Farm Store | articles | 7 Tips to Prepare For Your Next Horse Show

7 Tips to Prepare For Your Next Horse Show

Do your homework before deciding on what show to compete at. Are there classes available that are appropriate for your skill level and that of your horse? Is there good footing?  What have others that have gone there said about the show?  Does the course designer do a good job of making the course inviting and competitor friendly? If your horse needs to get in the ring prior to showing are you allowed to school in the ring in the morning? The more you know about the show, the better you can manage your expectations and have a positive experience.

2. Show Day Logistics

Are you going to be stabling your horse overnight at the show or working off the trailer? If you are going to get a stall for the show, make sure you either order or bring shavings with you, bring water buckets, plenty of hay, grain , a pitchfork and manure tub/wheelbarrow. Make sure you have reserved your stall prior to any entry closing deadlines. Don’t forget to book a hotel room for yourself if it’s a multi-day show.

If you’re planning on working off the trailer for an all day ship-in show, does your horse need a trailer buddy to keep him calm? Not sure, bring one just in case. The last thing you need is for your horse to be upset on the trailer with hours to go until your class is scheduled to start. If the weather is going to be warm, bring plenty of water from home (some horses are finicky about drinking water at new locations) and a portable generator to run fans off of.

3. Bring a Trainer or Friend

We all need an extra set of hands when we go to a show. If you bring a friend, even if they aren’t well versed in horses, they can help you hold your horse, unload your equipment off the trailer, set jumps in the schooling area and do a last minute boot shine and hoof polishing prior to you stepping into the ring. Your trainer can help you learn the courses (if showing over fences), come up with a plan for how you are going to approach your course and give you constructive feedback following your classes. If possible, spend some time ringside with your trainer watching other riders show. You can learn as much from watching as from actually showing.

4. Be Conscious of Your Budget

Horse showing isn’t for the faint of wallet. Trailering, training and entry fees can quickly add up, so try to get the most bang for your buck. As a rule, schooling shows are considerably cheaper than rated horse shows.  Use these to gain experience in the ring and make sure you are ready for "the big time." Many facilities that host rated shows also host schooling shows; this is a win-win situation for you and your checkbook. You can show in the same rings, over the same jumps at a fraction of the cost, just on a different weekend.

5. Make Sure You’re Prepared

If your horse acts like an orangutan at home, things aren’t likely to change once you get to the horse show.  A change in scenery isn’t going to magically make a horse progress in his skill set.  Likewise just because your horse can jump one 3’6” jump doesn’t mean you are ready to go to a show and do a course of 3’6” jumps.  Know your limitations. It’s much better to show at a lower level and be successful, than to put you and your horse in a situation you aren’t prepared for. Everything you do at home should prepare you for the test of a horse show. If you can’t do it at home don’t try to do it at a show.

6. Make a List – Check it Twice

Your horse show packing list will vary based on what type of showing you will be doing. However there are a few basics everyone should take with them including health paperwork (negative Coggins and/or health certificate), membership cards, grooming supplies, tack, first aid kit for horse and rider, horse blankets/sheets and your show clothes. As things can get hectic the day of the horse show, try to make a list ahead of time and load your trailer and car prior to the early morning rush. If you do happen to forget something don’t worry, most likely you will either be able to borrow from someone at the show or buy a replacement from a vendor.

Horse and rider preparing for next show7. Relax.

Horse shows are supposed to be fun. Regardless of what level you compete at, horse shows demand too much time and money for you not to enjoy yourself. Take a deep breath and relax. You’re enjoying a day off the farm with your horse.

If you’re nervous or stressed out, your horse will pick up that negative energy and be nervous as well. Butterflies in the stomach don’t have to be a bad thing. Turn that energy around and use it to walk in the ring and show everyone what you can do. Take a few minutes before you walk into the ring to visualize how you want your ride to be. You can do this in the weeks leading up to the show. Just remember keep it positive, don’t second guess your decisions once you are in the ring.

What’s Important

Remember at the end of the show day, it’s not the ribbon count that matters! If all you want is ribbons, you can go buy a box full. What’s important is knowing that you and your horse gave your all. Make realistic goals that you will take pride in achieving, no matter how the judge rewards your ride.

Best of luck as you saddle up for your next show!

Join Club Master

Related Products

More Products Like This:
Grid View
List View
  • ProElite Senior 50 lb

    SKU 55507051
    ProElite Senior is for the aged horse who needs nutritional support for digestion, appearance and performance. ProElite is an ultra-premium horse feed designed to deliver the competitive edge your horses need to stand above the rest. Our formulas are infused with a special blend of ingredients specifically developed to boost performance, speed recovery time, and enhance appearance from the inside out. When your horses’ health and performance matter most, you want ProElite feeds.
    to see pricing & availability
  • Legends Sport Horse Plus 50 lb

    SKU 55394451
    Legends Sport Horse Plus is a textured, fixed ingredient formula specifically designed for mature horses in moderate to intense performance and show activities. This highly palatable and digestible oat-based feed will provide optimal fuel to maximize your horse's performance. The "Plus" means high fat (10% minimum fat guaranteed) which provides increased calories for stamina and improved body condition under heavy work. Legends is a premium horse feed line, formulated with advanced technology and the most comprehensive current research for your horse's nutritional needs. Legends Sport Horse Feeds are enhanced carbohydrate and fat formulas meeting the needs of performance horses requiring additional stamina and calories.
    to see pricing & availability
  • Triple Crown Senior Formula Textured Horse Feed 50 lb

    SKU 55308051
    Developed specifically for older horses, Triple Crown Senior Formula Textured Horse Feed features a higher nutrient content to compensate for a less than effective digestive system. A higher fat content provides the extra energy older horses need. Plus, it is softer, more easily digested and can be mixed with water to form a mash for horses that experience difficulty chewing and swallowing.
    to see pricing & availability
  • Southern States Fiber Plus 50 lb

    SKU 55460051
    Southern States Fiber Plus is a low starch and high fat feed providing increased feeding safety and high caloric density to maintain good body condition and performance. It is a perfect option for the commercial Horse & Livestock owner, boarding barn or training facility. It is a complete feed for mature horses with maintenance, work and show requirements.
    to see pricing & availability
  • Legends CarbCare Senior 50 lb

    SKU 55394211
    Legends CarbCare Senior is a fixed ingredient formula specifically designed for the special nutritional needs of older horses. This easy-to-chew feed provides added fat, digestible fiber sources, and is a perfect recommendation for older horses and those with metabolic issues and sensitive digestive systems. Legends is a premium horse feed line, formulated with advanced technology and the most comprehensive current research for your horse's nutritional needs. Our Legends CarbCare Feeds are low carbohydrate formula feeds meeting the needs of horses who require a diet low in sugars and starches.
    to see pricing & availability

Find Your Nearest Southern States Location

Sales & Offers