It's January and, believe it or not, horse show season is right around the corner - here's your list of what to do to be ready:
1) Attend the WSHJA Year End Awards Banquet! This is the WSHJA's 60th Anniversary and the banquet is shaping up to be another great event. Purchase your tickets and put together any items you may have for the Silent Auction! Auction proceeds go towards membership functions and add an extra element of fun to the evening. The WSHJA is looking for everyone to make a donation, so if you haven't yet, there is still time - and, while you are working on your donation, make sure you sign up for your 2013 membership!
2) Speaking of memberships, now is the time to sign up and avoid last minute hassles at the horse show - not sure what to sign up for, ask your trainer - but here is a preliminary list of what to expect:
a. United States Equestrian Federation – this is the governing body of horse sports in general. USEF shows require you to have a membership (or pay a non-member fee). Memberships cover the cost of tracking your points, as well as supporting our Olympic team, monitoring safety and rules at the horse show and caring for horses in crisis situations such as natural disasters.
b. United States Hunter Jumper Association – this organization works with the USEF, but is directed with the care of the Hunter/Jumper community. Where the USEF covers multiple disciplines, the USHJA focuses solely on our hunter/jumper horses and riders and is divided up by Zones 9 (WA State is in Zone 9). The USHJA is charged with promoting our sport, the welfare and rules within the sport and furthering education among the community with programs such as the Trainer Certification Program (TCP) and other clinics.
c. Washington State Hunter Jumper Assocation – this is the local organization for the hunter/jumper community in WA State. WSHJA tracks points on both a National and State level and hosts a yearly awards banquet. The WSHJA also host several local shows in WA over the course of the year and helps raise money for scholarships. The WSHJA is run strictly by volunteers in the horse community.
d. World Championship Hunter Rider – this is a separate awards program for hunter riders. This program runs through the USHJA and accumulates points for riders wanting to qualify for special classes at the end of the year. This is a great membership for owners, riders or trainers who show regularly in the hunter division at USHJA shows.
e. Other local memberships - If you ride at a local club and will be participating in all/most of their shows, a great way to earn year end awards AND support your local horse community is a membership with these local groups. Each group is responsible for differing things, but most often these groups are the only reason the shows run, so your membership can make a big difference in the community.
3) Plan your year! Each barn shows for different months over the year - some start showing as early as February and others wait until April. Check with your barn and their show calendar and then check your budget. A good rule of thumb is to plan on spending $500-$1000 for a weekend show and $1500-$2000 for a weekly show (per week). Cost will vary, but if you have an idea of what you want to spend on horse shows for the year then you are able to plan accordingly.
4) Sit down with your trainer and go over your hopes and dreams for the year. Your trainer will be able to guide you as to what is realistic and what is not. Having a plan for the season allows both you and your trainer to start working on schedules in advance so you are both properly prepared.
5) Take a look at your tack/blankets. How does your saddle fit? Is your bridle falling apart? Do you need something for the shows? Now is the time to order. If you need something customized, it can be a long wait – make sure you don't postpone things until the last minute.
6) If you have your own truck/trailer get them in for maintenance. Trucks need to be looked at every 5 thousand miles or so, getting it looked at now versus being stranded on the road is a much better deal. Trailers also need yearly maintenance to have brakes, lights and floors checked. This is also a great time to make sure tabs are current and tires are full.
7) Your horses’ maintenance. Most horses that are showing are kept up to date on shots, shoes and worming. If yours is not, now’s the time. If he is, start checking with your vet, trainer and Ferrier to see what, if any, extra will need to be done during the year (and when) for his general maintenance. Showing horses – especially those going out of state – have extra requirements – if this is your first year at bigger shows, now is the time to start finding out how/when to do that.
Lists for horses can go on and on, but these are the top 7 that a rider should be considering in January. If you attack your New Year’s list the way Santa attacks your Christmas List, you’ll find yourself ready to start 2013 off on the right foot – or hoof!
If you enjoyed reading this article, please click on the subscribe button at the top of the page.