What happens on the Tour?
Why get assessed?
You will receive an independent assessment from an internationally recognised expert assessor who will provide a score that can be compared both nationally and internationally. The National Tour assessor has viewed many thousands of horses and as an FN Judge, is an expert in this field.
The assessment will provide owners and breeders with valuable feedback from a very experienced assessor which can be used for quality control in breeding programs and to help you to achieve your own breeding goals also provide an indication of the suitability of the horse for performance and future breeding purposes.
Always keep in mind that the assessment is just that, an assessment for a short period of time on the day. Your foal may have a growth spurt just before your scheduled day or your 2 year old colt might be so excited with the new environment around him, that he just won't show himself of in a relaxed manner. The assessor can only evaluate what is before him on that day. If the assessment does not go to plan, owners are always encouraged to represent the horse on a future Tour.
How do I present my horse?
The horse should be clean and tidy.
Plaiting is optional but preferred if possible. You are trying to present your horse in it’s best possible light.
Do not plait the tail.
Hooves may be oiled but not blackened.
Handler must wear appropriate footwear and should also be clean and tidy. A good pair of pants or joddies and neat polo type shirt is more than acceptable.
Riders must also wear neat and tidy apparel plus an approved helmet and boots.
Bandages/boots may be used in the jumping phase of the assessment only.
Ensure that the reins/lead can be removed quickly from the bridle/halter for the free movement and jumping phases.
If you are considering booking your horse in for the National Tour, the following guidelines may help you to understand what is expected and what the Assessor is looking for.
The assessor will talk to owners following each assessment and explain the reasons behind his scoring and comments, always remembering that the horses and ponies are being assessed in line with an international standard.
In the conformation inspection, the horse should be relaxed, happy in his surroundings and standing still so that his conformation can be scored.
The assessor wants to see a horse showing a good free walk with over-tracking and swing. Owners should ensure that their horse is educated to walk in hand with a relatively long rein and most importantly, forward and in a straight line.
When the horse is assessed for his free movement, he will be scored on his trot and canter. It is recommended that your horse is experienced and comfortable in attending new venues and is easy to catch. The free movement section provides the assessor with the best view of the movement so it is advantageous to put in some practice at liberty prior to the assessment day. Ensure the horse is used to being loose in an arena or small paddock with a number of people moving around him to encourage trot and canter.
If you choose to have your horse assessed free jumping, the assessment is carried out in a lane with two to three jumps. If you don’t normally jump your horse you will need to put in a good amount of practice in the weeks leading up to the assessment date. The horse must be completely familiar with free jumping and a handler running the jump and catching him at the end. The horse is stopped after each circuit in order to raise the jumps – they do not start at the highest level. In free jumping the assessors want to see the horse's willingness to jump plus his scope and bascule.
If you normally jump your horse under saddle but are not confident in riding him over a reasonable sized oxer or similar obstacle, then it is recommended that you free jump the horse instead. There is no penalty for doing this as there are many horses that can jump far higher than their riders are sometimes willing to take them!
In the ridden assessment, it is recommended that the horse be educated to at least a Novice level of education. Older and more experienced horses are expected to have a higher level of education. The assessor wants to see good, even forward movement in the trot and canter with a horse that looks both trainable and rideable.
The horse must show good swing through the back and looseness in the movement. A good medium walk and a free walk on a long rein is extremely important and is marked accordingly. The assessor wants to see a horse that CAN walk with good over track and lowering of the head and neck, and with a relaxed demeanor. The actual workout is carried out in a rectangular pattern with changes of rein, as in a dressage arena.
Foals presented for assessment are not led in hand. The foal is assessed while running loose beside the dam.