How to Do Well in Your First Horse Show

During your first horse show you shouldn't go into the ring expecting to win every class. You should go into the ring expecting to have fun!

Steps

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    Several lessons before the show, ask your trainer if you can ride the horse or pony that you will be riding in the show. The more you can ride and work with the horse you intend to show, the better. This will help you get used to the horse or pony before you go into the show ring.
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    Try not to get frustrated. When your trainer critiques you, he or she is just trying to help you. Try to fix your faults. It will help you in the show! Never get mad or lash out at your trainer. They can quit and leave you with a bad trainer.
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    Wash the horse at least a day before the show, and detangle the mane and tail. This will make the grooming process far easier on show day. Ensure that the horse dries completely before putting him away.
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    Get organized the night before. You might have to be at the barn early in the morning and you don't want to have to run around your house finding all your stuff! I would recommend laying your clothes, helmet and any other supplies you will need near the door so that it is all ready to go. Make sure that your boots are shined, and that all of your clothing is clean. Always ensure that your helmet is in good condition with no cracks and thick Styrofoam.
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    When you get to the show you need to groom you horse or pony.
    • Pick the hooves using a hoof pick. Make sure you get all the mud and/or ice out. You'll see a triangle under the hoof, that's called the frog. Make sure it doesn't feel tender and doesn't have a stone caught in it. You can polish your horses hooves too if you want to.
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    • Curry the horse or pony's body using circular strokes. Start by the head and work your way to the tail. Then repeat on the other side.
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    • Use the stiff (dandy) brush in short strokes, in the same direction that the hair is growing. Again, start by the head and work towards the tail. Repeat on the other side.
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    • Use the soft (body) brush next. Brush from head to tail in long, smooth strokes. At this point, the horse should have a soft sheen to his coat.
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    • Do NOT use oil on the horse's body; oil attracts dust and makes the coat appear dull. Wipe the horse down with a damp towel if necessary.
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    • Use a mane and tail comb to comb the mane and tail, and finish the mane with a wet hard (body) brush to ensure that it appears smooth and neat.
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    • Tack up your horse or pony.
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    Get ready a little early, in order to have some time to warm up and relax before you enter the show ring. Take a few minutes to go through each gait in both directions, and then let your horse stand and relax. Take a deep breath, smile, and joke with your friends. Relaxation is key to a good ride.
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    Remember to keep your posture upright, and look ahead. The last thing you want is to run into another horse. Keep your heels down, hands steady, and smile!
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    No matter what place you get, just have FUN and remember it's not always about winning. Never take out your anger on the horse.

Tips

  • Ensure you have the appropriate show schedule and that you know when and where your classes are. This means you can allow an hour before your first class to warm up and put the horse at ease.
  • Don't worry, just have fun!
  • If your horse has white legs invest in field chaps; this means that you won't have to contend with mucky legs in the morning
  • If you are jumping, walk the course first, then ask for tips from an instructor.
  • Pack some food. You might not feel like eating, but by mid morning you will be hungry, and you might not be able to leave your horse in order to get some breakfast.
  • If you are unsure of what you need to do during a class, maybe ask a judge or experienced adult before you enter so you have time to practice and prepare.

Warnings

  • Horses are unpredictable. Don't assume that your horse will act the same as it always does. No matter what happens, just keep riding and trying your best! There will always be another horse show.
  • Make sure when you ride, you wear a certified safety helmet at ALL times.

Article Info

Categories: Horses