I want to begin showing... But I don't know even where to start
So, I just got my first horse last summer. She was honestly kind of bought on a whim from a not so good situation. Before her, I had absolutely no experience with horses. So, I took a bunch of lessons and worked with her (She used to be a trail horse for bigger folks who can't fit on regular horses. She's a 17.5 HH Percheron/quarter horse cross, and about 7 years old.) In the almost year I have owned her, we have both come a LONG way - I am a more competent rider, she trusts me and is (most of the time) happy to go out riding - though, for the last couple of weeks we haven't been out because her bridle broke, and I was having a new one made for her. She is incredibly fast to learn, says the owner of the stable she is at, and I would have to agree.
Anyways. At some point, I would love to show her. She's a beautiful animal, and I think she could do well. The thing is, I don't know *anything* about showing! It seems like a huge, daunting thing. What categories there are, what we would be judged on, what we both need to know.. It seems like in order to show, she needs to be a 100 percent perfect horse, and I a 100 percent perfect rider, and it just seems so hopelessly far away.
So, what would you suggest to a person who wants to get into show business? I plan on taking her to some shows to get her used to it. But what is a good beginning point? Thanks all for reading this!
And another question... In showing, do they judge you on the quality of your tack? She has a perfectly good saddle, but it's definitely not flashy and show worthy...
Get an experienced trainer. They'll know the in's and outs of it all, and will also most likely know the who's who of your area. Your trainer will also be able to help you on the day of the show too.
The judges won't consider name brands (rather, they shouldn't) but certain disciplines and certain shows will have rules regarding what is and isn't allowed. There are usually rulebooks that you can peruse, but your trainer can walk you through and help you with that.
Oh, no, do not think that you and your horse have to be 100% perfect to show! That means you and your horse have to know everything, which is impossible. Honestly, I'm not the best rider and my horse isn't the best either, but I still show! Showing can be a learning experience as well, just depends on how you look at it.
If you want to start showing, find out what you and horse like to do. Do you want to do English or Western? Barrel racing or jumping? You have to remember that your horse might not be the best suited from some disciplines... For example, she's probably a little big for barrel racing, but I don't see why you wouldn't be able to do if you really wanted to do it! Anything's possible, and you could always beat the odds if you really work hard!
After you decide what you want to do, get help. An actual person would be better than just getting information from books and DVDs, but if you don't have that option, research, research, research and practice, practice, practice. Video tape yourself so you can see what you need to work on! Hopefully you'll have somebody you can at least as questions to (like me, I had nobody to really help me get started on barrel racing, but I know people who helped me find a horse and answer my questions).
Taking her to shows to get used to all the noise and commotion is a really good idea. You will probably want to desensitize her at home before hand as well.
About being judged on the quality of tack... for barrel racing and speed, it doesn't matter since you're only being judged on how fast you run. But for others I'm sure you won't if you're at local shows, but at upper-level shows you might be.
Also, I want to give you a good piece of advice. My first year of showing was definitely an amazing learning experience! I did everything by myself and learned so much, I don't regret a thing. I made a ton of mistakes and made myself look bad plenty of times, but I never got discouraged! I knew we would get better... so just don't get discouraged. Don't listen to other people if they tell you you can't do it because you can!
I wish you the best of luck! :)
First go to a few local shows & see what the classes are like.Decide which ones you may like to do & you think would best suit both your horse & you. From there,that is what you aim to work on:-).Most helpful if you have an instructor or friend that has shown to guide you along.
As far as tack,it need not be all blingy. If your horse,you & your tack are clean neat & tidy that is what matters & will be noticed.:-)
And thanks for the advice!
For western, there's barrel racing and all the gaming stuff (keyhole, speed and action, flags, etc), rodeoing, reining, western pleasure, penning, cutting, roping, equitation/horsemanship.
English-wise you can do jumping, dressage, endurance, eventing, equitation, and more!
And of course there's trail and then showmanship and halter.
What you should do is watch videos of everything and see if something that looks like fun.
Try going to one of your local 4-H shows and watching the classes there. I know in our area, many of the 4-H shows are open and have a 'super senior' division for adults. It could be an easy way to get started, and 4-H kids tend to be very helpful. I know our jump shows have a ground pole division, an 18" cross pole division and a 2' division so the kids (and adults) can get started with the easier stuff.
Okay! After reading a quick description of each, I think Western Pleasure sounds like it would be the best beginner's show (Especially because several people show at once). I'm not sure she has the conformation for it, as Wikipedia says they need a certain build, but I guess I'll find out. My second opinion is maybe Jumping... But not super competitive intense jumping, I'll stick with the smaller stuff. I'll just have to start by watching TONS of videos about it I guess!
If you want to do higher-level shows, then conformation will start to matter more, but just starting... don't worry about it, just get the ropes down first. :) You never know, you might like jumping. Just start with small stuff for now and if you like it and you feel your horse can move up, go for it!
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