09-24-2012, 12:56 AM
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I'm going to presume that from your previous threads (e.g. 'Getting her to canter) that you are new to this horse and are still a beginner rider.
What type of show is it (what is the actual name of the show? Do you want to do ridden or led classes?
I think that it would really help you if you had someone more experienced go along with you, specially if your horse is new to showing as well. Attending your very first competition can be both a stressful and confusing time for both the horse and rider. Having someone who is more experienced in showing means that you will spend a whole lot less time stressing about filling out nominations, walking courses (if your doing jumping), understanding workouts, or preparing your horse.
Also, if you can't take someone more experienced. Can you take a 'horsey friend' that can help you tack up, untack, almost like a groom. Maybe you could arrange it so that you can act as a groom for them at another show?
You need to find out things such as - do you need to plait up the horse? You want all your gear, including your horse to be as clean as possible. Make sure you wash your horse before hand and make sure that they stay clean. So, stabling or rugging them if it is an option? You need to make sure that all your gear is clean - saddle, bridle, bit (is a key point, which people don't normally realize), boots, your show clothes. Depending on the class, you will need to wear different attire, if it is a casual open show - you may just need a neat polo shirt. But, check on the programme or on the association running the events website, you should be able to find it there.
Know the horse you are showing with well - this will help you develop an idea of how they are going to respond to the showing environment. Are they the type of horse who is usually spooky or misbehaves, or are they normally quiet and your classical 'school horse' type. Practice, don't just 'rock up' without schooling a 'mock' of the classes which you are entering in. You need to be comfortable with what you are asking the horse to do, because when you're in the showing environment and asking the horse to do something that you haven't practised in six months - everything will be so much harder.
Don't set yourself huge expectations - afterall, it is the first show for both you and your horse. Don't worry about the other competitors, compete against yourself. Set yourself a goal to 'have fun', or 'be ready for my classes on time'. Instead of having a goal like 'Place in the top three for - this event - '.
At the show, breathe. Relax - if you are tense as a rider, the horse is going to be tense as well. To stop yourself from being so nervous - be organized. This way you don't have to rush around trying to find things, or clean things at last minute. Put all your show forms in an envelope and have them with you - in the glove box of your car or somewhere. If you are hiring a float (horse trailer) from somewhere, organize to pick it up the night before. This way you can prepare by putting your hay bags and tack in, instead of rushing around to do it the morning of the show. I always put some 'baggy clothes' such as track pants and a jumper over the top of my jodhpurs, that way I just have to put my show shirt & jacket on.