Newbie needs some tips for first show!
   

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Newbie needs some tips for first show!

This is a discussion on Newbie needs some tips for first show! within the Western Pleasure forums, part of the Western Riding category
  • Western pleasure tips
  • Tips for first western pleasure show

 
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    09-10-2012, 05:18 PM
  #1
Foal
Red face Newbie needs some tips for first show!

Hi everyone!

I'm new... although I've been lurking around reading some threads LOL! I'm going to be competing in a local western show this weekend with my new QH mare. It is mainly for fun but I'm excited to dress up and get a little competitive. I never had any kind of training in western pleasure (mainly rode english for the past 10+ years) but she has had western pleasure and reining training at a college so I figured I'd give it a try with her. From other WP horses I've seen in person/online she definitely has a nice western pleasure walk and jog. I'm planning on competing in some Sr. Beginner W/J classes. What should I work with her this week to make sure we are somewhat prepared? I don't want to make a complete fool out of myself.

What certain things should I be focusing on to make sure I'm in the right position/stance? I know you want to have good posture, heels down, one arm at your side and the other with a loose rein. I ride her in a western snaffle. Is this okay? I'm going to be getting the hat and show shirt tomorrow to match her pad. I'm borrowing a friend's pair of black chaps. Are you supposed to wear your hair down or up?

Anything else I'm missing? Thanks in advance!
     
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    09-10-2012, 07:43 PM
  #2
Started
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.

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.

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..

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.

Have fun! :)
     
    09-11-2012, 10:04 AM
  #3
Foal
Thanks for the reply! I appreciate it.

Quote:
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!

Quote:
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.

Quote:
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?

Quote:
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.
     
    09-11-2012, 11:44 AM
  #4
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by savy    
Thanks for the reply! I appreciate it.



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!



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.



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?



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.
How old is she? If she's 6 years or over, you will have to ride one handed in a shank bit.

You don't need spurs if you don't normally ride her with spurs. I use spurs because my horse is spur broke.

And yes, ALWAYS keep your leg on her as this is what keeps her round and rated.

Straw hats are fine if it's between Memorial Day and Labor Day, as they are considered a "summer" thing. I have a straw hat that I wear in WP during the summer (I show AQHA), so they perfectly fine.
     
    09-11-2012, 12:07 PM
  #5
Foal
Quote:
How old is she? If she's 6 years or over, you will have to ride one handed in a shank bit.

You don't need spurs if you don't normally ride her with spurs. I use spurs because my horse is spur broke.

And yes, ALWAYS keep your leg on her as this is what keeps her round and rated.

Straw hats are fine if it's between Memorial Day and Labor Day, as they are considered a "summer" thing. I have a straw hat that I wear in WP during the summer (I show AQHA), so they perfectly fine.
Thanks! She is 16 years old so I will need to ride her in a shank bit. Apparently she does great in it... I never rode her in one so I will try her in it one night this week before the show just to make sure.

Too bad it's past labor day. I love my straw hat! LOL. My friend that I'm going to the show with has a black hat so I'll be able to use that one. Should I try and buy an actual show shirt or would a nice, tailored shirt be okay with black chaps? I'm trying to look the part as well as I can without draining my entire bank account
     
    09-11-2012, 12:45 PM
  #6
Started
If it's a local open show, I wouldn't worry about what bit. Whatever is most comfortable. You'll see a lot of training tack going on at an open show, so I doubt they'll knock you down for wearing a snaffle. I have all the time.

I'd get a felt hat. If you're going to be frequently showing, it's good to invest in one. A nice white button-up should be good. I even like to add a little colored scarf for panache, lol. :)
     
    09-11-2012, 01:58 PM
  #7
Foal
Thanks oh vair oh you've been very helpful :)

One more question. Here are the class choices I'm trying to figure out which ones would be the best to sign up for?

Schooling Pleasure W/J

Senior Beginner Pleasure W/J

Open Sr. Trail Course

Open Sr. W/J/L (not sure about this one since she doesn't really have the WP lope)
     
    09-11-2012, 05:48 PM
  #8
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by savy    
Thanks! She is 16 years old so I will need to ride her in a shank bit. Apparently she does great in it... I never rode her in one so I will try her in it one night this week before the show just to make sure.

Too bad it's past labor day. I love my straw hat! LOL. My friend that I'm going to the show with has a black hat so I'll be able to use that one. Should I try and buy an actual show shirt or would a nice, tailored shirt be okay with black chaps? I'm trying to look the part as well as I can without draining my entire bank account
What would look great, is a plain color tailored shirt and a shorter scarf knotted at the neck. VERY professional look. Plain shirts were seen at AQHA shows this year, and they looked great,
     
    09-13-2012, 09:43 AM
  #9
Foal
Thanks GotaDun! I have a nice, white tailored shirt so I think I'm going to use that. I just need to get a belt and a hat. Anyone have any opionions on which classes to sign up for?
     
    09-13-2012, 02:51 PM
  #10
Started
Don't do the loping and don't do the trail. If they have a W/J horsemanship pattern, do that instead. The trail class will have loping over poles unless otherwise specified. Usually "cherry picking" is not allowed. Cherry picking is basically when people who enter both W/J and W/J/L. Usually it's good form to only do W/J and not cross-enter unless you audit a loping class.

Would you try some showmanship for fun too? :)

Besides, any class that is called "open" will have trainers and professionals in it (and everybody and their brother, lol).
     

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