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DissolvedInk 02-13-2014 01:44 AM

Clueless About Showing!
Okay so,
I've had horses for 4 years now, and I've went to watch plenty of horse shows.
I'm 17, and I'm not apart of any 4-H groups
I'm considering showing this year, but I really don't know /anything/ about showing.
I live in the thumb of Michigan, and we always have little local shows. I'd love to take my five year old mare into the shows. Western events. But as I said, I don't know anything about showing.
I'd be showing at a local fair mostly.
So I have a few questions (and I'm guessing they vary depending on what or where unfortunately)
Do I need a trainer? (I'd like to possibly do some gymkhana. barrel racing or something (at a trot the first few times probably :P. as well as some western pleasure and possibly halter?)
What paper work is involved? (I know that coggins need to be done)
What fees are there?
What are the tack requirements? (I ride my girl bitless. She really doesn't respond well to a bit. and are there special tack needed for gymkhana events?)
do you /have/ to stay on the fair grounds? we live just a half hour away. It may be easier to just stay home?

thank you for all your help! I'm sure i'll think of more questions :P

kiltsrhott 02-13-2014 08:44 AM

Assuming Michigan and Pennsylvania run their local shows about the same, then you would be best to direct most of these questions to the show grounds you're interested in. Every show association or individual show is run a little bit differently and follows a different set of rules. Some are more lenient than others.

Where I've been showing my mare lately, it's a local riding club that holds a series of shows throughout the season. There are English and Western classes. English is in the morning and the Western classes start after lunch. They also hold fun shows with gaming and jumping classes. For these shows, competition is fairly stiff but the rules are relaxed. For instance, you could enter any class wearing any tack or clothing, and as long as it's not deemed unsafe, you would not be dismissed from the class, but most of the competitors do compete in traditional tack and formal show attire and these well-presented horse and riders will likely place higher.

I don't know a whole lot about western showing but I don't see any reason why bitless would be illegal, as long as you are using a legitimate, safe bitless bridle, and not something unusually harsh or complicated or some homemade, jerry-rigged contraption.

You do NOT need a trainer to show. I show without my trainer all the time.

Generally, you will need proof of negative coggins (current within the past year) and your horse's vaccination records. Most show grounds require at least a current rabies vaccination, but as long as your horse is vaccinated with all the recommended vaccines for your area, you will be fine. Some clubs or grounds require a health certificate as well. Definitely call the show officials and make sure you have all the required paperwork before going to the show. Usually, shows only require you give your name and contact information and your horse's name. Then they give you a back number. You should NOT need your horse's pedigree or registration information if it is not a breed affiliated show.

Some shows charge a day fee. You pay one flat fee and enter as many classes as you want. The riding club I rode with this past year charged by the class. It was $7 per class. The cost would depend on the show, so this is something you will have to call and ask about.

You do not have to stay on the grounds. If the show is only one day, then everybody will trailer in in the morning, spot clean, tack up and warm up, and then be ready and present for their classes. Once they are done showing for the day, they untack, load up and leave. If the show goes on for multiple days, you are welcome to rent a stall, or just trailer in and work out of your trailer for the days and times you're currently showing. You can talk to the show association or grounds to find out what their specific rules are regarding arrival times and parking.

Zexious 02-13-2014 11:24 AM

^This covers a lot of it. Most of the questions will vary depending on who is putting on the show or the facilities.

Do you need a trainer--Personally, I wouldn't show without one. They will help you in the beginning with where you need to go, what you need to bring with you/how you should prepare, and can help polish your rides before the show. But do you /need/ one? Like, technically? No.

Paperwork--Varies from place to place. kiltsrhott pretty much covered it; and don't forget the entry forms. ^^

Fees--Again, it depends. There are always fees for the classes (usually somewhere between $7-$50, depending on what level you're showing). There is usually a "grounds" or EMT fee, as well as an office fee.
I have shown at some places that required you to rent either (or both) a tack room or a stall, so there's that as well.

Tack requirements--Vary on the level that you are showing. Schooling shows that I have done are more lax, but rated shows are pretty stringent. You can be rated down (so to speak) if your clothing is not deemed appropriate, or up to the level of other riders.

Do you have to stay on the fair grounds--Not at any show I have ever been to.

amberly 02-13-2014 11:54 AM


Originally Posted by DissolvedInk (Post 4754426)
Do I need a trainer?
What paper work is involved?
What fees are there?
What are the tack requirements?
do you /have/ to stay on the fair grounds?

I don't think so. I've never had a trainer and I got reserve champion two years in a row, both years with different horses. I learned from onlineand my own techniques.

You will need to register your horse in the contests you want to show him in. At our 4-h we have never had to have proof of coggins or anything. Of course they need vaccinated, but they never worried aobut that.

Tack requirements?
What ever you are showing.
in western riding you will want show clothes, nice clean saddle and bit. boots, etc.
Showmanship - if you are in 4-h, black pants white top. Not 4-h, just nice show clothes. You will want your best show halter and a clean horse of course!

Staying at the grounds?
In 4-h, you have to keep your horse there.
For people who show in the open classes they can keep their horses there if they want, or just overnight.

I would look at some videos and asked other people who have showed and know what they are doing fro some advice for showing your own horse.

Good luck and I hope this helped!!!

kewpalace 02-13-2014 12:47 PM

Here is my take:

Do I need a trainer? You may "need" one but you don't have to have one. I showed w/out one; now I have one, but not one that generally are at my shows. I find it invaluable to have that objective set of eyes that can see what I'm doing that I don't realize I'm doing and help me correct those things & generally improve.

What paper work is involved? Generally healthy records (if the shows require them; none of the shows I've been to have required them); entry form, release of liability (which is usually on an entry form) and, if you are a minor, your parents/guardian's consent.

What fees are there? Class entry fees, administrative fees (judge fees, drug fee, etc., which can vary depending on the show), haul in fees, depending on the show there could also be stall fees. All fees should be outlined on the entry form and in the show premium (if there is one).

What are the tack requirements? Depends on what rules the shows are run under, as mentioned. While schooling shows may be relaxed in tack/show attaire, I would (and do) ride in what I planned on showing in to get practice in that.

Most shows will allow bitless options in speed events (which would include gymkhana type classes), but they also may have rules as to what type of bitless options are allowed. Call the show to clarify if you cannot find it in the rules the show is run under.

do you /have/ to stay on the fair grounds? Usually not, but most likely you will be charged a daily haul in fee. I've seen these run anywhere from $5 to $25 a day.

Hope you get to show!! It can be really fun!

DissolvedInk 02-13-2014 02:44 PM

Thank you everyone! I'll have to ask my moms friend for the exact ins and outs, as she has been showing for a long time. Thank you so much to everyone who has provided me information! I appreciate it so much! I at least have an idea of what i'll need :)

Saddlebag 02-17-2014 10:14 PM

A bit is required for saddle classes but you can use a hackamore, bosal, halter, etc in games. No matter how your dress, be sure you and your horse appear spotlessly clean. Take a friend to help wipe the bit and your boots just before you enter the ring. Fancy tack doesn't make an impression the other does.

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