What is a day at a horse show like?
From morning to evening. :)
Depends on the show. We show small local shows. If we haul in the night before, we bathe the horse that night, feed, and head to the hotel. Then it goes something like this.
5:30 a.m. Wake up, eat.
6:30 a.m. Head to the barn and feed.
7:00 a.m. Quick groom and lunge.
- mom or dad lunges while my daughter gets dressed.
7:30 a.m. Finish grooming, tack up (Halter first).
8:00 a.m. Show starts
Here, we stand around and wait for our first class. We may practice our showmanship pattern in the warm up area while we wait. I'm constantly following my daughter and her horse around with grooming tools to keep them looking their best.
Halter and Showmanship usually happen in the a.m.
11:00 - 12:00 Horse in stall, rider in "regular" clothes, lunch for humans...hay and water break for horse. Rider works on memorizing equitation and horsemanship patterns.
12:00 Tack up for riding classes.
12:15 - 12.30 Lunge again while rider gets dressed.
12:30. - 1:00 Rider in saddle, warm up.
After lunch and warm up - stand around a lot waiting for classes. Once English is done, tack and costume change for Western Riders.
Ground crew (Mom and Dad) work on cleaning up equipment and loading whatever is not needed into trailer for a quick get away. One ear on arena for daughters classes. Be on call to bring water/snacks as necessary.
After classes are done, finish putting up equipment, hose off horse, rider changes back to "regular" clothes.
Load horse and head home to barn.
Unload horse, equipment, unhook trailer.
Go thru drive thru for human's dinner.
Fall into bed exhausted.
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I've only gone to local dressage shows. Here's how it usually goes for me-
We haul in the night before, prepare the stall (shavings, water, and hay) then get the horses settled in. Go out to eat (or order pizza in) then go back to the barn and ride before the arenas close for the night; this is more to get the horses a chance to see the strange new arena than to actually do any schooling. Then we put the horses away, pick the stalls (my horse, though very neat at home, seems to enjoy sleeping in his poop when in strange places, so I try to give him as little opportunity to do that as possible), fill up the hay net and water bucket, and go to bed. If it's not too hot, I'll put a stable sheet and neck sleezy on my horse to try and minimize the poop spots.
I usually "camp out" on the grounds if allowed so I usually wake up early. First thing is to re-fill the hay net and water, then clean up the stall. Then I take my horse and a bottle of horse shampoo to the nearest hose and clean off all the spots where he still managed to sleep in his poo :-| There are usually several other owners of white horses there, doing the same morning ritual. Then I'll re-do my horse's braid- I leave it in a running braid all the time, and do the same for shows with only a slight variation, so I've gotten pretty quick at it. I'll attempt to do the forelock, but if someone's not around to hold his head, my horse is usually too interested in looking around to keep his head still long enough. Sometimes I braid the top of my horse's tail, but usually not. I trim the bottom of it so it's straight, and then he's back to his stall until about an hour before his first class. At that time, I'll give him another light brushing and tack him up, then get myself dressed and ready. About 30 minutes before my class I'm in the warm up arena. We ride the test, and then go back to the barn. If I have another class within about an hour or two, I'll leave the saddle on with the girth loosened, remove the bridle and let him munch on hay, then go back to the warm up arena 20-30 minutes before the next class. When we're done I unsaddle him and let him hang out in the stall. I'll try to catch other friends' rides as I can through out the day, hang out in the barn aisle, etc. I check on my horse's water and hay levels pretty frequently and pick out his stall almost as often. If there aren't concessions on site, I or someone else with us will make a food run for lunch. Then we all go out for dinner after the show's over for the day, come back and ride before the arenas close for the night, and start it all over on the next day.
The second day of competition is pretty much the same, except that we'll leave as soon as everyone in that particular trailer has finished and gotten their scores.
One word: Boring.
You can be standing around for absolutely hours waiting for your class to start! Other times you say... Ok, I'll get there 15 minutes before my class is 'supposed to' start. Then I'll only really be waiting an hour.
You get there, and your class is just about to start. :P
It totally depends on the discipline, the level of show, etc.
For me at a horse trial, it typically goes like this:
Wednesday--finish prep, last lesson (jump either T or W, flat the other), bathe horse, finish loading last of gear, feed, hay, etc.
Th--arrive at barn, feed horse, hook up trailer while horse is eating, put on shipping boots, load up, head out.
Arrive at show grounds and, if needed, get oriented. Set up stall, park trailer, put horse in stall. Ensure water, hay. Unload trailer, clean it out, etc. Get settled. Check in and get number. Depending on coach's schedule, either ride or set up tent.
Ride includes long warm up, lots of walk, letting horse work out kinks from travel, see the show grounds, etc. then a flatwork short lesson with a test run-through.
Afterwards untack and clean horse, tack, etc.
Somewhere in there I would also walk the XC course at least once, possibly a second time with coach depending on her schedule. I always walk it once on my own without her. If I have time, I walk it a third time after her walk on my own, thinking through her advice and making my own plans.
If I have an early dressage time or it isn't too late, I braid my horse. Depending on what others in the team and coach need, I spend all my spare time helping others with braiding, feeding, watering, tacking, cleaning, etc. At the end of the day everything should be organized and put away, ready for the next day.
When all that is done, I eat (either go out with team or cook on camp stove) dinner, walk the horse and let her graze and stretch one last time, wrap her legs, then hit the sack with a good book in my tent. I make sure I have charged my cell phone and have set my alarm clock (check the batteries) before going to sleep.
Friday: I wake up early to take care of washing and morning routines. I dump feed (typically for the whole team since I am already on grounds) and get myself ready for the day. I take the horse out for a morning stretching walk (brisk). Then if needed I braid.
I help the team and coach get ready and, at the appointed time, I get my own horse ready and head to warm up, ride my test, then untack. Once horse is cared for (including unbraiding), I clean and put away dressage gear and get out gear for tomorrow's jumping. I spend the rest of the day watching, helping, grazing the horse, etc. I try to take some down time, enjoy the time with friends, etc. I also make sure everything is highly organized for the next day, check my scores and go over my test with coach if possible, do some shopping, and just have fun.
Then it's time to walk my course one last time. This is more to refocus me than anything else and to soothe the nerves. The jumps look smaller each time you walk it. I can reaffirm my plan, make sure I have mental prep for contingencies, check my footing, eye lines, etc. one last time, and generally make sure I am up for anything. Then it's dinner, grazing the horse, wrapping, hanging out, trying to relax, etc.
Saturday--if I have a super early ride time (before 9 or 9:30) I don't feed and just spend the morning checking hay, water, putting in studs, taking her for a walk, etc. Generally I try to get things done early (studs, boots) and have time to leave the horse alone so that I don't stress her out.
Then it's XC time! I ride, then do my after care (wash and liniment--legal only--ice boots, magnets, poultice, etc.) and clean and put everything away. EVERYTHING is packed and put away CLEAN except what I need for the next day. By this time scores are posted, so I check those so that I can protest if needed.
I spend the rest of the day watching, cheering on team, helping, grazing and walking horses, shopping, etc. If possible I try for a nap in there somewhere. Before dinner another brisk walk, some grazing time, and at least one jog to ensure she's moving well.
There is often a competitor's party in the evening. I go to that, then walk the SJ course if it's up--sometimes with friends or coach, depending on show-- then take off poultice and wraps, walk and graze horse. Now if I am in the ribbons I might braid the horse. I jog her and make sure everything still looks sound (probably not for the first time!) and that she seems comfortable, then put her up for the night and crash.
Wake up and feed, immediately begin packing up tent and stuff while horse is eating (unless super early ride time).
Jog the horse and ensure everything is good. Get everything ready to go except the bare minimum. If needed, walk the course again (depending on coach's schedule). If possible watch a few riders go to see how course is riding. Get horse ready to go, long warmup, then show jump! If in ribbons, stick around for ceremony. Immediately take care of horse, let her relax while I finish packing everything (put away clean), then drive home.
Upon arrival at home ideally turn horse out, even if just in arena, for a bit while I unpack. I try to at least get most stuff out of trailer even if it's just tossed into tack room. Check on horse, and if all is well, head home. Toss everything from car on bedroom floor.
Monday: If I have reason to worry or nobody I trust at barn to check mare, go to barn before work. Then go to work in zombie mode. After work go to barn, check on horse, leave her alone to rest, and finish all cleanup. Head home and take care of pile on living room floor, including doing all laundry.
Tuesday: Back to regular riding routine!
Usually Wednight night/afternoon we load up and head to the show grounds. Set up the stall and trailer, lunge/ride, bathe/band.
Thursday is usually halter/showmanship (If I'm feeling energetic) then it's an english day after that and I only do equitation and occassionally a rail class so it's get up, feed and clean stalls and eat breakfast... then hurry up and wait.
Friday is usually jumping and then western. I do horsemanship and trail and sometimes a rail class (still mastering the lope/canter - wants to travel on the forehand). So again... hurry up and wait...
Saturday is halter/english usually depending on the show circuit.
They usually have an exhibitor dinner that day.
Sunday is usually jumping and trail/horsemanship for me...
Pack it up and go home....
There is usually a barrel racing event and reining on two of those days which I love to watch....
It's a lot of waiting but also tons of fun and when we go to lexington there is a safari park that I always like to go to during the downtimes....
Ususaly for me it involves a monster washing session the night before.
Morning of a show:
up at 5am - shower, hair back and netted, dressed
5.30am leave home
6am chuck feeds in for ponys.
6.30am load pony onto lorry, double check all nessecery kit is in lorry.
Drive to show.
7.30am arrive and plait up horse, groom and tack up(if drive is only an hour if it is longer then I aim to arrive 2 hrs before the class)
8.30am start warming up pony
9.10am final clean up of pony, change into show kit for me
9.30am in Ridden class.
10.30am class ends, ride back to lorry, make pony comfy, cuddles and kisses etc.
11am have breakfast.
some time in the after noon I normaly have either anouther ridden class or inhand so repeat the above but minus the plaiting and with only 20 mins of warm up for a ridden class.
Home by about 6pm normaly.
Obviously all the above times depend on what time my class is going in!
My times are pretty spread out. I am at the barn and fair all day though so I am there if my horse needs me or something or if there is an emergency and all the horses need to be taken out.
But all three or four days I am around and in and close to the barns. I eat my lunch there, I hang there.
Sometimes when I am bored I will groom him.
I give him baths the day before the showings because everyone are at the stalls the day of.
A few minutes before show - or even just when I groom him - I will shin up any markings they have, shave their whiskers, and get them show ready ahead of time.
Other than that - pretty boring.
Overall: Pretty boring.
If it's so boring, why are some of you showing??
Eventing has a nice flow to it, at least for me,
6:30 - get my butt out of bed
8:00 - load horse and go (loaded all my gear the night before so I can sleep longer)
9:00 - pick up my show packet and get my horse groomed and tacked for dressage, ride a 20 minute warmup and do dressage test
Bring horse back to trailer, set him up with hay and water, and go walk my XC and stadium courses.
Spent some downtime with horsey in my favorite foldout chair, some drink and chocolate until it's time to get tacked up for XC.
Ride XC and try to come down from the adrenaline high before stadium so I don't charge around the course like a missile.
Ride stadium, untack and hose off horsey, wait for officials scores to be published, pick up ribbon where applicable, go home.
Usually back at the barn by 3:00. On couch taking seriously good nap by 4:30.
I won't go into detail but basically, you get up early, work your butt off grooming & warming up. Then it's hurry up and wait, then you ride, then you wait s'more. Then you collect your prizes & hopefully check, load up your stuff & horse and meet your coach & other competitors at a bar & grill to celebrate!
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