Getting Ready for a Horse Show

Show season is coming,! Show season is coming! Whether this is your first time showing or you’re a seasoned competitor, this time of year is exciting for everyone. In a month or two, horse show season will be in full swing, so use this time to get ready. Here are a few things to think about while you’re waiting for your first horse show of the year.

Practice at Home

Whether you take lessons or just ride on your own, practicing for a horse show is a good idea. To practice for flat classes, have someone call out directions such as trot, extended trot, canter, walk, and switch directions. If you or your assistant hasn’t been to a horse show before, look for some videos on YouTube so both of you know what to expect. For other types of classes such as showmanship, trail courses, dressage, or jumping, set up a few different courses to practice at home. A pattern book will be helpful for this kind of practice.

Dress for Success

You and your horse’s appearance on show day are both very important, so take some time to make sure both of you have all the right stuff and are turned out nicely the day of the show.

English riders typically wear a high-collared shirt, jacket, breeches, tall boots, and a black velvet helmet with the hair neatly tucked into a net. English horses should be clean, well-groomed, and wearing plain black or brown tack, usually with a plain white contour saddle pad.

Western riders wear a button-down shirt, jeans, boots, and often a cowboy hat, although helmets may be acceptable in Western classes as well, especially children’s classes. Western horses should be clean and well-groomed, but they may wear more colorful saddle blankets and tack with “bling.”

Prepare for Traveling

Many horses find trailers to be rather scary, so waiting until the morning of your first show to load your horse for the first time is inadvisable. You will be nervous that morning and your horse is going to sense it. It’s not unusual for horses to refuse to load when they feel how nervous and excited everyone is.

Since you have time until the show season gets into full swing, practice loading your horse into the trailer at least once a week, more if he needs more practice. Also try to make the time to actually drive him somewhere occasionally, whether it’s around the block or to a local riding arena. Feeding him a favorite treat such as grain while he is in the trailer is also a good idea and will help make him feel at home. Plus, you’ll probably be bringing at least one meal with you to the show, so it’s good for him to feel comfortable enough to eat on the trailer.

Have Reasonable Expectations

The first time you trailer your horse to a show, you probably shouldn’t expect much. Many horses need to just hang out and acclimate to the hustle and bustle of a show their first time. Even if you do ride in the show, expect that your first time won’t be either you or your horse’s best performance. Give both of you permission to mess up the first time, and count all victories, even small ones.

Have you ever thought about what feed travels best? This show season, consider using a pelleted feed for its neatness, lack of waste, and ease of traveling. For more information about how our pelleted feeds can make your show season a breeze, contact Sacate Pellet Mills at 602-237-3809.