Tell me ALL about the National Show!

Miniature Horse Talk Forums

Help Support Miniature Horse Talk Forums:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.


Active Member
Jun 6, 2013
Reaction score
Central North Carolina
We are brand new to the wonderful world of minis, and are already totally captivated. I can see myself ending up as one of those people with a barn and field full!

We're in the process of locating our first show filly, and are planning to attend the National Show next month. We've shown QH for the last 20+ years, and so we've been to the national level QH shows, but we're really looking forward to checking out the show in Tulsa and getting a better idea of what showing minis is all about.

Our background in QH (besides riders) is halter, so that is where we are going to start, but I am really interested in trying some of the other classes too. I think I would enjoy jumping, halter obstacle, and maybe even driving.

We've shown in Tulsa before, so the main thing I am looking for is just any hints and input on how to get the most out of our experience would be great. I think we are going to be there for 3-4 days beginning on Tues or Wed.

Thanks so much!
Welcome to the AMAZING world of minis! They are addicting and so fun! Nationals is a LOT of fun, education, and a great opportunity to meet breeders, trainers, and owners from all over! I highly recommend keeping multiple pairs of shoes in your vehicle so if your feet get sore you can change to a "fresh" pair, its amazing how awesome diff. shoes can feel! Lots of walking, everyone has great displays for their farms. The arena is large and fairly comfy seating. Do bring a blanket or jacket as it is kept VERY well air conditioned! Also there are several awesome vendors set up for mini tack. Most classes have around 20+ horses in them so really fun to watch. You will find that lots of different people do things a little differently so you kind of have to decide what you like. Feel free to look us up when you are there, we are normally in the F 150 barn but not sure where we will be this year.

Wanted to add.....Most important is to ask questions!
Last edited by a moderator:
Halter classes are primarily during the day...performance classes in the late afternoon / evening (totally different set of judges for halter vs performance). Youth and Amateurs show the first few days...Open is the last week. You can find the premium book on the AMHR website at - under the "events" tab.
Hi and WELCOME!!!

My biggest advice is TAKE YOUR TIME shopping for a mini.

Are you only interested in AMHR only registered? Or AMHA & AMHR? Or AMHR and pony registered?

I bet anything that after you watch some show and you see how much fun they're having driving etc you'll want to drive too! Minis are VERY addicting & fun! I wish you good luck shopping!
I look forward to seeing your posts about your new mini adventure!

Definitely stay for the driving classes held in the evening! The roadster and chariot classes are especially fun
I second that take your time looking. Have you been to any shows yet? Do you like the minis because their small and you don't want to be "pushed around" or do you want to still get up and go without the QH expense? I ask because all this comes into play as to what size you are looking for. Although some of the under 34" have speed and attitude and can put some step in their driving, the "B" size has more leg action and still is refined with a good personality.

Even the Shetlands have evolved over the years. Many are very refined, have action like a Hackney, and yet have sweet tempers. You won't see any Big Shetlands at Nationals but you will see some double registered ones.

Your best bet is to watch the classes and walk through the barns and talk to people. We love to talk your leg off just like any horse person. By the way I'll be in the barn across the alley from the arena with Excaliber Stables. Come talk to us.
Responding in order to each poster...

Thanks, Jean! I've printed off the schedule, and that will help with planning,

REO, we have been looking for a couple of months. We're fortunate to have a prominent breeder/trainer less than an hour from us, and I think we are narrowing down a choice. It's also possible that we'll be looking at the show.

We are looking primarily at the R/ponies and are in search of something feminine and exotic. We showed QH weanlings for many years, and really enjoyed that, so babies is where we plan to start.

valshingle, we have been to a show, and the driving looks like a blast. As does the jumping. AND the halter obstacle, and the ... well, ALL of it, lol.

Sandee, we went to a show in May and the people we met at the show were SO welcoming and friendly. And the horses are so sweet!

It's a combination of not wanting to worry about falling off, not wanting to have to deal with 1500 lb horses and not having the stress and expense of showing QH any longer.

We are particularly interested in the R/Shetlands. They seem to have the package that we are most attracted to, although ALL of the minis/ponies are all just so very nice. And, I have to admit, their happy, curious and sweet personalities are extremely compelling to me. The QH has turned into such an incredibly consuming and stressful and expensive endeavor, and that puts SO much pressure on the horses. It is sadly rare to encounter many happy horses at the shows, and that is one of the main reasons it has lost its appeal for us despite many years involved in showing.

We'll be haunting the barn aisles checking everything out, and I appreciate everyone's welcoming and friendliness!
I have never been to Nationals so can't comment on that, but while your are shopping I will just toss out the advantages of buying a PINTO mini. We started out showing/riding pintos and loved the family atmosphere at the shows, how friendly everyone is, and how much versatility is stressed. They even offer gymkhana driving, plus ideal pinto driving, disciplined rail driving, trail in hand, hunter and jumper, plus you standard halter, color and showmanship. The award structure is the BEST we have encountered, starting with ROMS and going up from there. You can compete and win prestigious awards at local shows, or go to Worlds, etc. And the shows aren't limited by horse size, so you can still feel at home with the big horses, Another plus is your pinto can never outgrow his or her papers!!! Just might have to move up a size.
Thanks, targetsmom! That's great info. The filly we are most interested in is a Pinto, and that is my preferred color/pattern.

Thank you for the welcome FirstTimeMiniMom!
My most favorite class is liberty, you must see at least one either A or B. Costume is another fave. I'm not going this year so can't ask you to look me up, but have fun first and formost.
Your journey sounds a lot like mine. Many moons ago, I showed AQHA halter horses then I moved on to the loves of my life. Best of luck to you and have a great time at Nationals.
Good luck and have fun at Nationals!!

Last year was my first time, but this year I didn't have a mini to send (the filly that went last year is a very late baby and I decided that while she may come into her own in the future, right now she's not competitive - as either AMHR or Shetland). That works, as it doesn't look like I'll be going this year. My favorite classes are driving. I was enthralled last year with the Chariot racing, but that may be out of my league so to speak... A lot of our Shetlands - some also MH - now go to Draft Horse Events around NC and pull smaller, garden sized equipment in the fields as "little horses that can"... Lots of fun, too. Working on 3 & 4 abreast hitches - love the several pairs that are working now - FUN - and a great way to enjoy trail driving, too.

Which breeder is near you? Just curious! Can't wait to hear about the filly you may have chosen!!
We came from QH/Paint as well, and have had so much fun with minis. If you have shown at Tulsa, you are familiar with the layout and size of the facility... lots of barns to work your way through lol! We will be there from Tuesday 10th through the end of the show, hope to meet you there!

Thank you all so much for the continued information and tips!

As you can see from my changed profile pic, we have picked out our new filly.

Actually, we could not decide between two of them, so we ended up with both!

They will be making their debut at the National Show with Lee Crutchfield of Aloha Acres.

We are really excited about the fillies and the show, and I hope that I can start showing too.

I've shown QH halter a lot, but it's a whole different ball game. I'd really like to try some of the other classes as well.

I will definitely look forward to meeting some of you at this and other shows!
Very exciting. I am originally from Raleigh, NC. Being near such a great trainer is a big plus. Best of luck to your horse at the show.
Great, that's a wee little pic, now some more info? And on two!!

Good luck at Nationals!!
You will find loads of beautiful horses and every class you might possibly want to show in the future. I think this will be my fourth trip to Nationals and I have also been to three or four World shows in Ft Worth which is also spectacular. You will learn a lot and possible spend a lot too, as everything is so tempting :). More information on your new purchases would be nice to see. The stallion in my avatar will be there. We always have a great time, enjoy !
I assume you are wanting to eventually raise babies because you are looking for a filly. (If you only want to show then I would encourage a gelding).

Pay the money now and become a member with a login for the stud book, so as you see ones you like you can look up the breeding. Dams who can produce 2 national level ponies are more likely to produce broodmares who can do the same. You may also discover ponies you like have similar breeding or come from the same farm.

Enjoy the show!! Talk to as many people as you can!! Enjoy a cold beverage!!

Dr. Taylor

Latest posts