Thanks for the reply! I appreciate it.
You just need to make sure your horse is really soft, supple, and in shape before the show. Surprisingly, holding that slow collection is very difficult, and a horse that is out of shape will do the ugly putz-along. I would do a lot of long trotting, changing speeds, two-tracking at the jog, counter-bending at the jog, and getting my cues really snappy and refined. I need her very sensitive to the snaffle, and to be able to squeeze her butt into it without looking obvious.
I've only been riding her in a snaffle for that very reason! She flexes well and is in decent shape. Her weakest moments are when we change direction at the jog (keeping the even, steady pace) so that's what I've been working on. I just need to keep my leg on her the whole time and she'll stay with it. It's a lot more of a work out than I thought it would be!
Have good posture. A really mean exercise for posture is to ride without stirrups, while hanging your spurs off your toes. That will really teach you to sit up tall and put your leg in the correct position so the spur doesn't fall off.
Good tip! Do people usually wear spurs for Western Pleasure classes? Do you HAVE to wear them? I've never ridden her in spurs before.
In a snaffle, you will have to ride two-handed. Do not ride one-handed in a snaffle, it looks very novice. Take a nice hold of the reins, keep your hands pointed in the direction of her mouth, bend your elbows. Pick up contact if you need it, or learn how to push her hip if she drops into a putsy trot..
Is it better to ride in a shank bit for the show? Her old owner has a bit that she said I could use. If I use the shank bit then I only ride with one hand, right?
Only wear your hair down if you have a glorious ponytail. Otherwise, put it up in the hat, looking neat and professional is far more important than "glamour". Band your horse if you have time, it always helps make the neck look nicer.
Speaking of hats... is it better to wear a hat or a helmet? I need to buy a hat. The only one I have is a straw one and I've been reading on here that it is not really suitable for the show ring.