Horse-Show Checklist

Horse-Show Checklist

Get these must-do’s out of the way to stay on track to a successful show season!

gray kids horse competes in youth trail (Credit: Journal)

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While you are scheduling shows to attend, we compiled a checklist of key to-do’s to get you and your horse ready for your next AQHA-approved event:          

1. Plan your show season. The AQHA online events calendar is a great tool for finding shows near you. Search by event, date, location and even class type to map out your show season.

2. Find your level. You and your horse can compete with other horse/rider teams of a similar skill level. Find your level online

Note: If you are planning on showing in Level 1 youth and amateur classes, make sure you fill out a Level 1 application. Alliance partner achievements can affect eligibility.

3. Get the 2021 AQHA Official Handbook of Rules and Regulations. You can download a free PDF version of the 2021 Rulebook or purchase a print version.

4. Practice patterns. Check out the AQHA Horse Show Patterns Pinterest board for patterns to practice at home, or download our free e-books40 Horsemanship Patterns40 Showmanship Patterns and 40 Hunt Seat Equitation Patterns. Or view the Practice These Patterns e-book, free for AQHA members. AQHA Professional Horsemen break down three patterns – showmanship, horsemanship and hunt seat equitation – and provide step-by-step instructions, plus insightful tips for how to excel in those classes. Go to to download the patterns featured in the AQHA rulebook. 

5. Prepare your arsenal of show tack. Dust off, clean and polish your show tack and double check the AQHA Rulebook to make sure everything is legal.

6. Do your homework. Our News and Blogs feed and AQHA Pinterest boards are great resources for learning new training and showing tips, and everything in between! 

7. Protect your horse. Check the Equine Disease Communication Center for the latest on current disease outbreaks. Make sure your horse’s health documents are up to date before traveling.

8. Go win accolades. Visit the AQHA achievement pages to see what awards you and your horse can win from points earned at sanctioned shows. Add these to your permanent AQHA records.

From all of us at AQHA, best of luck in 2021!

AQHA News and information is a service of the American Quarter Horse Association. For more news and information, follow @AQHA on Twitter and visit