angle-left Tips for Amateurs Who Have Long-Distance Relationships with Their Horses

Tips for Amateurs Who Have Long-Distance Relationships with Their Horses

These amateur horse-showers prove the challenges of logistics, time management and experience can be overcome with dedication and planning.

generic showmanship horse nose pet (Credit: Abigail Boatwright)

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In an amateur’s ideal horse-showing world, he or she would have 24/7 access to their horse and trainer. Perhaps they’d go it alone and be a do-it-yourselfer. For most, though, neither arrangement is plausible. 

When amateur horsemen and -women split their time between horse showing and everything else in life, there are challenges that exhibitors face related and unrelated to horse showing. 

Getting to Know Your Horse

  1. Ask your trainer to send you updates, videos or notes about your horse’s progress and quirks. Knowing these bits of information ahead of time will help you once you get into the saddle.

  2. Ride as many horses as you can. Finding various mounts to ride in your area will help you be more adaptive when you finally reunite with your horse. You may be the owner, but time away from each other will inevitably require a bit of a “get-to-know you period” when they return from the trainer.

  3. Pick a horse that will work with and not against long-distance challenges. Young horses tend to throw in even more training curveballs, especially when long-distance ownership is involved. Aged, seasoned horses are more forgiving for the average long-distance amateur. They are more consistent and predictable, and you can focus on showing and less on correcting behavior or keeping up with constant changes in their learning or behavior. 

Competing Without Your Trainer

  1. Ask for help. It can be intimidating to go into the show ring on your own with a horse that is more used to your trainer than he is to you. Ask your trainer for other connections that may be at your show if they can not attend. The horse showing community is a tight-knit one, and networking can be helpful!

  2. Find showing buddies. Horse showing is a lifelong learning experience and we could all stand to be more kind and helpful to our fellow competitors. Find a fellow amateur to learn the ropes with and maybe even travel to shows together. Showing with friends is fun!

  3. Be brave. Everyone is an amateur at some point in their showing career. Get out there, be brave and don’t forget to have fun!

Keep Yourself Seasoned

  1. Get into the saddle when you can. Riding other horses is better than not riding at all. Muscle memory and improved overall horsemanship will help you immensely when reuniting with your horse.

  2. Stay fit. Fitness begins before mounting up! Staying active in the gym, extra-curricular activities and eating healthy will keep you primed mentally and physically. 

  3. Do your homework. Watching videos online or attending weekend horse shows in your area can help keep your mind in the zone. With everything that goes into a competition, keeping yourself in the right head space can help alleviate unneeded stress or confusion. 

At the end of the day, make sure you and your horse are happy with a long-distance arrangement. Use your resources efficiently and your horse showing experience will benefit from your preparation