The complexities associated with equestrian events can be off-putting. And these difficulties will be no more apparent than to those preparing to take the plunge and attend their first show. To combat any worries or questions you might have, we have assembled this short guide to ensure you are properly prepared.
Specialize in One Class
The sheer range of classes available to horse owners can be intimidating. Whether you love the fanfare and performance of dressage or can’t get enough of the adrenaline rush show jumping gives you, the prior preparation you need to make for different classes can vary dramatically, making narrowing down exactly where your interests lie essential. Dressage for example requires that you wear a black coat, white shirt and stock tie, white or beige breeches whilst show jumping require you to wear a navy hunt coat, a light-colored show shirt, tan breeches, and black tall boots such as the Ariat® Ladies Heritage riding boots.
As you can probably gather, it is most economically viable to commit to one discipline (as well as far less stressful!).
Prepare, Prepare, Prepare – Especially when it comes to equipment.
Because you will more than likely be lugging around a heavy bag loaded with equipment, you want to make sure that the event itself is worth the trials and tribulations of actually making it to the show. One way you can ease one of the already mounting stresses, is to pack everything well in advance. There would be nothing worse than undergoing weeks and weeks of preparation to realize you have left a vital piece at home.
When you are at the show itself, it would be prudent to keep as your gear as organised as possible. Under the stresses of competition it is far too easy to misplace a piece of equipment.
Replicate Show Conditions in Training
Making sure your horse is attuned to the environment of competition is vital. Seemingly subtle differences can easily unsettle your horse.
One of the more obvious differences that you can prepare for is the number of people. As best you can, try to get your horse used to performing in front of as many people as possible so that the crowd at the show will be less likely to be unnerving your horse.
You should try to replicate competition conditions as much as possible including wearing exactly the same equipment you would on the day of the show. Not only does this mean you will be able to familiarize yourself with the equipment, your horse will also be more attuned to what is to be expected on the day of the competition.
Knowing what arena your horse is expected to perform in and which area is best for them to roam in prior to the competition is vital to ensuring your horse is comfortable on the day. This will also nullify the prospect of any unnecessary added stress caused by last minute preparations. Remember you can be unsettled as much as your horse can be, and they are adept at picking up on any anxiety or tension you experience on the day.
All that’s left to say is good luck! And try your best to enjoy it!
Are there any tips that we have left out that you think belong on this list? Let us know!