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How to Prepare for a Horse Show

Julie Frykman

Posted on August 19 2014

How to Prepare for a Horse Show by Suzannah Simon

It’s that time of year again...clean out the trailer, put the final training pieces together and polish the boots...summer show season is upon us!

Everyone has their own way of preparing for the season. Many start getting ready weeks in advance, not to mention the year round training and gym time! The following are a few things that I personally love to do in order to have a successful summer!

Do your homework! I know you probably thought your mom was the only one who would tell you, but here we go:

  1. It is SO very important to have eyes on the ground to help you prepare. A good trainer will help you to become confident and successful before you even head down centerline.
  2. Know when it’s show time...if you and your horse are struggling as a team at home, or you cannot get through your test during practice, it will not bode well in the ring. Practice makes perfect and it is important to know when you and your horse are ready for the ring. Also, it is crucial to know what your appropriate level of competition is in order to help create a positive show experience.
  3. Memorization is a MUST!!! Whether you need to read the test out loud, walk it, or visualize it, figure out what works for YOU and go with it! Challenge yourself to ride, read, and memorize the test before you get to the show. This SERIOUSLY helps to reduce pre-ride stress for horse and rider!

Finally, here are a few show and grooming tips that I have picked up in and out of the ring. Some are pieces of advice that I have been handed by amazing mentors and others I have learned the hard way ;)

Be prepared and bring extras. Extras of what you might ask? EXTRAS OF EVERYTHING! The only time a rein breaks, a bell boot rips, or a tire pops is when a spare is not on hand.

Lesson #1: Better to have and not need, than to need and not have.

Be gracious. No matter if you just experienced the most amazing, stupendous, wonderful, dreamy ride of your life, or you just managed to stay on until the final salute, be polite. You really never know who is watching or what kind of impression you are giving to those around you.

Lesson #2: You are who you are when no one (and everyone) is watching.

Be Kind. Everyone has a bad day, even your horse. If you have a rough ride or struggle to get through a test, don't be negative of your horses performance, especially to others around you. Recognize that work needs to be done and move on.

Lesson #3: Riding is a team sport!

Be Careful...what you clip!! To end on a funny note I have to tell a short story.
It’s 6:00am on a horse show morning as two other girls and myself are finishing the braiding and final touch-ups of the horses that are being prepped for morning classes. Suddenly I hear a gasp from the stall across the aisle from me. I look over to see a friend of mine holding clippers in one hand, and a complete button braid in the other. Accidents happen, and hair grows back!
Though we were probably not laughing at that moment, it will be a (very funny) lesson that I will cherish!

Lesson #4: Think Before you clip :)

Thank you from the Equestrianista Team!

 

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