What do you do when your husband isn’t horsey and you really want to show? Oh, and you can’t afford to hire a personal groom? Go show alone! Even though I’ve spent a large portion of my life riding and training horses. A combination of always having green horses and limited funds always prevented me from getting into the show ring. When I got back into the saddle last year, I was bound and determined to change that.
I entered Mistic Gray, my 17 year old OTTB gelding. While he had some show experience of his own, our first show together last summer was anything but a perfect performance. But, it was certainly a learning experience. We came home with pink and green ribbons instead of blues or reds, but that was okay, we were mainly there for the learning experience.
Our second show together, just two weekends ago, was a similar performance but with a few improvements. The ribbons were better, but the main thing was that his behavior was much better too. No spooking, constant head tossing or kicking at people! Yay! I did mention he’s 17 right...
Again, this show was a learning experience. A few things I’ve learned from showing alone:
Don’t have your first show be in August. It was hot!
Bathe your gray horse the night before and pray he doesn’t look brown, green or yellow the next day. In fact, bathing any color horse the night before is a good idea.
Don’t forget your mounting block! (Especially if your horse is 16.2 hands)
Bring lots of water or money to buy lots of water.
Bring a lawn chair.
Bring sunscreen if you’re showing outside.
Pack everything you might possibly need the night before in your trailer, including extra hay and buckets.
Rent a stall or holding pen if possible.
Bring extra shoes to change into, especially if you’re in English boots. Your feet will thank you.
Extra safety pins never hurt either.
Above all else, have fun! I was fortunate to show at a very laid back and friendly show hosted by Windhaven Ranch in Sulphur Springs, Texas. It was affordable, the judge was great and the competition was friendly too. There’s nothing better than showing with a bunch of people who encourage you even when your horse refuses half the jumps. You have to be able to laugh at yourself and your horse in this business.
Now it’s your turn. Tell us all about your own horse show tips or stories (the good, the bad and the ugly).
Photo credit: Marea Breedlove Photography