Fine Harness


Fine Harness showcases the elegance, animation, and high action of gaits in light breeds.

Judged On: Elegance and action. Gaits used are walk, trot, and “show your horse” strong trot. At the trot horse's knees should reach or break level (level meaning the forearm is parallel to the ground.) No other gaits are permitted.

Required Equipment: Fine harness style harness with a narrow breastcollar, single neck strap, traces, a small pad with terrets and cheek hook, shaft loops with overgirth or French tugs, back strap, crupper. Bridle with blinkers, snaffle bit, overcheck or sidecheck and lines. Breeching is not used. The harness is made to be as fine and unobtrusive as possible, as is the vehicle. Check different breeds below for variations.

Vehicle: Typical vehicles include 4 wheel fine harness buggies (side-bar buggy or road wagon), with wire wheels and a shallow flat body; the Viceroy, a smaller vehicle with 4 wire wheels and a curved frame, used with ponies; and "bikes" or wire wheeled carts with a basket or other lining for the driver's feet and two wheels; painted finish or wood varnished. Saddlebreds, Morgans and Arabs use 4 wheel carts or 2 wheeled bikes and ponies use with viceroys or bikes.

Optional: Running martingales. Browband, noseband and pad are often decorated with a fine line of color. Overcheck bits are separate; sidecheck bits are optionally separate.

Driver: Clothes should be neat. A whip with a short lash and gloves are used, but no lap robe. Men wear conservative saddle suits. Ladies may wear a saddle suit or a long dress. Evening attire for both sexes is formal and a skirt for ladies. Bare shoulders are considered inappropriate. One person may stand at the head while in the lineup but must stand 2 paces from the horse's head and must be attired with the standard dress code. No passengers or grooms in the vehicle.

Prohibited: Breeching on the harness. Martingales may not be used with a Liverpool bit. Vehicles inappropriate for the breed shown. Boots on any breed except Saddlebreds. Non-Fine Harness entries.

Extra Credit: Color of harness hardware matching the vehicle trim. Rolled patent leather elements on the harness. Hand loops at the end of reins.

Arab, Anglo-Arab: Must show with a 4 wheel cart.

Hackney Horse/Pony: Shown with a viceroy or side-wheel cart; must shown in a sidecheck with a Liverpool bit set at the half cheek.

Morgan: Shown with a full mane and natural tail, no ribbons or boots. May be shown in a Liverpool bit with a sidecheck (if driven in the half cheek) but no running martingale. Horse must be shown with a 4-wheel cart.

Saddlebreds: Shown with a full mane and set or unset tail, braided ribbons in the forelock and top of the mane. Quarter boots or bell boots are also used on the front legs. Saddlebreds are shown at the walk and the trot; they do not rack under harness. Vehicle is usually a small buggy with 4 wire wheels but without top.

Shetland Ponies: Shown with a sidecheck. High tail cruppers permitted. Shown without a martingale or boots, blinkers are round. Pony used with a viceroy.

Splash Dance, shown as a black tobiano NSH mare, is a CM Breyer NSH by VonMayr.
Shown by Andrea Robbins with the comment: Competing in a Fine Harness class.

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Updated: January 16, 2013