First of all... I am VERY inexperienced with showing... I've been to one real show in my life and it was about 3 years ago. I am finally satisfied with my horse's ability to jump an 18-inch course and to do all the flat work. So, I have decided that in the fall when the shows start up again, I am going to show at some very low levels for experience.
Anyways, my first questions are on tack. (I live in the USA if it makes a difference.)
-First of all, how clean does everything need to be? Of course I'm going to clean it, but I'm wondering at the lower levels if I need to clean it super well (like will it make a difference in my placing?). Also, my saddle is, well, not really show quality. The cantle has some markings from tape (we put tape on the back of the saddle when Jerry was a school horse and wrote his name on it to identify the saddle). I tried cleaning it, but the marks are still there. Will this make any difference?
-Next, I don't have a show saddle pad. Which would be better, this: Dover Saddlery | Dover's Double-Faced Luxo-Fleece Saddle Pad. or this: Dover Saddlery | Half Back Saddle Pad .
-If I decide to carry a crop, should it be black?
Now, on to grooming. Jerry is a white/gray (technically he's gray, but I call him white because that's how he looks. Lol.)
-I know I have to give him a bath and get him as clean as possible, so what shampoos/products would be the best for cleaning him up really nicely? He gets those ugly brown stains from the field that don't come off very easily and he gets grass stains. I use products like Quick Silver. Oh, and on his hocks, he has these brown stains that NEVER come out! If I leave his shampoo on and just let it sit for a while, is it more likely to come off?
-I will be trimming his whiskers. I know how to do that, but while I'm at it, should I bother clipping his ears? I wouldn't be doing high level showing, so should I even bother?
-Do I need to braid his mane and tail? I'm not sure if you have to for low level hunter classes in the USA... And which style of braiding do I use? (Websites with instructions welcome )
-Should I put hoof polish on his hooves?
-How can I make him as shiny as possible without having his saddle sliding all over the place?
Cookies and milk to anyone who read all of that and answered a few!