From Stable to the Show Ring!

 Tue, 9th Apr, 2024

Top Tips for Newcomers to Horse Showing

Stepping into the exhilarating world of horse showing as a newcomer can be both thrilling and daunting. As you prepare to highlight your horse's talents and your own skills in the arena, it's essential to arm yourself with knowledge, plenty of patience and work with a deep understanding of the bond between you and your horse. Learning the skills to show your horse can throw up challenges but also rewards by competing alongside fellow equestrians, laying the foundation for a fulfilling journey in the world of horse showing.

Whether you're just starting out or looking to improve your skills, here are five top tips to help you begin:

Know the Basics: Before entering any competitions, ensure you and your horse have a solid foundation in basic training. This includes groundwork, obedience to instruction, and basic riding skills. Your horse should be comfortable with being handled, groomed, and tacked up in preparation for shows. Source information from breed societies and their rulebooks about how horses or ponies should be turned out for showing classes. Information online is in abundance, but opinions may vary. So, find an experienced competitor or trainer that gives solid and clear advice.

Practice and Prepare: Consistent practice is key to success in horse showing. Spend time off season refining your riding skills and working on specific manoeuvres required for your chosen classes. Practice in different environments particularly in company to help your horse become accustomed to the distractions and atmosphere of a show ring. Cantering in a ring with other horses can be an excitable party to many inexperienced horses, so train them to be used to horses cantering in front, around and beside them.

Choose the Right Classes: Decide which classes suit both you and your horse's ability and interest. If it is your first outing in the show ring choose a class that suits your level of experience and your horse's ability, treating it as a training session. Use in hand classes for younger and green horses to gain experience in the show ring. If you are still not sure which class to enter then head out to your local show and watch some classes. Take note of how they perform, what they are wearing and how they are turned out.

Presentation Matters: Pay attention to your appearance and your horse's presentation. Ensure both you and your horse are clean, well-groomed, and properly turned out for class. Your turn out should be correct for the chosen class, so do your research beforehand. Ensure tack is supple, clean and correctly fitted to the horse and not too fussy. Judges will be looking at the overall picture of nice turnout and a well-schooled horse.

Seek Feedback and Learn: Take advantage of opportunities to learn and improve. Attend clinics, workshops, and lessons with experienced trainers or riders. Don't be afraid to ask for feedback from judges or more experienced competitors after your first few showing classes. Learning from both successes and mistakes will help you grow as a rider and improve your performance in future shows.

Remember, horse showing is as much about the journey and the bond you develop with your horse as it is about winning ribbons. Stay patient, stay positive, and most of all have fun!

Download the schedule of classes for more information.