Prepping for my First Show.
Hello everyone! I need your help on getting ready for my first show, this Thanksgiving (Only 3 weeks away!). First, here's some background info...
I've been riding once a week at my stable since the middle of August, about 10 weeks, or 10 lessons. Since arriving, I fine-tuned my posting and sitting trot, and I'm currently learning to canter. This might not seem like much, but it was mostly about learning to care for my horse. I did not know how to care for a horse other than grooming and leading, but now can catch, groom, saddle, bridle, and warm up my horse with little help.
As far as I know, I am riding in my fair's Junior Division walk-trot class, but I'm not sure if it's equitation or hunter on the flat, but I'm prepared for both.
I have a white show shirt and black blazer jacket (From H&M and Wal-Mart), as well as pale beige breeches, black suede half-chaps and paddock boots. My helmet is a black Troxel, I think it's a schooler (Not velvet, but plastic). My barn owner is going to let all her riders borrow velvet covers, stocks and pins, etc. so we don't spend a million dollars on what might be our only show.
The day before the show, Friday, we visit the stable to dress our horses. This includes washing, braiding, all that stuff. Our riding instructor and barn owner, as well as volunteers, are going to help with tack and loading. I assume we get a prep-talk too!
So... I'm still nervous! I've never been allowed to just freely warm-up in an arena, it's always with my instructor. I know to pass left shoulder to left shoulder, but are there any other rules I should be aware of? I think there will be others cantering, but no jumps until later classes. What about before going into the arena to show? What is the etiquette for walk-trot classes? If someone could give me a run-down, from the prep the night before to after the competition, that would be FANTASTIC!
After all that chatter, do you think I'm ready for my first show? I hope I am...
Sorry I'm asking so much, I'm just getting really excited for my first show and can't wait for my instructor to go over it with me!
You have lots of help concerning your show prep with the horses & competing so I won't add anything. But, I will say, get to bed as early as possible the night before your show and in the morning, eat a healthy breakfast, you are an athlete as well as the horse, treat your body right!
If someone could give me a run-down, from the prep the night before to after the competition, that would be FANTASTIC!
1.) I usually try to get most of my stuff packed up into the truck/trailer the night before so I'm not feeling rushed.
2.) I would suggest making a list of all the stuff you need and then running through it as you pack it up.
3.) A mistake I made when I went to my first show was to bring too much stuff. Only bring the stuff you have to have. For example, bring a few brushes for last minute grooming but not your whole grooming supply inventory!
4.) Since you'll be bathing and braiding the night before, it will take some of the pressure off you the day of. At the show don't rush yourself- give yourself plenty of time. It's better to sit around and wait than feel like you have 5 minutes to get changed, warm up, and make it to the arena!
5.) Don't be nervous about the warm up ring. Everyone is out there doing their own thing and you should be too. Focus on your horse and not the other people. Like you said pass left to left and normally cantering horses have the "right of way".
6.) Don't be late for your class. You don't want to be the one person that everyone is waiting on.
And I guess that's all I got for ya off the top of my head. Have fun :)
Night before: basically just like eeo11horse said. Make sure everything you need is by the door, including small, healthy snacks like grapes. They're about the only thing I'm able to eat before shows!
Morning: load everything up. Do last-minute spot checks with whitener on your horse if they need it and make sure your tack is clean. Load up!
Warm-up: don't fool around getting to the arena. Depending on when your class is, you don't need your show coat and can just wear a sweatshirt. Try to stay with others of the same speed and definitely give faster horses right-of-way and pass left-shoulder to left-shoulder. If there are jumps, riders *should* call out "flower box oxer" or "diagonal line" or "outside line: judges booth" to let everyone know where they are going. Tip: as soon as you hear that, get out of the way fast! Nothing's worse than pulling up halfway through a line with someone talking with their trainer on the other side of the jump. And collisions. If you hear a shout, pay attention.
When passing other horses, say "inside dapple gray pink sweatshirt" or "right side bay number 123" if they have their number on. In the schooling arena. If you must pass when you show, quietly say "inside" just so you don't startle the other rider. Always circle if you get caught in a thick group of horses! Circle out!
If your horse starts throwing a tantrum or you feel that you need to quit early, walk to the center of the ring and stand quietly, if you can. They may ask the class to halt and you may exit the ring alone, if needed. But that's not going to happen! ;)
Showing: it's 100% OK to be nervous. If your parents or friends are being too hard on you or are making you uncomfortable, just tell them that you're nervous and need to stay focused. It's ok! I had to have "the show talk" with my parents, too, and now they just leave me be :P
Try to have good ring etiquitte by not crowding up close to other horse's rumps, cutting them off, or staying right beside them so the judge doesn't see them. That's considered very rude and can knock you out of the placings.
Red ribbons around the tail: stay away from those horses. They might kick or lash out, so give them plenty of room.
Stay focused! Don't let "Ohmygosh I'm actually showing" get into your head and cloud your judgement. Ride like you do at home. I know it'll be different, but try your best.
No talking to friends and family while you're in the ring! Make sure they know that!
Drink water or a sports drink. Even just a little bit.
Take care of your horse.
Change into something more comfortable
EAT! Don't starve yourself!
Think about the wonderful time you had and hug your horse and thank him for cooperating because there are a million things he'd rather be doing - like eating, and sleeping!
Make sure everything is loaded up and give your horse another hug.
Give your horse treats when you brush him out and take out his mane!
Let out a long breath and hang any ribbons you won in your room somewhere, write the class you were in and the horse you rode on the back.
If you didn't get a ribbon, then that's ok! If you think you tried your very best and had an amazing time, that's better than a $0.25 piece of cloth!
Last but not least: take a nap. Show days start early and end later in the afternoon. Take a nap.
=) have fun, ride safe, and good luck!
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