Preparing for your first horse show can be exciting but scary! Whether you are showing your horse in Western Pleasure, Dressage, Reining, or Jumping, there is a lot of preparation before your competition. While cleaning, packing, and organizing your tack and other equipment are vital steps to preparing for the competition, please consider the following steps!
Warm Up Etiquette
For some riders, the show’s most stressful part isn’t the show itself but the warmup arena. The warmup area can either be full or very empty based on the show’s size, the show’s organization, and the number of horses entered for the competition. If your warmup is on the fuller side, you must show general etiquette, which will help keep you calm and won’t upset other riders.
- Pass left shoulder to left shoulder
- Try not to halt for too long
- Make adjustments to your tack or ask questions away from the gate
- Always look up to avoid a collision
Outfit of Choice
Each riding discipline has its standard uniform, and your outfit will have to fall under that discipline’s guidelines so you can compete. Some shows require a jacket or light breeches while another show will require navy breeches or jodhpurs and a shirt. Regardless of the requirements, all outfits should follow these simple guidelines.
- The outfit is clean, neat, and presentable
- The horse is clean and neat
- All safety gear is in place; boots with heels, a helmet that fits and meets safety standards, and a body protector if you are eventing
Compete an Event You’re Comfortable With
While there is a time to step out of your comfort zone, your first horse show isn’t that place! You want to come out of your first show feeling confident and excited for the next one, so compete with a skill you know you can excel at. If you’re successfully jumping at 70 cm at home, it’s okay to compete at 60 cm. Enter at a level you are confident you can compete without any issues!
Good luck, and don’t be nervous! You’ve got this!