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How do YOU plan your season?

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  • How do YOU plan your season?

    Okay, so as some of you may know via previous threads of mine I'm moving up the A circuit next season. Until now my trainer has done all of the planning for the horse shows. All I do is make a packing list for myself, tell my mom when the show is, and she foots the bill. But because the majority of the barn will not be showing at the A shows, planning for them is not worth my trainer's time and I totally understand that. With only two or so riders going to these shows it makes no sense for her to have to worry about planning in advance for them. So I have taken on the responsiblity of planning my show schedule for the next year, calculating the expenses, and telling my trainer which shows I am interested in attending. The other rider will not be going to all of these shows or helping to plan ahead for them because they are simply not her top priority.

    Do you have any advice for somebody planning their season? How do you plan and prepare for your's? TIA

  • #2
    That's a tough one. I would get a calendar of the A shows you could go to for the year, and then decide how many you would like to go to. Are there any favorite shows? Any that are more fun than another? How often can your trainer be away from the barn and will the show you want to attend overlap any of her plans?

    Make sure you keep a few extra possible shows just in case you may not be able to attend one you planned. Then I'd make sure that you figure out closing dates and costs of attending those shows (including hotel, food, travel, etc) and just draw up a plan for the next year.

    It also depends on if you're trying to qualify for medal finals, chasing points, or going for fun. I like to try to qualify for medal finals early in the year so I would go to more shows earlier on, and go easy on the shows later in the year. If you're going for points, I'd spread out the shows so your horse has a chance to recover.

    It's good that you're thinking of all this ahead of time. Good luck!


    • #3
      I would get your trainers show schedule for her other riders first because it sounds like your schedule will have to be built around that. Make sure none of the dates conflict.
      "To do something that you feel in your heart that's great, you need to make a lot of mistakes. Anything that is successful is a series of mistakes." -B.J. Armstrong


      • #4
        Well it sounds like you'll be a bit on your own until your actually showing so..

        First and foremost, gather your files! Be diligent in preparing your horse's health papers, passports, records, and the like. Keep it in a easily accessible file. Obviously, keep everything up to date. You never know what you'll be asked to hand in so have it ready beforehand.

        Next, look at your calendars. Find shows the best suite you and your animals. Often times your trainer takes care of this..but research the location, stabling, footing, fees, management, and whatnot of the show you'd like to attend. Create a calendar for this.

        Then you can go to your trainer and compare schedules. It sounds as though the weekend shows of other clients will be of more importance which is understandable. Go back and tweak your schedule if your trainers time doesn't allow for a specific series. You can always find another week that both you and your trainer can show at.

        Once you have a clarified schedule for your horses.. then you can look into accommodations for yourself, such as your hotel and transportation.

        If your REALLY on your own. You should consider your shipping arrangements and if you have the privilege of a groom, make sure his/her time is available for the show series as well.

        Throughout your planning it is important to calculate the cost of showing and what your budget is. Calculate by show first, then everything later.

        happy showing


        • #5
          When I was younger, I groomed almost every weekend for my best friend. She rode in the pony divisions and they chased points all season. I never got paid, but her mom paid for my room and my food all weekend long. The experience I got and the knowledge I gained in the 4 yrs we did this has been INVALUABLE! not to mention the trainers I met and got to know along the way.
          Taking a groom along is a really really good idea, if you can find a friend to take on the job then its such a good experience!
          I did it all , bathed the pony, rolled wraps, mucked stalls, set fences in the warm up rings, hauled water, got my friend food and water, you name it I did it. We had a BLAST! Its great to have someone you like to enjoy the experience with!
          If you are lucky enough to ride, you are lucky enough.


          • Original Poster

            Thanks for all of the advice. I just found an online calendar and I think that I'll use that instead of a paper one. That way I can change stuff around easier if there should be a conflict. Unfortunately things are kind of up in the air right now for the other riders at the barn. The association that the barn usually shows with isn't affiliated with USEF at all, and they 'base their desisions on USEF rules'. In other words, whatever they want to happen, happens. All in all it's a very unpleasent atmosphere so my trainer is trying to work out a totally different show schedule for next year.

            Grooms can be a bit difficult when it comes to the pony, though. She's very touchy. Her old owner was afraid of her and consequently beat her a bit. She's just now letting my mom into her stall without trying to lunge at her a little. Poor pony is just scared to death half the time I think. I'll check and see if one of the working students wants to earn a little extra money. She's good with them because they feed her.