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Halter Class Attire Question

So I’m headed to a local show that has both english and western flat classes and a friend talked me into entering a halter class with her. My horse is not really a halter horse, so I have no expectation of bringing home a ribbon lol, but I want to be correct and not offend the judges. I’ll be showing in tall dress boots and a jacket the rest of the day, and my horse will be braided. But…I just got new tall boots, they are not broken in yet, and I really don’t want to do an in-hand class wearing the darn things. I have western show attire and a nice leather halter so could change into cowboy boots and jeans, but then my horse is braided instead of banded. Would that matter? The show’s rule book just says ‘the mane and forelock may be braided or banded for english or western’ but does not address the ‘mix n match’ approach.

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Hmmm…I would probably send a message to ask the show management, but would also think you’d be fine in western attire, halter & braids if you have the time to change clothes. (Personally, I think the super short banded manes on a lot of halter horses aren’t much longer than braids anyhow.) Everybody’s going to know why the combo. Wouldn’t bother me in the slightest.

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I would either wear the boots and braid or do the western attire and not braid. But that’s just me.

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I’ve shown with western attire and braids and have never been hurt in placings by doing so, in fact have won classes with my mare braided in the past.

You should be fine, go with the braids and western attire, unless your dress boots are more comfortable than your cowboy boots. :wink: I prefer to show halter in my western clothes.

You’re just doing this for fun after all, but practice standing your horse up and make sure it trots off beside you so you can relax more. It’s no fun having your horse decide not today when you go to trot off and you end up towing them like a kid with an ornery shetland pony.


I show my horse in halter (performance horse halter) and he usually wins. He’s been overall champion several times. I usually wear clean, crisp jeans and boots with a simple western shirt and hat. You’d be fine doing that even though your horse is in braids. A lot of all-around horses show English and western, and some of them are braided rather than banded. Their handlers are still wearing what I described in halter.

By the way, when I first started showing my horse in halter, I asked the same questions as you. A well known breeder and trainer sort of laughed and said that technically, I could wear my pajamas if I wanted, because the judge should only be looking at my horse. Needless to say, I would not go that far. :laughing:


Thanks all! If my tall boots are still threatening blisters next weekend, I’ll plan on swapping to western attire and going in with my horse braided. Paint_Party you make a good point- surely some people will be showing the same horse in both Western and English classes and will almost have to be ‘incorrect’ for one of them.


100% fine to wear western clothing and braided. In fact, if you were at a breed show such as AQHA we are not allowed to wear hunt seat attire so all of the hunt seat horses in performance halter have to be shown with a halter and western clothing. And there is no way most of us will unbraid, band, and rebraid for one class unless it is the world show or


As a former judge, I agree w @Paint_Party. In halter classes I never considered what the handler wore–judging was strictly on the horse.

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As another poster mentioned, for a HALTER class, the judge really cares less about what the handler is wearing. It’s all about the horse.

It’s fine if your horse is braided. I’ve shown local shows where they have halter and/or showmanship after the English classes. I usually do a running braid for my horse’s natural manes for the English classes and sometimes I do not have time to take it out before going into the ring for the Western in-hand classes. Double check your rules but usually there aren’t any rules against braiding.

You’ll be fine. Have fun!

it would be appropriate to show an English horse is clean running shoes and pants instead of tall boots.

You won’t offend a judge as long as you are dressed cleanly, but a judge may judge your horse’s suitability/type based on how you present them. Ignoring the braids (because they will understand why you are braided), if you are in a western outfit and a halter, they will be expecting a western suitable horse. If you are showing in a bridle they will be expecting a more english suitable horse.

Just remember don’t wear spurs when showing halter. Most rules forbid them (tripping hazard I think?) and if you are showing a mare or stallion, practice showing the teeth in case you are asked.