Training Tip Tuesday - Show Preparation: Prepare for Positive Outcomes

Careful prep for showing can produce great results (Photo: SusanJStickle)
Careful prep for showing can produce great results (Photo: SusanJStickle)

How does showing help me meet my goals with my horse? At all levels of riding, showing is educational and fun. It helps us set specific goals by defining them and providing figures, movements, and various levels to test our progress. The show environment exposes us to new and exciting surroundings, people, and events. Showing provides a sense of achievement and helpful comments from the judge. Every test sheet is a reminder of your performance with your horse. You did it!
1. How do I know which level to compete at?
• Aim to compete a level below the level that you are schooling.
• The figures and movements of the tests at the level should be easy to perform at home.
• Consult a trainer or judge or the rule book for the purpose of each level and be sure that it describes the quality of work you are practicing with your horse.

2. How do I plan my show schedule?
• Decide the purpose for your competitions each season. Am I doing this to have fun or to qualify for regional championships?
• Consider the distance to the show grounds, weather, costs, show facility, and choose the best shows for your needs.
• Select a show or two that are at least a month away and start to prepare.

3. One month (or more) before the show date:
• Learn your tests.
• Purchase any necessary clothing or equipment items.
• Have your vet take a Coggins test and double check that your horse has the proper vaccinations.
• Send in your entry forms.

4. One week (or more) before the show date:
• Tidy up your horse’s mane/whiskers/tail.
• Clean and set aside all of your show laundry.
• Print out the directions to the show as well as all related phone numbers for the show and emergencies.
• Check that your trailer lights/brakes are in working order.
• Perform a timeline of the day of the show so that you
know in advance when you need to wake up and leave the farm with the trailer.

5. The night before show date:
• Pack!!! Don’t wait until the morning of the show.
• Pack your trailer!!!
• Braid, bathe, and clean tack.
• Double check that your show times haven’t changed.
• Review your tests.
• Go to bed early.

6. Keep in mind these helpful hints:
• Try not to change your tack, your boots, or anything else about your normal routine for the show.
• Bring an extra bridle, halter, and girth to the show, especially if you are trailering alone.
• Bring your test booklet.
• Decide ahead of time if you want someone to read your test for you and assign someone this task.
• Don’t have your husband read for you! ;0)
• Leave plenty of extra time for the morning of the show in case you get lost or need to lunge, etc.
• Practice trailering, loading, and riding in groups of horses before going to your first show.
• Prepare, Take a Deep Breath, Relax, and Have Fun!

About Jacyln Sicoli -
Jaclyn has experienced "equestrianism" as a past-time and reason for living since age 10.  After studying Biochemistry and a test run in pharmaceuticals, Jaclyn chose dressage training as her full-time career. Jaclyn's horses and students in training are near and dear to her heart, keeping life at a steady sprint from event to event. Jaclyn is an avid competitor, judge, and coach. Having achieved her USDF Bronze, Silver, and a few scores of Gold Medals, she is also a USDF "L" Graduate with Distinction and is helping her students earn their own medals, one slow dressage step at a time. Jaclyn and her husband, Luke, are happily settled in Frederick, MD at Peace of Mind Dressage with one amazing mutt and three well-bred horses.




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