I know there a few threads out there on first shows and show prep, but I want more general tips hints for my situation.
This will be my first show in 2ish years. Last time I showed, I was doing IHSA, so it was a totally difference experience than bringing my own horse! (Plus I had a trainer and teammates. Trainer could give any advice/tips and teammates could let me borrow anything I forgot).
I'll be taking my "new" horse (got him in March) to our first show on Sunday. He's a 7 yo TB who isnt too high energy and he has done many a show in the past. He'll probably think this is a walk in the park.
I have all of my apparel (shirt, jacket, breeches, tall boots, hairnets), and he will be wearing his normal (hunter) tack.
Question 1: Would you rather see a hunter in a half pad or a full fitted saddle shaped pad? I have both and the full pad is well fitted to the saddle.
I will be bathing either the night before the show (then stalling) or the morning of. Preference?
I have NO idea what time to get there. My trainer has always told me what time to go, but my (very new) trainer wont be there (which im fine with).
I'll be doing the Pleasure division and probably Schooling Hunter or Children/AA Hunter.
I havent done pleasure in a while...what exactly does the judge look for? (My trainer mentioned that we would be good to go for Pleasure, but it was in a passing conversation so we didnt get to chat too much).
Thanks in advance. I'm really excited and hope we have a lot of fun.
First question: I prefer a full saddle pad over the half pads but thats more a personal preference for the local schooling shows.
Second question: if your horse goes out at night, bathe in the morning. If he doesn't, then bathing the night before is fine.
I have no idea what the schedule is for the show you are going to, but usually the pleasure (if its a VHSA associate show) goes around the lunch time break. In order to figure out what time leave, I call the show in the AM (around 9 when they start) and ask how big the show looks and when that break appears to be going etc. For example, if the pleasure division is going at approx noon and I'm an hour away from the show, I'd leave at about 10 AM. This gives me an hour to get there, half an hour to park and sign up, and then half an hour to tack up and warm up before the class starts.
As for what pleasure is, I have NO clue. Usually they seem to like horses that are a pleasure to ride, go around fairly level (not in a frame but not like giraffe ) on a semi-loose contact. Which show are you going to? It will be fun and you'll have a great time!
I believe I can answer your question about pleasure. Pleasure horses should have a level topline to indicate their comfort with their noise in front of the vertical. A long rein (halfway between contact and on the buckle) or draped rein is appropriate if you can pull that off. They should have gaits that are pleasurable to ride without as much forward motion as a hunter. If you think about having the slowest gaits in equitation classes to make riding pretty easier, and hunters having the most ground covering, pleasure should be in between there. Your pleasure class should go well if your horse is laid back and responsive without needing lots of aids. Hope that helped!
Just give yourself PLENTY of time and things should flow smoothly. Things start to fall apart if you are rushed. Make a show "checklist" to make sure you don't forget anything. That always helps me when I'm packing my trailer.
It's helpful to have a good ground person with you if you can. My husband is my ground person. Sometimes in the warmup ring it's helpful to have a body there by the jumps to raise, lower, yell at people when the stop to chat in front of your jump....
Are there stalls available at the show? If so, (and you have the extra cash) and your classes are spread out, you might consider getting one since you'll be by yourself. That way you could get there plenty early and not have to worry about your horse standing in the sun tied to a trailer all day, or having to hold him. I find my horse drinks better if I get him a stall, and I'm not so tired by the end of the day when I pay for a stall.
I always like to have a stall... It just makes everything much more relaxing. It makes it easier to go see how the course is riding, also. I would get there 30-45 minutes before schooling starts (whichever break is closest to your first divison) unless your horse needs more than, say, 15 minutes to warm-up.
If your horse is used to going out at night, bathe in the morning. Heck, I'd bathe in the morning anyway unless he's completely disgusting. That way you don't have to re-bathe because of poop spots from laying down. If you do bathe and stall the night before, pick out the stall at the very last second. Have fun!
"Many are riders; many are craftsmen; but few are artists on horseback."
I'll see you there, yell at me if you need help. The girl that does the ingate is a friend of mine and can point me out to you. It's a very, very low key show. The pleasure depends on who is judging. Sometimes you can follow it, sometimes not. Just look like you're having a good time and pick up the correct lead .
Edited to add, plan on doing a schooling break in the ring, although you may need CPR afterward because it's a zoo. The "schooling area" is about the same consistency as the pavement on I-95 and I don't suggest jumping a horse on it more than one xrail.
I prefer to get to any show several hours in advance. It gives me time to register and let the horse chill. Not to mention, something always goes wrong (horse doesn't load, you have trouble hooking up, your clean horse rolls in poop and needs a new bath, etc.) so if you time it close you will be stressed.
For a noon class I would plan to get there no later than 9:30 or 10. Then you will actually get there 10:30 or 11 if you are anything like my family.
MoonLady--Would love to meet ya! Im a bit nervous about the weather...of course it would plan to storm on the day I pick to show for the first time in forever!
CBoylen--i'll definitely come find you. Will your friend know who im asking for if I say "CBoylen?!"
Or if you see a girl with a big ol grey gelding looking a little frazzled, thats probably me! Horses name is White Star (or Brutus) so listen for us