Show season is in full swing and you’re going to your first open horse show. You’re so excited! Your steps are light, you have visions of long, flowing ribbons and gigantic trophies, shiny horses, and everything is right with the world.
As the date approaches, a few nerves are beginning to rattle you. A few twinges of worry set in. Just two nights ago you had this nightmare about falling off in the middle of the ring and right in front of the judge – good grief, the judge was the one that helped you back on the horse and then he stood there and laughed. No, he actually howled with laughter until tears came out of his eyes. You just crawled and cringed out of the ring.
Well, take heart. It’s only natural that you are both elated and then struck with a little concern. That’s merely excitement taking over. This is what your hard work and practice sessions were all about. I say, “Trust your horse!” Arm yourself with the knowledge that you’re headed into the show ring to get approval [and constructive criticism?] for all the time and effort you have expended to become a good rider. And, there’s nothing like the experience and excitement of a horse show. You’re starting with a one-day open horse show - it’s small, and you have a great support system to get you through it.
Most of all, remember winning or losing is based on the opinion of the judge. It’s as plain and simple as that.
Your riding teacher has helped you attain riding proficiency, worked with you, drilled you and your horse - you are both as ready as you’ll ever be. That’s a vote of confidence. So lets get packing for the show.
Here is a short list of what to take to the horse show:
- Bring along your best Sense of Humor.
- Take along friends to cheer. Most importantly, though, bring a family member or trusted friend – a level-headed helper - that can keep you focused, absorb your nervous “jitters”, knows your horse and where everything is, help with preparations before classes and the cleanup after classes.
- Carry feed and bedding for your horse – enough for at least a day.
- Pack every piece of horse tack needed, and extra tack, just in case.
- Bring every article of clothing you will need, and extras, just in case.
- Have extra leads, a lunge line, halter in the trailer.
- Pack a cooler with food and drinks and snacks.
- Don’t forget to bring money. Have someone take pictures or videos of you in your classes. This is great for bragging rights – or – videos are a great tool for critiquing and training for the next time.
Work with a list of things to bring along. Check off all items on the list as you load up.
Place everything that is coming along to the show into the trailer at least 24 hours before departure. Then the only thing you will have to do prior to leaving is prepare your horse to travel, and load up.
If you prepare thoroughly before the day of the show, your experience will be more enjoyable with far less stress.
Have a day of fun and fabulous experiences at the Horse Show. Watch other competitors. Learn from everything you observe and hear. Use this experience to better yourself the next time.
Above all, regardless of the show’s outcome, be certain you let your horse know he did a great job. And, well, if the judge didn’t see you and your horse as the winners, be satisfied with your horse anyway, pat him and reward him.
Take away countless lessons learned and keep up the good work, until next time.
Above all, enjoy the experience.
If you enjoyed this article and would like others, please click the link above. It’s free, informative and anonymous.