forum. It was not easy convincing people to trust a complete stranger. After a couple of months we set up a website and PSO had gone from strength to strength, with a fantastic community of members.
One of my main focuses was to ensure people were winning rosettes they would be proud of, I work with a fantastic designer and feel that our rosettes rival those of most top shows. I know our competitors absolutely love them and I adore seeing the photos of our happy winners. We also have fantastic sponsors that regularly donate prizes so should you win a class you could be winning, a new browband, vouchers or even a rug.
We try to provide a great range of classes to suit everyone, from Best Turned Out to Muddy Marvels, you should be able to find a class to suit, whether you have a hairy shetland or a shiney show horse.
We aim to have a fun and relaxed atmosphere and it’s great to see the fellow competitors congratulating each other on their successes and offering support and advice. This to me is one of the main reasons PSO is so popular – the sense of community.
We also have a fantastic website which is completely automated, meaning any competitor can simply register and enter without having to wait for someone to upload the photo for them. They can also view all of the current and past entries.
Classes cost £3 to enter, which offers real value for money, especially when you consider the prizes on offer. We also run free classes every month, one of which is a ‘Horse/Pony of the Month’ where competitors can nominate their horse for the award by telling the team why they should win.
Our judges are fantastic. Many of them are industry professionals and they are always on hand to offer feedback and advice. And when waiting for the results I often think it’s more exciting than a real show….I’m surprised some people haven’t worn out their ‘refresh’ button!
We run classes every month starting on the 1st and closing 10pm on the last day of the month.
Our philosophy is simple; just because you are unable to compete, don’t have a champion show horse, or lack the time doesn’t mean you and your horse can’t be in the ribbons. Compete from the comfort of your armchair against competitors around the world and look forward to the postman bringing your prizes.
You don’t need to take Jem’s word for it. We asked members of her site and another highly popular photo shows site, Horse Shows Online for their comments.
Heidi Twiggy Dickason I have a horse I can longer compete with due to tendon injury and this still allows me to compete and is still as exciting as actually competing
Claire Sanders There’s no stress or pressure, and no transport required. It’s just fun and it doesn’t matter which country you and your horse are from.
Charity Photo-shows I love the fact that any horse can compete. None are too scruffy, or too small for example. You get great feedback from the judges, and amazing rosettes delivered by the postman.
Henri Senn No early mornings, no worries about the weather, no panicking over muddy horses, no stress trying to reverse the trailer! And stunning rosettes, together with a super bunch of people who enter and admire each others’ horses. My daughter enters HSO regularly with our horse; it’s a really friendly competition. Some months they do brilliantly, some not so well, but it’s always fun.
Susanne Woodward I love being able to compete without the trauma of boxing up as my horse is now a really bad traveller. It’s very well organised and the sponsors play an active part and provide really practical and lovely prizes. The rosettes are superior quality which is an added bonus. Everyone seems really nice, friendly and supportive too.
Lindsey Collins I love to be able to compete with no transport needed. Lovely rosettes and prizes, and a wide range of horses and ponies competing.
Jill Hackett HSO has given me the chance to compete my old boy until he left us when we would never had been able to take him to a real show as the stress would have been to much for him. It kept him going and he enjoyed all the fuss getting ready for a picture and when he won a rosette he was so proud and enjoyed all the extra fuss he would receive from others at the yard. The last rosettes he won were HSO. He was entered the day he died and these are especially cherished. It has given us such happy memories of the last few years of his life.
Helen Gibbs HSO gives me the opportunity to continue to show my horse now she is semi-retired and have some fun. Oh, and the rosettes are excellent quality.
Bethann Smith We have no local English shows where I am located and I’ve no one to ride with. Photo shows give me an opportunity to connect with others of the same interest with everyday experiences like funny horse faces and best friends. Most are here to have fun and not out-do each other. The price is reasonable and I can now say I and my horse compete internationally!
Rebecca Gore There are absolutely wonderful rosettes and photo shows give those who can’t compete for whatever reason, the opportunity to show off their wonderful horses. There is a real sense of community and everyone is friendly and supportive.
Helen Southwell HSO means I am able to compete while I’m away at uni, and it’s so much more affordable than the riding offered around here.
Jennie Peacock personally I prefer photo-shows as there are some great prizes to be won.
Emma Petty I personally think both HSO and PSO are fab, and both shows have lovely prizes and work hard to ensure the shows run smoothly and efficiently. Also, having several online shows means there is a wider range of classes for everyone to enjoy.
Em May My veteran horse is past his days of competing now by around 10 years. Competing him with other horses at PSO is a great way to show him off to the world and add some more rosettes to his collection. He often competes in condition classes due to being in great shape for his age. My biggest horse is pretty unique coloured, and often there aren’t many classes that suit him in local competitions. As he’s currently out of the showing ring, competing with PSO means he’s up against other horses from around the world and judged by some seriously great judges. He can win rosettes for his well known faces as well as his paces.