Friends of Sound Horses’ (FOSH) EquiTheater gives versatility show classes a whole new meaning. Offered as an open gaited-breed class, EquiTheater is focused on fun, entertainment and awareness. Participants develop routines with their horses using costumes, choreography, music, props, storytelling and music.
All gaited breeds are welcome, from Tennessee Walking Horses to Rocky Mountain Horses, Missouri Fox Trotters and more. Horses can be driven, ridden or shown in-hand. While there are a few required elements and rules to provide structure and keep the class running smoothly; Bippen stresses that EquiTheater is not a rail class or riding a pattern to music, such as in a dressage freestyle routine. In fact, the rules state that “riding in figure-eight type patterns, or riding exclusively on the rail will be penalized.”
“It’s supposed to be like a skit,” says Bippen, who suggests using songs from musicals. “They have great words and meaning to them. It seems like there’s a story to them.”
Any horse show can offer EquiTheater, but only FOSH provides rules and scoring sheets. Judges are licensed by the Independent Judging Association (IJA).