Your first horse show is a scary but exciting day. We have some tips to help it go as well and as smoothly as possible.
With these tips your first show will be a walk in the park and you won’t be able to wait until the next one.
1. Learn Warm Up Etiquette
Warm ups can be stressful for both you and your horse especially if it’s something you’re not used to. Depending on how big the warm up arena is and how many horses have entered, the warm up could be quite busy. If the warm up does happen to be busy and you don’t follow proper etiquette you could find yourself more stressed than you need to be and it could even cause a crash with another rider. A general warm up rule is that riders pass each other left to left, this will avoid any confusion. Another is to not cross over the path of a jump or even speak out loud about what jump you plan to approach. Lastly try to avoid standing still in the warm up wether it to be to adjust tack or take a rug on and off - this can always be done outside of the arena so you are not unnecessarily in the way of other competitors.
2. Know What To Wear
What you need to wear will depend on whether the show is affiliated or unaffiliated and what discipline you plan to compete in.
Whatever you end up wearing you should always make sure it is clean, neat and presentable.
That goes for your horse too - make sure your tack is clean, your horse is washed and plaited if necessary. Lastly, make sure that all of your gear is safety approved as some shows require helmets to be of a certain safety standard etc.
3. Try To Get There Early
There is nothing worse than arriving at a show having to throw on tack, rush your warm up and then go into the ring feeling stressed, not properly warmed up, and unprepared. You may not even have had time to walk the track or revise the test, which is setting off on the wrong foot.
It’s not a nice feeling even if you are used to shows but it is an even worse feeling if you’re new to this. Whatever you do, get up early, get your horse ready early and arrive at the show early.
If you get there and you have time to sit around for two hours, that’s good! It will give you and your horse time to settle and more than enough time to get to know the track/ test and then properly warm up. You may even have a few spare minutes to take a breather before you go into the ring, making sure both you and your horse are as chilled as you can be.
4. Enter Something You’re Comfortable With
There’s nothing wrong with pushing yourself, but a show is not the right time to do it!
You want to maybe even enter at a level below what you are comfortable with, especially for your first few shows. This will give you the best chance to get a few good results under your belt and gain confidence. Once you and your horse are comfortable with shows and have a good show routine, then move up a level and try to progress as long as you feel it is safe to do so and your horse is capable.
5. Remember To Thank Your Horse
Even if things don’t go as you planned, it’s important to thank your horse!
Being able to ride these amazing creatures is a privilege - one we sometimes forget. Even top riders know that they owe everything to their horses. We have to remember that they are trying their best just as much as we are. A little pat as a ‘thank you’ or perhaps even a carrot or a mint after you get off is a good way to be grateful for what they do for us. And remember, if you’re good to them, they’ll be good to you!
Making sure your horse is in their best condition is central to ensuring a successful day out at a show. Alpha Gold will keep them supple and performing at their best. Check it out here!