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Attending Horse Shows
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Attending Horse Shows

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Attending horse shows can be exciting and fun however they can also be nerve racking and stressful. These tips should help to keep you relaxed and as stress free as possible giving you time to enjoy the day.

Preparation is the Key to Success

Anyone that has ever said preparation is most important is absolutely right. If you don’t prepare at the last minute you are going to be running round like a headless chicken! Not being prepared can add additional stress to you and your horse and often can lead to items being left behind which in some cases can prevent you from even riding in the show. The first thing you need to do is get organised by making a list of everything you will need for the show. Include everything even the simple stuff that way you don’t risk forgetting even the smallest item. Some items can be bought at certain shows however in some cases these items are more expensive so to prevent un necessary expense its best to pack for every eventuality. It’s not only important to prepare your items for the horse show your horse needs preparation as well. If you are planning to bathe your horse before the show then the night before can sometimes save time. If you do bath your horse then make sure they are wearing appropriate rugs to protect them from getting dirty again and undoing everything you have worked so hard for. If you plan to plait your horses mane and you have to set off early plaiting the night before can save you ample time the next day. A horse that is likely to rub their neck and mane in the night can ruin these plaits though and then they will have to be re done anyway. To avoid the plaits becoming spoilt by the horse rubbing use a horse hood to protect the mane and plaits. Some of the plaits may need tidying up or even redoing but hopefully most should withstand the night. Getting your horse shod in the lead up to a show is ideal. A blacksmith can check that any shoes your horse is wearing are on tight so they are less likely to lose a shoe before the show. The last thing you want to happen is for your horse to lose a shoe right before a show and then prevent you from being able to ride.If you have someone experienced that can help you during the show extra hands can make things a lot easier. Having someone to help you mount your horse or enter you in classes can take the stress out of certain tasks as well as having someone to keep you calm and relaxed. Make sure you know where the showground is and have adequate directions to get there. Check the time you need to be at the show and plan your schedule around the time you need to set off.

At the Showground

Arrive at the show early so you have time to settle your horse and get ready without having to rush around. Ring the showground ahead of time to find out the approximate time of your class. Add on your travelling time from the yard to the show including time for traffic and extra time for loading and unloading. Once you have arrived at the showground familiarise yourself with where everything is such as the warm up ring and where your class is located. If you haven’t already entered the class then do this once you have arrived at the show and keep an eye on the number of entries so you have an idea of how long your class will run for. Avoid tacking up and mounting your horse too early as you don’t want them to get restless but leave ample time to warm up and then get to the class in time. If you are unloading your horse and tying them by a trailer or horsebox make sure they aren’t left in the sun and have access to shade. If your horse gets anxious reassuring them with your voice or using hay net may calm them down. If you try to stay calm it will help your horse stay calm.Try not to let nerves get the better of you. It’s natural to feel some worry but try not to put too much pressure on yourself or get too worked up. Take some time out if you have someone to help with your horse. Watch a few classes and have a drink. Keep your mind off what is worrying you and enjoy the day as best you can.If you are jumping your horse over a course make sure you are aware of when you can walk the course to help you prepare. Take your time whilst doing this and familiarise yourself with the ring and the jumps. Making sure you check every angle will prevent any surprises unsettling you and your horse during the class. If your horse is getting het up and worried being in such a big crowd then try and find a quiet area away from other people and horses. If your horses is nervous about being on their own then try to stay near other horses or have your assistant walk near you to reassure your horse.

Before you go Home

Before you set off home make sure you have everything with you. Make sure your horse has been offered water and has cooled down after your class. Ensure that your horse is wearing the correct rugs if they are warm from being worked and the temperature is dropping. Check the traffic for your area to see if there are delays and re route your journey if possible to avoid this. Attending a horse show is all about the preparation before hand and once this is taken care of when you are at the show you can relax and enjoy the day.

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