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First show...Help?

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  • First show...Help?

    Hey all, I am taking my 5yr old OTTB mare to her first hunter show on Sunday. Do you guys have any tips on how to make to day run smoothly? Or any faux paux to avoid? I typically ride her in a copper French link D ring with a flash noseband. I also have her in a running martingale. I don't mind switching to a standing martingale though.
    Heck, I don't even know what color jacket to get! Any help would be greatly appreciated!!

  • #2
    The main thing is be organized! Place all your tack and grooming supplies in the same area and know where it all is. Also, I would suggest possibly bringing along either a slightly stronger bit or giving a calming supplement a few hours before you show. You should ask your trainer before trying this though. Also, be sure to check with the ring steward so you are ready for your class and don't miss it!
    Showing attire is tan or olive breeches; paddock boots for under 13 and tall boots for above; a white shirt for equitation and a colored or white shirt for anything else; a blue, black, or dark green jacket; and a velvet helmet with your hair tucked underneath the helmet in a hairnet. For the horse, tack needs to be extremely cleaned and polished and should be wearing a fitted white saddle pad.
    Good luck!


    • #3
      Inthesaddle88 covered just about everything was going to say, but I wanted to mention that flash nosebands are not considered conventional hunter tack and you should switch to a plain cavesson.

      Have fun


      • #4
        Originally posted by HunterRider992 View Post
        Inthesaddle88 covered just about everything was going to say, but I wanted to mention that flash nosebands are not considered conventional hunter tack and you should switch to a plain cavesson.

        Have fun
        I was going to mention that too But you can school in a flash and pull it off right before going into the ring.


        • #5
          And you'll want to go standing if you need a martingale in hunters. Just remember to take it off before any flat class. This means I have to have a ladder ringside if I'm going to have to remount after removing it, too. If she goes well without, you won't need one at all though.

          Depending on where you're showing, you might also check to see if people will wear coats or polos. Around here, it gets so hot that many of our unrated shows want people in polos to avoid getting too hot. Oh, and gloves always make one look more polished. I wear black gloves no matter if I'm showing in a polo or jacket. Put your hair up under your helmet in a hairnet. If you want hunter hair, you can google the ways to get the perfect ear patties. (mental note to self - call to get haircut BEFORE next show to avoid having to do hunter hair!)
          A proud friend of bar.ka.


          • Original Poster

            ok, so I just went to the tack store and came home with a dark green hunt coat, tan breeches, white show shirt, smooth leather half chaps, black gloves and a new lami-cell show helmet! I am going to borrow a hunter bridle, a fitted fleece saddle pad and a standing martingale from my trainer......are fleece girthes allowed? am I missing anything?


            • #7
              Originally posted by Codybug View Post
              ok, so I just went to the tack store and came home with a dark green hunt coat, tan breeches, white show shirt, smooth leather half chaps, black gloves and a new lami-cell show helmet! I am going to borrow a hunter bridle, a fitted fleece saddle pad and a standing martingale from my trainer......are fleece girthes allowed? am I missing anything?
              Any chance you can borrow tall boots? If the half chaps are black and look like tall boots it should be fine.


              • #8
                Originally posted by Codybug View Post
                ok, so I just went to the tack store and came home with a dark green hunt coat, tan breeches, white show shirt, smooth leather half chaps, black gloves and a new lami-cell show helmet! I am going to borrow a hunter bridle, a fitted fleece saddle pad and a standing martingale from my trainer......are fleece girthes allowed? am I missing anything?
                Fleece girths are OK. See if you can borrow tall boots, though.


                • #9
                  Don't worry about the tall boots if it's a local or even C rated show.


                  • Original Poster

                    I have Ariat paddock boots and I just got Ariat half chaps, they look like tall booths though....my tall boots are trashed right now and my new ones broke a zipper the 2nd time I wore them.. :/
                    I'm glad to know that I can wear a fleece girth though!
                    No jumping boots though, right?


                    • #11
                      Polish the trashed ones, and no to jumping boots.


                      • #12
                        Everyone seems to have covered equipment and organization but (especially since you have an OTTB) I would like to offer some general schooling advice related to your horse... I don't know what her general temperment is (and a gentle mouthpiece like a french-link would suggest she is fairly quiet) but hot blooded ex-racehorse + first show + young + first show for rider can be a frustrating experience. I have a Hanoverian with an OTTB mind so... If she is anything like that I think I can relate. I don't know whether you are going with your trainer, who of course knows your horse and will help you, but of you're like me and go it alone I think you will find this useful if adapted to your own horse!

                        My horse acted like a nutcase in the large rings we showed in for the first year or so... After three years he still sometimes acts idiotic! This probably had to do with the fact that at home we only ever rode in a small ring, so keep in mind all the factors that change between home and the showing venue. Noticing those things will help you prepare a plan to accustom your horse to them--rather than blindly riding around and not learning from the experience more about your horse. Also, ride your horse really well before you go, because if she tends to run hot having her a little tired will be beneficial. Then, on show day again: ride, ride, ride! Be sure to gauge that she has enough energy to compete successfully, but not enough to use for worrying. Make sure you're not just wearing her out either, try to focus her and sharpen her to your aids so you will have as good a trip in the show ring as you do at home... If you get that, there's not much else you can ask for!

                        Finally, pay attention to yourself... This has been a big problem for me in the past. If you're nervous, you may ride slightly differently without even noticing it; your horse WILL notice. Take deep breaths and remember that it's just for fun.


                        • #13
                          GOOD LUCK & ENJOY YOUR DAY ~

                          GOOD LUCK AND ENJOY YOUR DAY `
                          Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "


                          • #14
                            My favorite way to do the first show with a horse is not to compete. Otherwise, I adjust *everything* to the horse I have at any given moment.

                            Ride her the day before so she's a little tired. On show day, you just have to gauge her mental and physical energy.

                            I like to get there really early and spend a lot of time hanging out, hand grazing, hand walking. If horses can just stand around and *look* while they aren't being asked to do anything, the riding can go better.

                            The same goes for lunging. A little bit of time on the line can give your mare somewhere to put her nervous energy that is "legal." Too much, and she'll get more worried. If I have a horse who needs that and seems to start listening, then I'll ask for some transitions to help put bring the "mind" back into the game.

                            I like more standing around between lunging and riding. When I get on, I think "OK, the meter has gone back to zero." That means I start out expecting the attention and energy level I usually have at home. I change my ride accordingly to work toward that. Maybe the horse needs to stand in the middle of the schooling ring and watch the overwhelming traffic for a few minutes. Maybe the horse needs to walk or trot on a loose rein for a couple of laps and get used to listening to you while watching the activity. Maybe the horse needs to canter some with you in a two-point not asking for much. Maybe the horse needs to be put right to work.

                            If I get a pretty rideable horse in time or well enough to go into the main ring, fine. If not? I get close in the schooling ring and quit. I might try again much later at the end of the day.... if I think my horse isn't mentally tired from hanging out at the show all day and likely to just.not.deal. with rider requests on top of it all.

                            You'll have a great time and give your mare a good experience if you go with a plan to be slow and careful and you bring no expectations.
                            The armchair saddler
                            Politically Pro-Cat


                            • #15
                              I usually have a green ribbon in the tail (at least in the schooling ring) for an ottbs first time out. Sometimes they look at all that commotion & think they're back on the track!I have an old man who ran 100+ races & was quite put out when he arrived at his first hunter show - he was sure he was racing. He was an absolute sh*t until we got him into the show ring - he looked around, saw jumps & no other horses & had a lightbulb moment & went right to work, bless his big old heart!
                              "I gave my life to become the person I am right now. Was it worth it?”


                              • #16
                                Bring a clean, clipped up horse, I would lunge at home before you go, bring all show gear and plan on not showing.

                                If you get there and she not a total freak then put her in a few flat classes. If there happens to be a quiet schooling time get her in the ring that you might show in. I would not put her into a crazy schooling time. If she's fine, and schooling is crazy, just put her in w/t classes as her schooling. Don't blow her mind in schooling. You want it to be a calm, confidence building time. Be prepared to not show and if you do, then bonus.

                                Have fun and let us know how you do.


                                • #17
                                  I would rather intro my OTTB in jumping classes than flat classes at his first show, so YMMV on which classes are most appropriate. My TB wants to socialize with all the traffic, though so he is best when in the ring by himself.

                                  Be flexible, adjust your plan to meet your horse's needs when you get there, and have a great time!