A horse show essentially consists of a demonstration of horses and ponies that is assessed before a set of judges. These shows are held worldwide and they usually comprise a range of equestrian disciplines for every horse, no matter the level of experience. These events happen once in a while, and they are a great opportunity for you to show off your prized stallion.
Horse shows require more than just your presence – you and your horse are also required to take part in a number of performances where horses compete against each other in the hopes to win it. Attending such an event can be nerve-wracking, particularly if you have no previous experience. You should take the appropriate time to prepare for this beforehand. In this article, we will provide you with six tips to get ready for horse show season, to ensure that you are fully prepared for this.
Always Read the Rule Book Carefully
The majority of horse shows are official events that are under equestrian associations. This means that there are rules every participant must strictly follow. A key step in preparing for the show is to find out the equestrian association that is overseeing the event and read the rule book. This is where all the requirements will be specified. It would be greatly disappointing if you attended a horse show only to be disqualified for not following the rules and arguing that you were not aware will not prevent this from happening.
Get Your Horse (and yourself) Into Condition
Although people outside of this lifestyle do not see this activity as a sport, there is a physical activity element to it and you must prepare yourself and your horse for this. Make sure to exercise and particularly concentrate on your riding muscles. If you live in a colder area, your horse may have lost muscle during this time, and may not be as physically apt to perform in the competition as it should.
The general training routine for stallions to train before demonstrations are to walk for strength, trot for rhythm and balance, and canter for endurance. You should attempt to go out with your horse for a minimum of 30 minutes on a daily basis. Evidently, do not overwork your pet horse as this will cause it to feel exhausted and unmotivated for the competition.
Attend a Show as a Spectator First
If you have never attended a horse show, you may not be fully aware of what it is about. Attending one of these events as a spectator is a good move for you to understand exactly what it entails. Even if you spend a lot of your time reading and researching this subject, it may not start making sense until you actually see it with your own eyes.
Additionally, you can take this chance to meet true equestrian people who are likely to have increased levels of experience that can advise you on what to do. Doing this will result in you feeling more at ease when it is your turn to enter the competition with your horse.
Invest in Appropriate Equipment
Riding a horse requires certain clothing and equipment in order for you to be able to do this appropriately. This activity can also have its risks, therefore it is essential that you invest in this before attending the show. When you read the rule book, as discussed previously, it should also outline what the dress code is for the event and you should follow this strictly.
Generally speaking, you should wear legs that are long enough to prevent your legs from chafing against the saddle. Do not wear anything loose or baggy clothing that could get tangled. You must think about your safety and ensure that you wear a helmet.
Practice Your Moves
When you assess that your horse resumes the appropriate physical condition, you should start rehearsing the dressage figures and jumps. It is worthy of note that you must not teach your horse the full test and complete movements, as this will quickly be spotted by the judges and you can lose significant points for this. In the dressage assessment, your stallion must respond to act as you require him, therefore discipline will need to be trained.
Body Clip Your Horse
The presentation of your horse is very important. Ensure that it looks as magnificent and groomed as possible. Clip your horse if the coat has become saggy during the colder season. You must learn how to do this safely, or you can request a professional to do this for you.
Attending a horse show can be challenging for you and your horse, therefore it is fundamental that you are as ready as possible. Make sure to follow the tips discussed above to guarantee your readiness for horse show season.