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First h/j show.. nerves, confusion, HELP!

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    First h/j show.. nerves, confusion, HELP!

    Hi everyone!

    thank you in advance for any help

    I’ve been a pleasure rider all my life until my project horse “requested” to stop going in circles. He decided the life a pleasure pony was boring and took quite nicely to jumping.

    This weekend, I’m going to my first EVER local/c circuit hunter/jumper show and I’m NERVOUS. I’m showing in baby green HUS, hunter xrails, EQ xrails, and novice EQ on the flat.

    I don’t show with a trainer, so I’m looking for some words of wisdom. What should I expect? What are some tips?

    I have all the appropriate show clothes and tack, so I mainly need advice on what I’m going to face while I’m there.

    What is the warm up like? Will I be able to school my courses? What if my boy is the worst mover in the hunter class? What if he isn’t braided as nicely as everyone else? What if he’s a bundle of energy and decides he wants to try his hand at jumpers in the middle of our course? Those are some of the thoughts running through my head.

    thank you again for reading this novel of a post!!


    #2
    I think step 1 is to remember that you are doing this for fun. If you get there and things are not going well, remind yourself that what ribbon you get is not important, you are just having fun (and trying to give your horse a good experience).

    Originally posted by friedmas View Post
    What if my boy is the worst mover in the hunter class?
    They are not going to kick you out of the ring or anything. You just keep riding like he is the best mover out there and enjoy the experience.

    Originally posted by friedmas View Post
    What if he isn’t braided as nicely as everyone else?
    Neat and tidy is all that matters. Perfect braids are great but at this level I am guessing you will find lots of horses that are not even braided. If the judging comes down to turn out consider it a successful day of riding.

    Originally posted by friedmas View Post
    What if he’s a bundle of energy and decides he wants to try his hand at jumpers in the middle of our course?
    This is where you learn to smile and laugh at yourself and your horse and ride the horse that you have to the best of your ability.

    Comment


      #3
      Enjoy your horse and the experience. I do not braid. My horse was the best mover in the flat class, and we got last, because he was a bundle of energy and I couldn’t ride him 🙈😂.

      My horse was a disaster in the warm up, I couldn’t even get him to go over a ground pole. He went in the ring and was a little superstar in the cross-rails, and that’s what I remember the most. Just go and have a good time!

      Comment


        #4
        Expialidocious has great advice For your first show, set a goal that ISN'T remotely related to showing - like, we will get calm lead changes over fences, or, we will ace our downward transitions in the flat. I find that once you put pressure on yourself to perform well, it becomes much easier to be disappointed.

        I'm not sure what C-rated shows are like in your area, but for us - they're a good mix between our schooling shows (which can be absolutely nuts) and our A-rated shows that are a bit impressive for green horses and riders. Schooling in the ring varies by show, but you may be able to do a schooling session in the early morning before the ring starts (think 6-730AM) - it could be flatwork only, or over fences. If you can get in there, even just to flat, it might help your nerves to 'check out' your ring and see what everything looks like!

        Schooling rings outside the show ring can be a bit intimidating for a rider who has never shown. They may or may not be crowded, so remember to always pass left shoulder to left shoulder when a horse is coming at you. Since you are going trainer-less, you might have to ask someone to set a small x-rail for you but I am sure folks would willingly oblige. Don't be afraid to yell "heads up crossrail" as you are coming to it so people know where you are going and you stay safe and out of someone's way - and they can stay out of yours!

        Don't be afraid to ask questions - I find horse shows are enjoyable environments because of all the support people offer, so hopefully your shows are a similar feel.

        Most of all, have fun - and remember, it's just riding at a different location. Ribbons are just icing on the cake!

        Comment


          #5
          Not to discourage you from showing, but if this is a series of shows and not the only one on your calendar, would it be possible to spectate/learn at this first one? You would be able to watch the warmup area and get a feel for how it works. Arrive an hour or so before classes start and learn how the open schooling in the show rings works. Scope out the stabling, the lunging areas, the office, etc. Sit near the in-gate and get comfortable with how trainers and individuals check in and then rotate to do their rounds. Some of these things are pretty standard among HJ shows, and some vary by level/event/facility. Not having a trainer is perfectly allowable of course, but can present some challenges depending on the show.

          At a schooling show, most won’t braid unless they are trying to get sale video. A neatly pulled and combed mane will be just fine. Bad braids would be the least preferable option.

          If you really have concerns about your horse’s behavior (in a dangerous way, not just a baby way), keep your mind open regarding prep - plan to ride in the morning to see what you’re working with, if you get on to warm up and things are not going well, get back off and go lunge a bit and then try again, Whatever you know works for your horse.

          Comment


            #6
            Not sure where you're located or the type of "local" show you're going to, as they definitely vary in type and quality. Like others have said, you're there to have FUN and have a good experience for your horse! Many of us have been at home schooling and not showing due to the pandemic, so horses may be fresh and not quite "show ready" I know that's the case in our area! So go to have fun and focus on a good experience for your horse, and I love the tip above of having a non-show related goal (transitions, lead change, etc...)

            - Regarding schooling, our local series allows horses to hand walk in the ring in the morning (like 6:30-7:30am before the final drag), but not actually ride. You could always call and ask?
            - Regarding flat classes, sometimes they can be insane (especially if you're in a lower height division with lots of kids), and sometimes they can be very competitive. Just focus on your horse and your ride.
            - We don't braid at local schooling type shows, it's not required. Just a neat and tidy pulled mane, shiny horse, impeccable rider turnout... But if it adds time and stress, don't braid.
            - And if all else fails and he falls apart, you'll have a great story. We have ALL been there!

            We hope to see updates and pictures from your show, have fun!

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by friedmas View Post
              Hi everyone!

              thank you in advance for any help


              I’ve been a pleasure rider all my life until my project horse “requested” to stop going in circles. He decided the life a pleasure pony was boring and took quite nicely to jumping.

              This weekend, I’m going to my first EVER local/c circuit hunter/jumper show and I’m NERVOUS. I’m showing in baby green HUS, hunter xrails, EQ xrails, and novice EQ on the flat.

              I don’t show with a trainer, so I’m looking for some words of wisdom. What should I expect? What are some tips?

              I have all the appropriate show clothes and tack, so I mainly need advice on what I’m going to face while I’m there.

              What is the warm up like? Will I be able to school my courses? What if my boy is the worst mover in the hunter class? What if he isn’t braided as nicely as everyone else? What if he’s a bundle of energy and decides he wants to try his hand at jumpers in the middle of our course? Those are some of the thoughts running through my head.

              thank you again for reading this novel of a post!!
              I would definitely have a friend who knows the ropes go with you. The friend could also help warm you up and give pointers and support. It is also nice to have someone video your rounds, so you can watch them later. It is also good to have someone provide water, hold your horse when you need to pee, help you with wardrobe malfunctions, etc. I have helped numerous friends this way, even those who go with a trainer. After the show we celebrate with some alcoholic beverages and snacks. I have a friend who gets very nervous at shows and always second guesses her rides. She has a trainer, but I am her cheerleader and pseudo therapist. Her family makes her nervous. I am her calming influence. I know how well she rides and she appreciates that I tell her that.

              Comment


                #8
                The post above makes it clear that some of your questions can only be answered by that show management.

                The vast majority of the open type hunter shows where I am allow schooling not only in the ring but over the jumps, complete with schooling breaks from time to time for the later in the day divisions. Since allowing schooling is not a universal thing (per ilovetheadd27 who says they do not allow it where they are) be sure to either ask someone who has done this show series before or call someone associated with the show.

                I agree that having a friend who is show experienced with you will make your day 100% easier are more fun.

                Comment


                  #9
                  First of all, like many have said, remember this is for FUN! Don't worry about ribbons. Honestly, you probably won't place high based on your experience. So what?! I think you are showing in too many divisions. I would scrap the baby green if I were you. There are likely to be professionals in that class and you don't want to undermine your confidence and/or wear out or sour your horse for that windmill. With COVID schooling and showing has changed in many areas. Check with show management. Enjoy and let us know how it goes!!

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Didi View Post
                    I think you are showing in too many divisions. I would scrap the baby green if I were you.
                    I think those might be classes, not divisions. I think Baby Green HUS is just a single flat class.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      1. I'd try to have a pal go with you. You can be clueless together if they are not a horse person.

                      2. Don't worry about not having a good mover etc.


                      Have fun.
                      Come to the dark side, we have cookies

                      Comment

                        Original Poster

                        #12
                        Thank you all!! Sorry to confuse! This isn’t my first show. I showed AQHA for a while and I’ve shown local pleasure circuits since I was little. This is just my first hunter/jumper show, and I know I’m not prepared for the atmosphere.

                        I know you all are correct that I need to stop thinking about placings and just have fun. That’s why we do this!

                        I definitely love the idea of calling the show manager to ask questions. I didn’t think of that and then I can ask about schooling!

                        I’ll see if I can rope a friend into coming along. Maybe if I promise some snacks

                        I’ll make sure to let you all know how it went, and tell a story if my boy decides he’s going to lose his mind!

                        Thank you thank you thank you!

                        Comment


                          #13
                          I remember my first hunter show very clearly, I was so nervous! I was schooling 2'3 comfortably at home but on the day of the show I was so nervous I told my trainer I would probably scratch everything other than the x-rail class. She convinced me to just see how it went and (no surprise lol) it all went great.

                          Don't take yourself or your horse too seriously is my best advice. You're there for fun, so if you're not having fun, you've missed the point entirely!

                          Feel confident to ask questions of the whipper in - tell them it's your first time and they will be happy to give you an idea of what to expect. Likely they will also keep a helpful eye on you and out for you if they know it's your first outing and you're flying solo

                          Arrive with lots and lots of time to relax, ask questions when you sign in, take your time in brushing/tacking/warming up. Nothing makes show nerves worse than being cramped for time.

                          Don't worry about your braids; just be clean and tidy and focus on your riding and your horse. I've spent too many non-refundable hours stressing over braids and I promise it's not worth it at a schooling show. I personally think the focus on them at the higher levels is also ridiculous, but that's another tangent entirely heh.

                          If your horse gets rambunctious, just ride what you've got, and adjust your priorities accordingly. I had a classic hunter who was always in the ribbons and often won us our local schooling classes, but he happened to be afraid of yellow flowers; so if the yellow flowers were used that day as fillers, I had to change my expectations from "top 3" to "get over the yellow flowers and build his confidence". Very humbling and very healthy for my ego! And the more you can laugh at any shenanigans, the more positive your ride will be, and the more confidence your horse will take from that.

                          Have fun! Let us know how it goes.
                          thebaybondgirl.wordpress.com

                          Comment

                            Original Poster

                            #14
                            Thank you all for your well wishes! It went amazingly. My boy handled everything with grace and he even jumped his first flowers.

                            He’s such a different horse from a year ago!

                            The show was very well organized, and I saw a mix of what looked like local riders up to A circuit showers. People I talked to said they use this show to see what their horses are ready for (bigger shows or more local stuff), which makes sense to me since it had such a variety of heights and options. Everyone was so friendly and helpful

                            Also! We were in the ribbons for all of my classes (I ended up doing 5) which made the weekend ever better!!!

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Congratulations! Its great that you had fun and that you and your horse handled the atmosphere well.

                              Comment


                                #16
                                [QUOTE=trubandloki;n10678322]I think step 1 is to remember that you are doing this for fun. If you get there and things are not going well, remind yourself that what ribbon you get is not important, you are just having fun (and trying to give your horse a good experience).


                                They are not going to kick you out of the ring or anything. You just keep riding like he is the best mover out there and enjoy the experience.


                                Neat and tidy is all that matters. Perfect braids are great but at this level I am guessing you will find lots of horses that are not even braided. If the judging comes down to turn out consider it a successful day of riding.


                                This is where you learn to smile and laugh at yourself and your horse and ride the horse that you have to the best of your ability.

                                [/QUp

                                OTE]
                                please have fun ! You will meet wonderful people and go with the intention of the whole day being a fun experiment !

                                Comment


                                  #17
                                  oreo mom , the OP has had a successful first show as recounted in post #14.

                                  Comment

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