How to Sign up for a Horse Show

There are hundreds of different horse shows out there. There are breed shows, 4H shows and discipline shows (i.e. Hunter/Jumper, reining etc.) But most horse shows have similar registration processes. Listed below are some basics for signing up for a horse show.


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    Contact the agency or person hosting the show. Please note that many horse shows are hosted by management companies that simply rent the venue. People at the site of an arena may or may not be able to help you register for the show.
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    Request a registration form or a 'prize list' as they are often called at large Hunter/Jumper shows.
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    Fill out the registration form with all of you and your horse's information. You should also be able to sign up for whatever classes you would like to show your horse in on the registration form.
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    If the show is several days or even weeks long, you must make arrangements for your horse's stabling. Included in the registration form will be information about stalls at the show site. If you need a stall for the show be sure to indicate the number of stalls you will need as well as the duration of time you will need them. And don't forget the bedding! You can bring your own but many shows will sell you bedding...though it can get expensive. Please remember that the show site is not responsible for your horse when you use their are. You must still tend to his feeding, watering and the cleaning of his stall.
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    Once you have completed the registration form, simply return it. Depending on the show, they may require a deposit with your form or they may require you to pay a fee.
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    Remember to keep the portion of the prize list that has the schedule and description of classes. This is your guideline for the show day.
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    On the day of the show, register with the show office. The show office will assign you a number to wear when in the ring.
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    Also, it is general practice to leave an 'open check' with the show office. This is a signed blank check to cover your fees should you leave the grounds without paying. If you are not comfortable with the 'open check' you can leave a check to cover your full show expenses and simply ask for a refund later for any classes you cancel.
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    Remember you must give notice if you intend to scratch a class. If you do not alert the show office within the allotted time that you are scratching, you will be charged for the class whether you showed in it or not.


  • If you leave your horse tied to a trailer, try to always have someone near the trailer to keep an eye on him. Ask your neighbors at the show to help. You can work in shifts.
  • Register early, some larger shows have late registration fees.
  • Arrive early the day of the show. Parking can be a fierce battle and trailer space can be at a premium. Plus arriving early will give you and your horse time to settle in.
  • You can generally add or drop classes on the day of the show without penalty as long as you notify the show office.
  • Remember that at horse shows different rings may have different start times. Refer to your schedule to determine what rings start when.
  • Also, the only classes that do have start times are the first classes, the day progresses from there. It is not always easy to predict when you will show. Some classes may be larger than others and some may be so small that they are combined or cancelled all together. The only way to know when you will show is to be at the show.
  • Relax and have fun at the show!


  • If you do not rent a stall for the show day and choose to leave your horse tied to the trailer, do not forget about him! Remember to leave him a full hay bag. Generally it is not easy to leave water within reach so you must be sure to offer your horse water often. It is never a good idea to leave your horse unattended for too long. Accidents have a way of happening when you least expect them.

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Categories: Horse Showing and Competition