A live model horse show is an event hosted by a fellow hobbyist, often held in a village hall or similar venue. Entrants pay an entry fee, and in return get to bring their models along for a day out!
In many ways, model horse shows are very similar to their real-life counterparts. There are Breed classes, which cover a vast range of real-life horse breeds - and often fantasy is also included, so get those unicorns and pegasus ready! In breed classes, much like in the real horse world, models will be judge on their ABC's (ie. Anatomy, Biomechanics & Conformation) and how well they represent the breed they are shown as. Condition of the model will also be taken into account, as well as how 'well-groomed' it is (no one likes a dusty dirty horse). Tack is generally discouraged and frowned upon in Breed classes, but some show holders do not mind the occasional head collar or stallion set, as it is appreciated that these can be a pain to remove.
Additionally, some live shows may have what we refer to as a Performance division. This is an opportunity for the creative, ambitious and/or patient amongst you to get to work on some set-ups and dioramas! Within Performance, models are shown under saddle and depicting a particular discipline, and in the UK riders are also compulsory. There will often be classes to cover a variety of English, Western, and rest-of-world disciplines, so be creative!
The final division sometimes seen at live shows is Workmanship, in which the classes are defined by a horse's colour (black, bay, grey, chestnut, roan etc.). In workmanship only models that have been painted by an artist may be shown - which usually means you'll see customs, and artist resins/chinas only. Models will be judged on the quality, condition and realism of their overall workmanship.
There are often placings up to 6th place in all classes, and each division will probably have its own championship, with trophies, rosettes and/or other prizes. Finally, there will often be a big championship at the end of the day, where the champions of each division compete for the title of Supreme Champion.
How do i qualify my model horses for BMECS?
BMECS is a championship show, and as the name implies, this means that horses must qualify in order to enter. In order to be eligible for entry, a horse must have won a BMECS ticket at a BMECS Qualifier Show. A model will be granted a BMECS ticket when it places 1st or 2nd in its class at a Qualifier Show.
A horse that has qualified for BMECS in a Breed class may only show at BMECS in Breed classes. Likewise, a horse that qualifies under Workmanship may only show at BMECS in Workmanship, and would not be permitted entry into Performance, for example.
Tickets are only valid for three years, so it is worth checking the dates on them if you've purchased a model that already has a ticket, to make sure it hasn't expired.
If you already have some BMECS qualified models and want to learn more about entry to BMECS, follow this link to the Entry Forms page.
The British Equine Collectors' Forum: Useful Links & Extra Information
If you are new to the Model Horse Hobby and/or live showing, you can find many helpful 'hobby guidesheets' over on the British Equine Collectors Forum (BECF) website. Here are the links to the most relevant ones, all focused on live showing, to help get you started:
Live Show Etiquette - a selection of good advice compiled by fellow model horse collectors, designed to help your first live show experience be a positive one!
Judging At A Live Show - a basic 'how to' guide, helpful both if you are thinking about getting involved with judging yourself, or if you'd just like to gain a better understanding of how judging works at live shows.
Holding A Live Show - if you're interested in holding a live show for the first time, it's strongly advised you attend a few shows first to get a feel for it, but this guide will also be a helpful read.
There are many more guidesheets where these came from, covering a wide range of model horse related topics, and you can find a full list of them HERE. Many thanks to Jackie Radwanski for allowing us to add these links from the BECF website - there is much invaluable information that can be found there!