Eight Tips for a Worry-Free Horse Show

Keep your focus on the show ring by following these tips to prevent stressful situations.

The American Quarter Horse Journal

Tip No. 7: Warm up your horse and get him accustomed to the environment but don’t overwork him. (Credit: Journal

With show season in full swing, it’s important to remember that while your horse deserves the majority of your attention, there are other things that require your attention at horse shows. Make sure you keep you and your horse healthy and safe on show day so that show and future shows go smoothly. 

These tips are courtesy of AQHA Daily. Be sure to click the link on each tip for expanded advice.

  1. Vaccinations: Design a vaccination program tailored to your horse. Work with your vet to make sure your horse has all the core vaccinations, not dependent on environmental or horse-specific risk factors, and any other risk-based factors that you and your vet determine are necessary.
  2. Biosecurity: Guard your horse against infectious diseases at shows. Make sure your stalls are disinfected and that you are aware of people and horses touching your horse to prevent the spread of possible disease.
  3. Avoid clutter: Keep your area tidy and organized. You can more easily find what you might be franticly looking for before a class and you will minimize accidents.
  4. Minimize traffic: Create a visual barrier to keep unnecessary and unwanted traffic out of your area. Use a curtain or cones to redirect traffic and possible accidents.
  5. Don’t leave children, dogs or horses unattended: You don’t want to be worrying about what these critters might be getting into with your back turned. In the case of dogs and horses, be cautious when leaving them tied unattended, as well. Dogs could spook or trip up nearby horses. With horses, it is always safer to put them in their stall.
  6. Know your horse and let others know, too: Warn people of how you think your horse might react. Post signs, put a red ribbon in your horse’s tail or tell someone if they are doing something that might cause your horse to react. This is a two-way street, so ask people before passing their horse in a small space or if you think something you are going to do might spook a horse.
  7. Don’t burn out your horse: Warm up your horse and get him accustomed to the environment but don’t overwork him. You want your horse fresh for the show ring and an overworked horse is more prone to injury.
  8. Pay attention: Be aware of yourself and other riders in the warm up ring. Ride left shoulder to left rail and call jumps if you are jumping in the warm-up ring. Pay attention to the direction riders are riding and that riders are circling.

With all the time, training and money that go into showing, you want to set yourself up to have as successful a day as possible. It is also important to remember that your definition of success doesn’t have to be leaving the show with a day-end championship or a sluw of blue ribbons. Set realistic goals for yourself and for your horse and find a positive in every ride. Have fun and be safe.

Did you like these tips? You can sign up to receive weekly horse-showing e-newsletters from America’s Horse Daily, or visit aqha.com/daily to browse the robust educational resource dedicated to your horse-related interests and activities.