Virtual Gradings 2020

Presenting your horse for virtual assessment does not have to be daunting. Follow our easy step-by-step guide to find out what kind of footage we need. 

1. The Soundness and Conformation Assessment

This part of the evaluation needs to be carried out on hard standing. Try and find somewhere level, with plenty of room to be able to show your horse from all sides and a straight and level bit of ground for walking and trotting up. 

1.1 Conformation

To assess the conformation of your horse, we need to see him or her side on from both sides, and straight from the front and from the back. Make sure that in this video, we see the entire horse, including the legs and feet. You might need a bit of patience for your horse to settle. The evaluators can pause the video at the points they need to see, so don't worry if your horse does not stand still for very long. 

We made this example video to show how you can wait for your horse to settle, and which angles we need to see:

1.2 Correctness of Walk and Trot

For this section, we need to see your horse walking and trotting away from and towards the camera. Make sure you keep your horse going in as straight a line as possible, and keep his or her head straight and as still as possible. 

We have made this little video to show you what we need to see:


 

2. Movement Assessment on a Soft Surface

Next, we need to evaluate the gaits of your horse. For this section, you need either an arena, or a piece of level, mowed paddock. If you choose a paddock, you might find it useful to limit the space in size, to make it easier to manage. Think about getting as much footage from the side as possible, and try and film as much as possible with the sun behind you. 

2.1 The Walk

The walk can be shown in hand or loose, whichever you prefer. Showing the walk in hand has the advantage that you have some control of the speed, but you need to make sure not to create tension, so you need to lead your horse on a loose rein or lead rope, avoiding dragging or pulling. You might want to take some footage of the walk at the beginning of your video session, and at the end. Some horses walk better at the end, when they have loosened up a little in the trot and canter, others show themselves better at the beginning. 

We have made a little video to illustrate and explain what we are looking for in the walk:

2.2 Trot and Canter

The trot can be show in hand or loose (or both), and the canter will obviously have to be shown loose. You may need a bit of patience as your youngster settles for this part of the evaluation. We are looking for natural movement, so your horse need to be encouraged to relax and move with positivity and confidence. Avoid chasing, as that creates tension, and instead encourage your horse gently to keep moving. If you decide to show the trot loose, you might find your horse showing i mixture of trot and canter. As long as we get enough footage of both, that is absolutely fine. We have made a little video showing how you allow your horse to settle and move with confidence.