British Equine Collectors' Forum

For All British Model Horse Collectors

Postal Showing

Postal Showing is the simplest kind of showing in which a model horse can take part. 

The term 'showing' is used here to cover a wide variety of show and performance events, but the key factor with any event labelled 'postal' is that the placings are decided by a random factor such as throwing dice. 

Unlike photo or live showing, what the model looks like is completely irrelevant.  Thus in postal shows, models of all makes can compete against one another on an even footing, and even compete against Details Only or DO's - details which have not yet got a body. 

Postal shows are easy to enter and to hold, and so are enduringly popular.

Entering a Postal Show

Most of this is common sense, but there are just a few points to note:

  • Read the schedule and entry instructions carefully so that you don't enter any horses in classes for which they are not eligible. Take note of the maximum number of entries permitted per class and don't exceed it.  Write out your entries clearly on a sheet of paper, making sure you include all the information asked for on the schedule. List your entries in order, under class headings.
  • Even if regulations are not stated explicitly on the schedule, try to keep your entries within the bounds of reality!  Heavy Horses are not normally found in Ridden Hunter classes or Shetlands in Open Jumping.  On a more mundane level, don't enter any horse under 4 years old in a Ridden class and don't enter a mare with foal at foot either.

  • Remember to write on your entry sheet your name and address, or send a note with it, so the show-holder knows who you are!  Send your entries off with the appropriate entry fee and ALWAYS remember to enclose an SSAE - large if specified on the schedule.  Avoid sending cash for your entry fees if at all possible, but if there is no alternative, tape it inside a folded piece of card, so that it can neither rub a hole in the envelope nor easily be detected.

Holding a Postal Show

Decide on your schedule and set it out neatly on your advertisement to go in a magazine or circulate to your friends. Don't have too many classes unless you have plenty of time to hold them - they're more time-consuming than you might think. Try to put together a sensible schedule based on the kind of show you want to hold. This may be an in hand show with classes for all popular breeds; or a show just for one breed, with classes for different sexes and age groups; or a show with ridden and performance classes as well; or perhaps a show consisting entirely of different showjumping competitions.  It's up to you.  You'll get a good idea of what to include by reading other schedules. Classes which are too open (e.g. In hand Stallion, any breed) will get too many entries; too restrictive (Hanoverian mare 5-7 years old, with foal at foot) are likely to get too few.

Set out all rules and conditions of entry with your schedule, e.g. whether certain classes are for models of a specific age, sex or height.  If you use terms like 'novice', 'beginner' etc, be sure to define them fully.  Does Novice mean a model that has never won a First, never been placed, or what?  Or does it refer to the owner, e.g. owners who've been in the hobby for less than two years?  Do make it clear to entrants.

Remember to specify what details you want people to include for each model.  Try not to make this too lengthy, or people will get tired of writing them out.  Limit it to information that you might use to split the class if there are too many entries.  For instance, you might split an in hand class by breed, age or sex, but it might make more sense to split a jumping class by height.

Decide on the entry fee you're going to charge, if any, and include it on your schedule.  The fee will depend on what you're providing: if you are sending just personal results, you might not need to charge a fee at all apart from an SAE.  If you're doing full results, as is more usual, the fee will have to cover the cost of photocopying them.  Should you decide to provide ribbons, trophies etc., see how much they cost and divide it by the number of entrants you think you might get. (If bought commercially these can be very expensive, so many people prefer to give them only at large photo or live shows).  If you're holding a benefit show, try to set a reasonable entry fee which will raise a suitable amount for the magazine or charity concerned.  You might like to vary the entry fee depending on the number of entries, as a flat rate can be harsh on someone with just a few models.

It's a good idea to collate your entries as they arrive for the show; it will give you less to do on the day.  Dedicate a note pad, exercise book or ring binder to the show and allow a separate page for each class, writing down each entry on the appropriate page.

There are several possible methods of judging the show.  The easiest and most popular is by throwing dice and recording the score for each horse - the one with the most points is the winner.  If you use 2 or 3 dice you won't have to do so many tie-breakers between models.  Other methods include writing each name on a scrap of paper and drawing them out of a hat, or closing your eyes and sticking a pin into the page.  Programming your computer to generate a random number for each horse is another possibility, providing you have the necessary know how!

If you are having championships, work out which class winners are going forward to which championships.  The normal method of running a championship is for the winners of the eligible classes to compete for Champion, then when the Champion is chosen, the horse which came second to it in its class 'comes forward' and competes against the rest of the winners for Reserve Champion.  Similarly, for the Supreme Championship, the Champions compete for Supreme, and then the Reserve to the one that is chosen comes forward to compete with the other Champions for Reserve Supreme.

When all the judging is done, write or type out the personal results for everyone OR write/type out your full results and get them photocopied.  (Many people prefer full results - especially if any entry fee has been charged.) Remember to include numbers of models entered for each class: being tenth in a class of fifty is better than being tenth in a class that might only have had ten in it! 

Now send the results out to your entrants, together with any rosettes or prizes they've won.  Try to get results sent out within a week or so of the show date, it's not fair to keep people waiting too long.

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Picture shows: OF Breyer Circus Ponies - owned by M Keefe