My Very First Show!

Assistant Editor Julie Preble participated in her very first horse show last weekend.
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Hannah and I preparing for the Green Reiner class. | Photo by Joslyn Chapman

Hannah and I preparing for the Green Reiner class. | Photo by Joslyn Chapman

By Julie Preble, Assistant Editor

This past weekend, I had a new horse experience. Thanks to NRHA's Green Reiner classes, I was able to show!

It was a small jackpot show, but that didn't matter to my nerves! However, even though I was nervous, I was definitely prepared.

Before I went to sleep the previous night, I ran through the pattern in my head (this included my saying "whoa" and performing various leg/hip cues). I also talked through the pattern a couple of times.

Those tactics worked. Not only was this my first show, it was my first time riding a full reining pattern. The visualization definitely helped! I don't think that's the only help I had, though.

When proofing the magazine, we read each article several times. It's often the joke around the office that we should be better riders if for no other reason than osmosis! I think that's true.

I don't know how many times I thought about a previous article's tips. You know what? It paid off.

I was fully prepared to DQ on my first pattern. I know it happens a lot to the first-timers, and I wasn't going to be bummed if it happened to me. But it didn't!

Not only did I stay on pattern, but I also scored a 66! That was good enough to place third in my class of 12. Heck, I even zipped the figure-8 maneuver. (Thanks, Hannah, for your awesome lead-change abilities!)

Now I'm mentally preparing for my next (and bigger) show this weekend. My parents are flying out to watch, and I'm sure it'll be a great experience. Here's hoping for another good score!

Check out my third-place run on YouTube!

What techniques have helped you for your first shows?

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