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Horse Articles :: How to Prepare for a Horse Show

How to Prepare for a Horse Show

When you're getting ready for a horse show, it's always best to have a list of things you need to take with you. Invariably everyone forgets something, so it's best if you have your own list of tings to bring and your trainer has his or hers. Don't depend on someone else to organize you or remember to your tack or show clothes. Clothes and tack change with the type of show you're riding in or the discipline -- western riders don't have to braid their horse's manes; whereas most hunter classes require horses be braided. Various disciplines have different requirements, but you'll still need to have the basics covered.

The Paperwork

You'll need a copy of your Coggins test, which needs to be updates each year. Horse shows won't take last years' Coggins test. If you're traveling out of state, you must have an interstate health certificate which includes a negative coggins and a veterinary exam. Also, make sure all your vacccinations are up to date. When you travel with your horse and are at a horse show, there are many opportunies for diseases to be picked up from other horses. Class choices, paperwork and stall fees can be mailed in a few weeks ahead of your show date. This gives the show staff a rough count of how many horses and riders to expect.


Make sure your tack -- saddle and bridle -- is clean and polished and take extra soap, oil and a cloth in case you need to do a last minute clean up. Take an extra bridle if you have one and a couple clean saddle pads. If you need a martingale for jumping classes, take yours just in case. If your trainer is taking a group of riders to a show, there will probably be extras of everything, but that doesn't mean it will fit you or your horse. Check to make sure your horse will be braided if needed. Most barns have a braider lined up to do all the horses.


The discipline you're showing in requires you to dress a certain way and have a certain look. Hunter shows tend to be more formal as do some western pleasure classes. Saddlebred and dressage shows are also formal in their horse/rider turnout. Riders are required to have safety helmets for hunter/jumpers, endurance riding, and eventing. Britches, coats, shirts, and boots are also required for dressage and hunter shows. Endurance riding, some western classes, jumpers, and some phases of eventing have more relaxed requirements. All riders and horses need to be presentable and clean in their appearance.


You or your trainer will need to make sure your horse gets to the show. Usually your trainer will organize shipping for you. Make sure you have clean wraps ready for shipping and have someone wrap your horse if you don't do it. You'll also need to reserve a stall for your horse.

It doesn't matter what level you show at or what discipline you're in, showing your horse is expensive. The more prepared you are for a show, the more relaxed you'll be and hopefully the more fun you'll have. And chances are, you'll bring home some well deserved ribbons for all your effort!

About the Author
Philippe Wiskell is a writer for HorseClicks, classifieds of horses for sale









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