Your first horse show should be one of the greatest days in your life as a horse lover, anything less just will not suffice. As scary as it may seem, horse shows should not fill you with anxiety or panic – they are a celebration of the horse and encompass everything that makes them beautiful and majestic.
Preparing for your first show can be made significantly easier by following these five simple tips and tricks below:
Horse show etiquette is an essential element of enjoying the show and being a considerate participant so that other riders can have an equally enjoyable experience.
Warm-up arenas are undoubtedly one of the scariest places for first-time show attendees. Depending on the venue and how many horses have been entered into each event, these arenas can be anything from empty to full with other riders and their horses.
The best way for everyone to enjoy the show is for each rider to observe the warm-up arena etiquette when passing other horses, which is typically from left shoulder to left shoulder.
What you wear will either make or break your entire experience.
Ensure you and your horse are clean and presentable, and your safety gear fits well and is up to standard.
Your gear will depend on the discipline you are competing in. For most shows, you will get expected to wear a jacket, breeches or jodhpurs and a riding helmet.
3. Set Goals
When competing in events, set goals to help ensure that you go home with your fair share of crystal horse show awards.
Get there early so you can practice with your horse ahead of time, and still have plenty of time left to relax and enter the ring looking calm and collected.
Do your best to project confidence during each event – not only will that help keep your horse calm, but it may even get you extra points from the judges!
4. Food and Water
Bring lots of water and snacks for you and your horse, especially if you are unsure if these will get provided at the venue.
Horse shows make for very long days for you and your horse, so keep carrots on hand to reward him for his extra hard work and discipline at the show. By staying hydrated and fed, your first horse show can go down in history as one of the best ever.
5. Class Competition
Enter event classes that you are more than comfortable competing in.
Horse shows are not the time or place to push your horse beyond its limits – they are places where riders should be able to show off their abilities while having fun.
If you are a jumper and happily jumping 90cm at home or during training, enter 80cm events. Enter at a level that you can do with your eyes closed. Not only will that almost guarantee you a win – but it’s the safer option too.
Horse shows should be about having fun, so never forget to smile during each event. After all, if you are not having fun, then what is the point?