Attending your horse’s very first horse show can be extremely exciting. However, it is also a stressful time which makes preparation key.
The first thing you need to consider is whether or not your horse is actually ready to be in the public eye and judged. If you are unsure about this, then ask your instructor or a friend. The worst thing you could do to yourself or your horse is go out there and perform terribly – it would destroy your horse’s confidence which isn’t fair.
How to prepare
It is really important to be able to ensure that both you and your horse are comfortable and confident. The best way to prepare is to ride together at home at least twice a day in what you are planning on wearing at the competition – this includes your body protector and equestrian boots.
You should also ensure that your horse is comfortable performing in front of people. The best way to ensure this is to allow him to perform in a field – with people in it.
Your horse will need to be warmed up in front of people so practice this as much as possible. Dressage should be practiced in front of as many people as possible and you should also try to put some stud holes into the feet of your horse – just in case they get wet on the day. Ride your horse with the studs on so that they’re used to it.
When you are choosing which classes and competitions to enter, you should always choose one level lower than the one you were practicing at home. This will take the pressure off a little for both you and your horse whilst also ensuring that you’ve done adequate preparation.
For your very first horse show, try not to go for the biggest show in the country either. It is best to begin at a low key event to get your horse used to what will happen and then work your way up from there.
Make sure your horse is happy and comfortable
Believe it or not, your horse can pick up on your emotions so if you are jumpy and nervous then they will be too.
The first thing you should do to ensure your horse is happy and comfortable at their first horse show is to allow them time to get used to the surroundings. With this in mind, make sure that you know which arena you will be competing in as this will be the best area for your horse to roam in. Try to allow your horse to confront anything that may spook them during the competition beforehand.
If your horse does get a little spooked, try to keep them trotting until they become more focused on you. This will help them confront their fear.
Once the show has finished, be sure to congratulate the horse – whether you win or not. The first horse show is a confidence builder so it’s important that you bestow suitable praise.
With these tips in mind, your first horse show should go smashingly well.