top of page
  • michellemestelle

Tips for Getting Ready for Horse Show Season: A Guide for All Riders

Show season is an exciting time for riders and horses alike. Whether you compete in English or Western disciplines, you want to make sure that you and your horse are prepared for the challenges and fun that await you. Even though you just finished one season, the next season is always around the corner. Here are some tips on how to get ready and stay ready for show day!

For the rider

  • Check your show clothes and equipment. Make sure that your clothes fit well, are clean and in good condition. You don’t want to find out that your breeches have a hole, or your helmet is expired on the day of a show. If you need to buy new items, do it well in advance and try them on before the show. Also, check your tack and accessories, such as gloves, spurs, whip, etc. Polish your boots, bit and stirrups, and clean and condition your leather. Have a spare set of everything in case something breaks or gets lost.

  • Work on your fitness and skills. Hopefully, you will be riding regularly and taking lessons throughout the winter. If you take time off, you may need to catch up on your fitness and skills. Riding is a physical and mental sport, and you need to be in shape to perform well. Keep up on exercises to improve your strength, endurance, balance, and flexibility. Practice your riding skills, such as transitions, circles, bending, etc. Learn a new test and the requirements for a new level. Work on your position and aids, and make sure you are comfortable and confident on your horse.

  • Plan your show schedule and budget. Decide which shows you want to attend, and how often. Consider your goals for the new season, as well as your horse’s abilities, your trainer’s advice, and your budget. Horse shows can be expensive, so you need to factor in the costs of entry fees, transportation, stabling, grooming, and coaching. You may also need to pay for and renew memberships, licenses, vaccinations, and more, depending on the level and type of shows you enter. Make a realistic plan and stick to it.

  • Eat well and sleep well. It will be important to take good care of yourself. Horse shows can be stressful and exhausting, and a lot of physical work. Eat a balanced diet, drink plenty of water, and avoid junk food. Get enough sleep and practice relaxation before a show. You want to be alert, energized, and focused on show days.

For the horse

  • Check your horse’s body condition and health. Your horse should be in good shape, with a shiny coat, a healthy weight, and a sound body. You may need to adjust your horse’s feeding and exercise program to achieve the optimal condition for your discipline. You also need to make sure that your horse is up to date on vaccinations, deworming, dental care, and hoof care. Consult your veterinarian and farrier if you have any concerns or questions.

  • Groom your horse and trim the excess hair. Your horse should look neat and tidy for the show season. Brush your horse daily and use a coat spray to enhance the shine. Trim the excess hair on the muzzle, ears, and fetlocks. You may also need to clip your horse’s body, depending on the weather and your discipline. Braid your horse’s mane and tail, if required by the rules or the tradition. Use a fly spray to keep the bugs away, and a hoof polish to make the hooves shine.

  • Pack your horse’s food and water. Horses are creatures of habit, and they may not like the change of environment and routine at the show. To avoid digestive problems, such as colic, try to keep your horse’s feeding schedule as normal as possible. Bring your own hay, grain and supplements, and enough water for the duration of the show. You may also want to bring some treats and toys to keep your horse happy and relaxed.

  • Prepare your horse for the show ring. Your horse should be familiar with the type of arena, obstacles, noises, and distractions that will be encountered at a show. If possible, take your horse to some schooling shows or clinics

before the show season begins, and expose him to different situations and challenges. Practice your warm-up routine, and make sure your horse is calm and responsive. On show days, wipe your horse’s mouth and nose before entering the ring and check your tack and equipment for safety and fit.

Horse show season can be a lot of fun, but also a lot of work. By following these tips, you can make sure that you and your horse are ready for the show season and enjoy the experience to the fullest. Good luck and have fun! 🐴

87 views0 comments


bottom of page