More Tips for Your First Show

We heard so much great first-show advice that we couldn't fit it all in one article. Read more tips from Facebook fans and trainers.

Be prepared for your first show with these extra tips from our Facebook fans and top trainers.


F = Facebook fan; T = Trainer/judge

F – Watch a similar show before you enter, and ask for assistance, if need be. If you’re prepared, it’s more enjoyable for you and your horse, your family and helpers, the show secretary, and everyone else.
-Bobbi Finarty

F – Make sure you know where things are packed; band the night before you put on the sleezy; and make sure your hat and boots are clean and ready to go.
-Kathy Good

F – Pack everything in the trailer the day before. That way, the only thing you have to do before you leave is wash your horse.
-Sharon Yotka Laskowski

F- Bring along extra feed for your horse and extra clothes for yourself——you never know how the weather could change.
-Helena Baker

T – Before your show, go to Lowe’s or the Home Depot and find a paint swatch that matches your horse’s color. Take it into the Estee Lauder counter at the mall and ask the employees what colors look good with the swatch. Base your shirt’s coloring off their recommendations. Top it off with neutral or muted-color pants, chaps, and hat.
-Karen Banister, Colorado

F – Go with what you know.’ If you practice something one way and see it differently at the show, don’t change your whole program in five minutes.
-Irene Davis

F – Have a class schedule in your room, tack room, and trailer, and highlight the classes you’ve entered.
-Glenna Bartlett

F – Read the rulebook ahead of time and make sure that your equipment and attire are in accordance with those rules.
-Kaye Helton-Anderson

T – Remember, it’s not about the best horse and rider; it’s your presentation, too.
-Karen Banister, Colorado

F – Get plenty of rest for you and your horse the day and night before.
-Helena Baker

F – Go to bed early and never forget to have fun!
-Marieve Paquin

F – Bring lots of fly spray for your horse and sunscreen for yourself.
-Brandy Kirwan McIntosh

F – Try to learn something from your fellow competitors.
-Jennifer Gomez

T – A bottle of green spot remover and a rag is a must for every horseshow kit.
-Kelly McDowall, Colorado

F – Always go to the restroom before entering a large showmanship class!
-Ken Duft

T – Don’t get freaked out about the fact that you’re freaking out. Find something that calms you and settles your mind and do it at the show.
-Karen Banister, Colorado

F – Practice at home, acclimate your horse to crowds, other horses, and lots of noise before the show.
-Tanya Rentz

F – Remember, you’re only out there to do your best. Some day, your best will be the best; that’s how you win. By not worrying about your competitors, you can focus on yourself!
-Katie Schmidt

F – It’s called a warm-up pen for a reason: Train at home. Warm your horse up and see what you have. It’s likely less than you have at home, so learn to show that.
-Heather McLevin

T – Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you see someone at the show who looks like they’ve done it before and if you need help, ask them. We all work very hard at the show, but almost every last one of us is willing to help someone who’s new.
-Kelly McDowall, Colorado

F – Pack a cooler with water and Gatorade, plus some nutritious snacks to keep your energy level up.
-Catherine Gallant

T – Consider giving your horse an immune booster injection before you haul him——particularly if it’s a long haul. It’ll help keep him from getting sick on the road.
-Tommy Garland

F – Know your pattern: write it, say it out loud, and walk it.
-Roxanne Peters

T – If your horse isn’t used to traveling, get him out. Trailer him to the local Dairy Queen and have a sundae or take him to the county fairgrounds. Affirm to him that it’s OK, and create a confident attitude.
-Karen Banister, Colorado

F – Even if you’re scared or intimidated in the arena, stand, sit, or ride as though you have the best horse in the world. Every class and show is a learning experience.
-Sharie Belew

F – If you get nervous, sing to your horse. I still find myself singing “Amarillo By Morning;” it helps!
-Kassie Fay Tabor Cumbee

F – Try not to make major clothing changes unless the classes are well spaced. Also, wear a tank top under jackets if you have back-to-back classes. That way, you can change jackets ringside.
-Laura Calentine

F – Be a defensive driver. Don’t be so in ‘the zone’ that you forget about the traffic around you in the pen!
-Tina Krichbaum

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