Your Spring Horse-Show Checklist

Before show season really gets underway, cross these 10 must-do’s off your list.

The American Quarter Horse Journal

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Can you feel it? Horse-show season is here! 

There’s no reason to panic as you tally up all of your to-do’s to accomplish between now and your next show. Just sit back, relax and take note of 10 must-do’s for AQHA competitors.

  1. Plot your show season using the online AQHA show calendar. The online calendar groups shows by month, then state. 
  2. Complete an AQHA Incentive Fund competition license. Everyone likes a little extra money in their pocket, so file your Incentive Fund-enrolled horse’s competition license before you earn your first points of the year. 
  3. Find your level. Using the online AQHA level verification system is easy. Once you’ve found your level, print out your results and take them to the show with you. This will help the show secretary, plus cut down on the time it takes to complete your entries. 
  4. Do you plan on showing in Level 1 (formerly Novice)? Complete a Level 1 application. To compete in a Level 1 classes, exhibitors must file a Level 1 application annually. 
  5. Repin “Spring Training Tips” from AQHA’s pinboard. If you’re not acquainted, Pinterest is a social network beloved by do-it-yourselfers. We pin some of our favorite horse-training and -showing advice, so you’re highly encouraged to take a gander.
  6. Check the number of points required to qualify for an AQHA world championship show. While you’re there, double-check the qualifying periods, the new invitation method for halter exhibitors and see how the Amateur Invitational Program works. 
  7. Get your tack back in tip-top shape. Who really wants to rush around before a show, especially if your tack still needs a little elbow grease? For the Zen masters out there, use this downtime to break out the saddle soap, neatsfoot oil and silver polish.
  8. Download The American Quarter Horse Journal and America’s Horse apps. No longer do you have to worry about lugging your magazines into the stands, misplacing them in the truck or ruining them in the tack room. These free apps are available for iOS and Android tablets and smartphones. 
  9. Test-drive a few practice patterns. Mined from AQHA world and Novice championship shows, we’ve got patterns and courses from ranch horse pleasure to working hunter.
  10. Try five stretches and five exercises designed just for equestrians. Your guide is certified personal trainer and equestrienne Monica Brant. She has rounded up stretches to get you in tune with your horse, plus exercises to help you maintain your fitness when you’re on the road.