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Horse Articles :: Tips for Horse Show Competing
Tips for Competing at a Horse Show
While owning a riding a horse is a wonderful experience in
itself, most riders eventually feel the urge to take their
horse out into the world of horse showing. Showing is a wonderful
way to challenge yourself and your horse and to get a chance
to compare yourself to others in the same discipline.
There are shows available for riders of all ages and levels
of experience. Many farms that teach lessons hold a regular
series of schooling shows that often are open to the public.
You will also find that many fairs hold low-level horse shows
and some areas even have special clubs that host a series
of shows through the season.
The first step is finding what shows are available for your
discipline. Not all shows have classes for all kinds of horses
or riders. If you know of a local barn that specializes in
your discipline you can try giving them a call to see if there
are any shows in your area that might suit your goals. Another
place to look is at local horsey websites where many show
organizers will post their shows. If your horses are a part
of a specific breed organization try contacting that group
and see if they have any events out your way.
Once you have found a show take a look at their class list.
It is important to understand what is required in each of
the divisions before deciding which ones to enter. The classes
are not always what you might expect at a glance. For example,
a pleasure class might look like it should be performed out
on the trail, but in fact it is in a closed ring with a group
of horses who are judged for how quiet and comfortable they
are to ride. If you are unsure what any of the classes are
contact the show organizer and they will be glad to help you.
Before the show, spend some time practicing the things you
plan to do at the show. Make sure that your horse listens
well and is used to working with other horses in the ring.
If you can, take your horse to a neighbouring farm or two
to get him used to working at a place other than your home
farm. Not all horses trailer well, so if your horse has not
been shipped recently you might want to practice loading him
a few times so that you are not stuck with a horse who will
not get on the trailer the morning of the show.
The day before the show spend a lot of time cleaning your
horse. It is a sign of respect to the judge to present a well-groomed
horse. If your discipline requires braiding you should make
an effort to braid your horse. Even at the lower levels it
is better to show a horse braided if it suits your discipline
and the practice is great, especially if you plan to try showing
at the higher levels in the long run.
Your tack should also be thoroughly cleaned and polished.
Don't use any products that would make your saddle slippery,
you would not want to have a spill thanks to slippery tack.
Set aside some clean brushes and bandages to use on the show
Before going to bed make sure that you have everything packed
up and ready to go. Show mornings are stressful enough without
having to race around trying to find things to take with you.
On the morning of the show be sure to plan to arrive at least
an hour before your classes are to begin. This will give you
time to sign in, get your horse tacked up and warm up. If
you are not sure what time you should be there contact the
show for an estimate and arrive half an hour earlier than
they suggest. It is better to be too early than too late.
When you arrive go to the show office before unloading your
horse. They will sign you in, give you your number and let
you know where things are at. Once you are signed in return
to your trailer and unload your horse. If you have time take
your horse for a little walk around the show grounds so they
know what to expect.
About half an hour before your classes tack up and start to
warm up your horse. Most shows will have a ring set aside
for warming up your horse. Keep your ears open for the announcer
so you know when your class begins.
In your class relax and just do your best. It doesn't matter
if you win or lose, what matters is that you try your best
and have fun.
When the day is finally over give your horse a thorough grooming
and let him go and relax. If your horse can be turned out
for a while it is a great way to get him to settle down and
de-stress. Have your barn manager give him a hot bran mash
or some extra treats for dinner if your horse enjoys that
sort of thing. Most horses like to have a day off after showing,
so don't make any plans to ride your horse the next day.
Once your horse is back home and settled in you can get a
chance to relax too. Take it easy and have fun going over
the events of the day. Learn from your mistakes and plan ahead
to make sure that things will go even better next time.
About the Author
Philippe Wiskell is a writer for HorseClicks, classifieds