Spring Horse-Show Checklist

Whether you’re a seasoned horse show veteran or just occasionally compete, make sure you’ve got your ducks in a row with these 10 must-do’s before heading out to the first show of the season.

The American Quarter Horse Association

Make sure you're ready for that first horse show of the season by checking these 10 items off your spring horse show checklist!

Spring is in the air, birds are chirping and your American Quarter Horse is finally getting rid of all that winter hair. We’ve compiled a checklist of 10 essential actions to get you and your horse ready for horse-show season:

  1. Plan out your show season schedule. The online show calendar is a great tool for finding AQHA shows near you. Search by month and state to find out what’s going on in your neck of the woods.
  2. Find your level. Discover which classes you and your horse can compete in with other horse/rider teams of a similar skill level. Note: If you are planning on showing in Level 1 classes, make sure you fill out a Level 1 application.
  3. Get your copy of the official 2016 AQHA Handbook of Rules and Regulations. Changes are frequently made, so make sure you don’t go to a show uninformed. You can download a PDF version of the 2016 Handbook, request a print version or get the app.
  4. Daydream about how you’re going to spend your AQHA Incentive Fund check. Owners and exhibitors use their Incentive Fund checks to pay for everything from new tack and show clothes to horse-show entries, equine insurance and horse-health products like Adequan®(polysulfated glycosaminoglycan) and Ulcergard.
  5. Locate your American Quarter Horse’s registration papers. If you find that you’ve misplaced your horse’s certificate of registration, have no worries: AQHA has you covered! You can file for a duplicate AQHA certificate, which can be sent to you by mail.
  6. Prepare your arsenal of show tack. Dust off, clean and polish your show tack and double check the AQHA Handbook to make sure everything is legal.
  7. Safety first. Shows are a breeding ground for disease transfer. Make sure your horse’s vaccinations are up to date!
  8. Do your homework. America’s Horse Daily and the AQHA Pinterest boards are great resources for learning new training and showing tips, and everything in between!
  9. Practice patterns. While you’re perusing AQHA’s Pinterest boards, check out the Horse Show Patterns pinboard for some extra practice on AQHA patterns.
  10. Give your horse’s ride a check-up. Nothing is worse than preparing for a show only to realize that your truck won’t start or your trailer tires didn’t weather the winter. For extra security while on the road, consider investing in the USRider Roadside Assistance Plan. AQHA members receive a discount!

From all of us at AQHA, best of luck in 2016!