Your first horse show is an exciting event. It can also be a bit overwhelming. Wade through all the information out there and stick with a tried and true plan for success in the show ring.
1. Take Time to Learn Proper Show Grooming
A well-groomed horse will have an advantage over others in the show ring, sure, but he’ll also be able to perform better. Clipping the hair in and around his ears and chin helps increase awareness of his surroundings and sensitivity to your cues. It will also give you a boost of confidence as you admire your handiwork from the saddle.
Depending on your disciple, you may need to learn to braid, pull or clip the horse’s mane and tail. Make sure you have a sheet and tail bag to keep his coat clean and free from tangles and mud.
2. Practice Event Specific Actions
No matter what type of riding you do, there will be specific actions and gaits you and your horse will need to master. Start preparing about two months before the show season starts to get the best results. If you notice that your horse excels in one area over the other, you may want to focus your attention on that.
3. Wear the Right Clothes for Your Discipline
Each discipline has its own maneuvers, lingo and clothing. Some shows have strict requirements about what is, and what isn’t allowed in the show ring. Take time to talk to other riders who have been showing for a while to find out what you need. While riding gear can get expensive quickly, you can often find good deals on equestrian shirts on sale online if you know where to look.
4. Avoid Sunburn and Other Show Injuries
Neither you or a light-colored horse are going to look or perform your best if you are miserable from sunburn. Make sure to take precautions during preshow training and around the showgrounds. The same rule applies to your horse. White and very light spots burn easily when exposed to the sun. Apply sunscreen or let them wear a lightweight cover until it’s showtime.
5. Remember That You Are Part of a Team
You’ll need to work as part of a team to be successful in the show ring. Learn to listen to your horse’s cues just as you ask him to listen to you. This will help you work seamlessly together and make for a more enjoyable and successful ride.
No matter what level you are showing at, remember that it is supposed to be fun. Don’t get caught up in the drama. Instead, relax and enjoy the opportunity to spend with your friends and horse.