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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'll start by saying I have never been the 'horse show mom' up to this point. I either had my parents helping me at shows, a group of other parents helping me at shows, or showing by myself. Well, we are fast approaching my two siblings first horse shows and I have been scrambling to get them show clothes and the proper tack (on a budget too, which has made it difficult). I am waiting on some things in the mail as well (body shine, quic braid, leather cleaning products, the works).

I want this to be as easy and stress-free as possible, and most importantly FUN! They haven't been riding for too long so we will mostly just be going for experience and to learn what shows are all about. Now, what I'm not prepared for is how hectic it is going to be. Just looking at our first show that I think would be a good intro show, we (me, my brother, and my sister) would be showing in showmanship classes 4, 10, 11, 12, english classes 17, 18, 21, 25, 26, 28, and western classes 33, 34, 37, 43, 44, 46. This isn't including sweepstakes classes for W/T (siblings classes) or my age sweepstakes either, which would add an additional 4 classes to our already busy schedule.

Just for a more detailed example of the classes (same order of go for english classes):
33 W/T Western Pleasure 13 & up (brother's class)
34 W/T Western Pleasure 12 & under (sister's class)
37 Western Pleasure Ages 20-39 (me)
43 W/T Western Horsemanship 13 & up (brother's class)
44 W/T Western Horsemanship 12 & under (sister's class)
46 Western Horsemanship Ages 20-39 (me)

Did I mention we all share one single horse? An option is for me to also not show, but I wanna show too :(

My plan at the very least is to have a whiteboard with each kids' classes listed on it, so everyone knows where everyone is supposed to be. I need to label each kids' stirrup holes so there isn't any scrambling to find the right hole as we swap kids between classes. I'm planning on squeezing my big bum into the kids' saddles so that we don't have to worry about swapping tack. I'm making up a show-side tote with all of the essentials (baby wipes, body shine, hoof oil, etc) so that everything is there and ready when we need it. Each kid will have their own labeled garment bag with the stuff they need to wear and when.

But, I'm sure at least some of you have your own tips and tricks that will make these busy days easier for me this summer. Or you could also say that I'm crazy too, because I'll agree with you.
 

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That is a lot of classes for one horse! I hope your horse is conditioned to the max. Is this the horse's first show? When I have a lot classes when I just take one horse for an overall high point, a tip I read from world champion, Lynn Palm, is to get off your horse between classes to give them a break and keep them energized. It does work. My fellow competitors that are in the warm up pen, constantly schooling between classes do not usually fare so well. I warm up my horse once in the morning, my schooling is done at home. I might take him to the warm up to practice an element in a pattern to familiarize myself, or after a tack change to get my sweet spot on the saddle as I have saddles I use just for shows.
If you notice your horse getting dull, if it were me, I would scratch my classes and let the kids show. You don't want to sour a horse to showing. And yes, have fun!
 

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Honestly, I think that's too many classes for one horse. When my daughter shows, she signs up for 9 classes max, usually less. That's one rider on one horse. Last summer she tried to show on two horses, and I was show secretary so could not help her much (yes, the next step after show mom is show organizer, did anyone tell you that? LOL). It went very badly (she didn't have enough time to warm up and her horse refused). I do not recommend it, especially for a first show. 3 classes per participant should be enough. I get that you want to show too, but keeping it manageable will make it much more fun for everyone.

We have a system now for shows. Everything is packed the night before of course, and some bags stay packed for all of show season (what we call the "human bag" contains travel sized sunscreen, bug spray, extra hairnets and bobby pins, bandaids, rain ponchos, safety pins, small portioned snacks and of course water bottles). We keep all the horse stuff in a large trunk. The truck and trailer are packed and ready to go first thing in the morning, the horse bathed and braided the night before (except the tail). We have a checklist on the passenger seat of the truck which we run through before pulling out. Class lists, and schedules are printed out. We always bring a lot of extras (my daughter once got her period in the middle of a show - thankfully we had another pair of breeches!). You just learn to expect the unexpected. It means having a very full load to bring and haul back, but once you're at the show, there is no time to go pick up forgotten items. We always bring food too since my daughter is vegan, and I'm not a fan of what is sold at show canteens. Lots of juice and sugary drinks help keep us energized and hydrated. In the back of the truck we load folding chairs (nice for sitting by the trailer with the horse) and a manure fork, along with extra hay. It is always an exhausting day, but if you are well prepared, it helps a lot.

I think our saving grace is the checklist because you just won't remember everything. You can download them online and then personalize them. And if you do decide to stick to the plan and sign up for all those classes, I'd recommend you keep the option open to scratch if it is becoming too much for the kids or the horse. My daughter has done that when she could see her horse was starting to tire, and I was very proud of her for putting him first. Have fun!
 

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I am definitely NOT a mom, horse show or otherwise, but have a lot of experience managing logistics of horses, volunteers, parents, and riders at fun shows for a therapeutic riding program. So I am sympathetic to all the juggling that would have to happen to make the above work.

To me, it seems like way too much, especially for a first show. As much as it sucks, I would recommend that the first time either ONLY you ride, or ONLY they ride, but not all of you. If you are the rider and there is someone tagging along who could supervise them, then they can absorb the atmosphere and the requirements by watching what you do. They'd probably be more engaged if they were riding and you were support staff, and you could teach one what's happening while the other is in the ring.

Also- that seems like a lot of classes for just one horse, even a seasoned horse. I'd personally be thinking about ways to cut back to keep the horse happy and likely to still have perky ears at the end of the day.

I hope whatever way you decide to handle it, you all have fun :)
 

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I'm going to echo the other concerns that that is a lot of classes for one horse. However, there are variables.

For example, if there are only 3 contestants in the WP 13& up, well, it's not going to take very long and horse isn't going to work to hard, because the judge should be quick. But..... if there is 15 entered? Oh boy. Your horse is going to be SHOT doing that many classes.

Does this tend to be a show with a lot of entries in every class?
Or small with only a few?

I think that's a big deciding factor on if this is going to be too much for one horse.

I myself will go to an all day show with English first, Western second, and speed last, and I could not imagine doing the whole day on 1 horse (I have 2 that I split classes with). It's just too much.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Commenting on the "too many classes for one horse" comments - I think you are probably right, especially for a kid's first show. I think I will probably end up sitting the first show out, other than schooling Toofine at the beginning, just to make sure his head is on right. After I typed this up, I also debated whether or not to show Toofine in canter classes at all anymore since he is 23. He is fully sound with no signs of arthritis, but I also want him to be comfortable and usable for as long as possible, preferably until is last days.

Altering the class schedule above to reflect me not riding, he'd be in 1 halter class and 3 showmanship classes, followed by a 20 minute break. Then he'd be in 4 W/T english classes, followed by a 30 minute break, ending the day with 4 W/T western classes. There are 2 classes I'd really, really like to try, but that can wait until the day of. That brings us down to 12 for sure class, 4 of which will be in-hand only (and lasting for pretty much less than 2 minutes each).

Really, the solution would be getting another horse (or training Minnie up to be safe enough) but that just isn't in the cards this year. If the kids stick to riding through the winter, I think my parents and I are all on board with leasing something next year (if not buying if a super good deal comes up for the perfect horse).
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I'm going to echo the other concerns that that is a lot of classes for one horse. However, there are variables.

For example, if there are only 3 contestants in the WP 13& up, well, it's not going to take very long and horse isn't going to work to hard, because the judge should be quick. But..... if there is 15 entered? Oh boy. Your horse is going to be SHOT doing that many classes.

Does this tend to be a show with a lot of entries in every class?
Or small with only a few?

I think that's a big deciding factor on if this is going to be too much for one horse.

I myself will go to an all day show with English first, Western second, and speed last, and I could not imagine doing the whole day on 1 horse (I have 2 that I split classes with). It's just too much.
Luckily I am friends with two judges, who are familiar with the shows that I am considering. Both agree that the first show I chose is super low-key and would be great as a first show. Both said that class sizes would likely be small for the classes I choose for them as well. Based on the show I went to earlier this year, the max class size was 20 for the "big" show classes (western pleasure and ranch pleasure) but most other classes were 7 people or less pretty much (especially for the youth W/T classes).

On a side note, I was surprised how tired the horse I showed a few weeks ago was after only doing 6 classes with me. When I still showed regularly with Toofine, we'd show in pretty much everything, and he would still be bright eyed and energetic at the end of the show - but that's just the horse he is. I am prioritizing his well-being, and he will be given many breaks with offerings of water, water + electrolytes, and lots and lots of hay. I'm going to scope out the fairgrounds soon and see what areas will provide lots of shade too.
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
That is a lot of classes for one horse! I hope your horse is conditioned to the max. Is this the horse's first show? When I have a lot classes when I just take one horse for an overall high point, a tip I read from world champion, Lynn Palm, is to get off your horse between classes to give them a break and keep them energized. It does work. My fellow competitors that are in the warm up pen, constantly schooling between classes do not usually fare so well. I warm up my horse once in the morning, my schooling is done at home. I might take him to the warm up to practice an element in a pattern to familiarize myself, or after a tack change to get my sweet spot on the saddle as I have saddles I use just for shows.
If you notice your horse getting dull, if it were me, I would scratch my classes and let the kids show. You don't want to sour a horse to showing. And yes, have fun!
This will be Toofine's first show in two years, but we have been show partners for 13 years. He's a super reliable guy and he doesn't need a bunch of warming up, that will be more for the kids to warm-up.

I agree with the tip, and I will be echo'ing it to my siblings. I read once that your horse is not a chair, meant to be sat on all day at a horse show. If you are sitting around with time to kill, you get off that horse, loosen their girth, and let them hydrate/eat/rest.
 
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I used to show in 14 classes at each show. As @beau159 said, I used to ride English, then Western, then speed. I didn't have to change riders, but my horse managed it OK. My horses were always super fit. I didn't have anyone helping me. There were usually about 14 riders in each class.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Honestly, I think that's too many classes for one horse. When my daughter shows, she signs up for 9 classes max, usually less. That's one rider on one horse. Last summer she tried to show on two horses, and I was show secretary so could not help her much (yes, the next step after show mom is show organizer, did anyone tell you that? LOL). It went very badly (she didn't have enough time to warm up and her horse refused). I do not recommend it, especially for a first show. 3 classes per participant should be enough. I get that you want to show too, but keeping it manageable will make it much more fun for everyone.

We have a system now for shows. Everything is packed the night before of course, and some bags stay packed for all of show season (what we call the "human bag" contains travel sized sunscreen, bug spray, extra hairnets and bobby pins, bandaids, rain ponchos, safety pins, small portioned snacks and of course water bottles). We keep all the horse stuff in a large trunk. The truck and trailer are packed and ready to go first thing in the morning, the horse bathed and braided the night before (except the tail). We have a checklist on the passenger seat of the truck which we run through before pulling out. Class lists, and schedules are printed out. We always bring a lot of extras (my daughter once got her period in the middle of a show - thankfully we had another pair of breeches!). You just learn to expect the unexpected. It means having a very full load to bring and haul back, but once you're at the show, there is no time to go pick up forgotten items. We always bring food too since my daughter is vegan, and I'm not a fan of what is sold at show canteens. Lots of juice and sugary drinks help keep us energized and hydrated. In the back of the truck we load folding chairs (nice for sitting by the trailer with the horse) and a manure fork, along with extra hay. It is always an exhausting day, but if you are well prepared, it helps a lot.

I think our saving grace is the checklist because you just won't remember everything. You can download them online and then personalize them. And if you do decide to stick to the plan and sign up for all those classes, I'd recommend you keep the option open to scratch if it is becoming too much for the kids or the horse. My daughter has done that when she could see her horse was starting to tire, and I was very proud of her for putting him first. Have fun!
I will pass on being a show organizer! I remember your thread from last year...No thank you! LOL.

I'm glad you reminded me - I need to set up a "human bag" of all of the things. I have a pretty decent stash of bug spray, sun screen, hairnets, bobby pins, but I will need hairspray, safety pins, a small first-aid kit, definitely an epi-pen if my mom comes (life-threatening bee allergy, and we all know about horse shows + bees), etc...

The healthy snacks and lunch are a priority for me. I for one had awful nerves when I started showing, so anything not super simple and healthy would, uh, mean for a really bad day with bathroom trips. I really like keeping a cooler of pasta salad, fruits and veggies, and healthy drinks during horse shows.

Folding chairs!!! That is something I would have forgotten. I'm trying to remember if we still have a canopy at home as well...

Up until this point, I have never actually made a checklist, but now that there is 2/3 people showing it is definitely a must-have.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Another option, looking towards our second planned show I could bring Minnie too and show her instead of Toofine. It would mean that our classes go 22 (Toofine), 23 (Toofine), 24 (Minnie), but it would be easier on Toofine and also get Minnie some experience off-property...That can be decided when it comes closer though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Since I've received many packages this week, I figured I'd update you all with how things are coming show prep wise.

In the human tote we have:
  • Pens
  • Safety Pins
  • Bobby Pins
  • Hair ties and nets
  • Makeup and makeup brushes
  • Sunscreen (70 and 30 spf)
  • Bandaids
  • Ibuprofen
  • Allergy medication
  • Makeup remover wipes
  • Baby wipes
  • Extra chicago screws
  • A folder with Coggins (and I will be adding vet contacts/addresses that are local to each of our shows)
In the horse grooming tote we have:
  • New set of brushes ONLY for shows
  • Travel size shampoo and conditioner
  • Hoof polish
  • Grooming rags
  • Junk rags
  • Fly Spray
  • Chain to be added to a lead if needed
  • Leather cleaner and conditioner
  • QuicBraid
  • Bodyshine Spray
And in the bigger horse tote:
  • Show saddle blankets (english and western)
  • Saddle covers
  • Sleezy
  • Fleece Cooler
  • Tub of Electrolytes
  • Hooks to hang buckets if stalling
  • Hanging racks to hang things if stalling
  • Horse treats
And I also have a extensive first aid kit, that I am still working on updating but it has things like:
  • Triple Antibiotic
  • Vet Wrap
  • Horse eye drops
  • Rubber gloves
  • Syringes
  • Tube of electrolyte
  • Duct tape
  • Electrical tape
  • Hoof poultice pad
  • Betadine
  • Cotton Roll
  • First aid booklets
  • Bandage scissors
I know most times, if something happens that needs this extensive of a first aid kit a vet would be involved, but lately vets aren't doing emergency calls around me. Between this kit and my knowledge of first aid, we would do okay without a vet for several hours, if at all.

Things I've realized I'm missing from creating this list:
  • Braiding bands
  • Banamine (maybe Bute too?)
  • Garment bags
  • Grain bowls or bag (if stalling)
  • Buckets for water
  • Purple shampoo
I am tempted to throw my tub of poultice into one of the totes, since Toofine deserves all of the care in the world after being the best show pony ever. It will definitely come with us for overnight shows, if we attend any.

It's coming together! We are three weeks away from our (the kids) first horse show!
 

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Have to say 20 plus classes on one horse, first time out for riders...to much.
A easy way to do stirrup hole change is change the leathers with the rider...slip off and slip on. Done.

Pick one set of classes and do them...pleasure or horsemanship and if you want to do showmanship...the horse better have one sweet disposition.
This is supposed to be fun...that many classes and you are already stressed and not at the show venue yet..
Have your sister do pleasure and brother do horsemanship or vice versa will spread the classes out a bit and relieve some pressure.
But they not show the same type class...so each gets to shine and be special...both do showmanship if they know the patterns called for well.
As for you...let the spotlight be on your siblings, I would bow out.
See how the first show goes with you being the "show mom" and managing all of this...
Next time reduce the classes to the same kind of thing and not do showmanship cause now you will be astride and riding too..
Your classes should be later in the day as it use to be youngest went after showmanship then they built through the day in age and difficulty..
But 20+ classes, even simple ones is to many for any animal and far to long a day for first-time children showing..
🐴...jmo...
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
We are a week out from their first horse show, as long as the weather continues to cooperate and doesn't go above 90 again. Two weekends ago, we had a very casual 'mock show' at the barn. It has been discovered the both of my siblings get nervous in front of crowds (and our crowd was probably 15 or less!). I've been really talking to them about why we are doing what we are, in an attempt to decrease their anxiety.

In addition to that, we have a little "huddle" every weekend, to just discuss different things about horse shows. I've been posing open ended questions to see what they have learnt and what they have yet to learn. Some of the big questions:

"Why are we going to a show? What can we gain from going to a show, even if we haven't been riding for that long?"

"How can we prioritize Toofine's well-being at a show?"

"What should we do to be the best that we can be at the show?"

I've been really emphasizing good sportsmanship with them, as well as prioritizing Toofine. They both understand that he is older and needs some extra special care and consideration. This past weekend I actually cancelled our riding plans because it was supposed to be 90F+, and neither of them were upset but rather understanding that it is in Toofine's best interest to not be worked in that hot of weather.

At the 'mock show' even they were exemplifying what qualities I want them to have - complimenting and encouraging other riders, being considerate of Toofine, and not getting upset if things don't turn out how they want them to.

I've been emphasizing one concept that they must understand and ride by, and that is to not pick fights with the horse at the show. How Toofine is at the show is what we have to work with, and we aren't going to try to be trainers in the show ring but instead we are going to make do with what we have and try our best.

I'm proud of these kids already, and I think we are going to have a blast this weekend if the show doesn't get 'cancelled' - meaning we (including my siblings) call it off for Toofine's sake.
 

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Have you decided on which classes the kids are going to enter in? I agree with Horselovinguy, letting each kid show in one category seems a lot fairer for everybody, including the animal!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Have you decided on which classes the kids are going to enter in? I agree with Horselovinguy, letting each kid show in one category seems a lot fairer for everybody, including the animal!
We are no longer going to the show tomorrow - high of 84F and 50% chance of thunderstorms. Definitely not the conditions for a horse show.

So, we are now going to a three day show at the end of the month instead.

Day 1: Just showmanship classes. Classes 4 and 5 for the siblings, 6 and 9 if I want to show, 17 and 21 if I want to show my horse in halter (conformation classes). Done for the day. This would be mostly standing around all day, waiting for our classes to begin.

Day 2: Just western classes. Classes 38, 39, 58, and 59 for the siblings. Classes 78 and 79 if they want to compete in trail. 80 if I decide I want to compete in trail.

Day 3: Just english classes. Classes 90, 92, 107, and 108 for the siblings. 93 and 109 if I decide that i want to show.

Chances are, it will just be my siblings showing. I gained weight and my hunt coat no longer fits, and I'm not really in the position to buy another one right now.
 

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Good decision - no point in showing in miserable weather. As a show organizer, I wish we could have rain dates for shows, but it's just not feasible given how many officials we need to commit to a show.

That is a reasonable number of classes, especially spaced out over three days! Good luck!
 

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I agree, it's still a bit much in my opinion, but already a lot better than the previous planning. Hope the weather won't spoil the future show!
 
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