Show Prep: A Series

A few show preparation guidelines to help the inexperienced first-time showman and keep the seasoned showman on track.

A few show preparation guidelines to help the inexperienced first-time showman and keep the seasoned showman on track.

Candace Joyner of Pleasant Hill, Oregon
Candace Joyner of Pleasant Hill, Oregon and Blue Reflections open the gate in novice youth trail.

June is well underway. Trucks and trailers can be seen on the highways. Where are they headed? To the shows, of course! The show world is booming now, and with so many people getting antsy to get their hoof in the gate to experience the joy of showing, there is a bustle of inexperienced enthusiasm.

For those who are new to the showing world, the first few shows can be a little overwhelming. It is always a good idea to prepare yourself for the endeavor on which you are about to embark. has a few simple tips to follow that will make this transition a little bit easier.

The following bits are the first in a series of show advice tips that will be available through the Youth News blog on America’s Horse Daily every Wednesday. So be sure to check back frequently for the latest updates!

Junior Master Horseman announces the brand new Level Three curriculum, coming in July. Learn more, plus get your copies of Levels One and Two today!

Show Preparation Tips:

  • If you haven’t already, attend a show and watch the classes you plan on entering so that you know exactly what to expect.
  • If your horse is a greenie, take him to a show and don’t enter any classes; just evaluate how he handles the new surroundings.
  • Make a list of everything you need to take to the show; then pack the day beforehand, checking each item off your list.
  • Have a friend or family member on hand at the show to help with last minute grooming, giving your boots a wipe before you enter the ring or just providing moral support.
  • Before each class, visualize how you want your ride to be—professionals find this technique helpful.
  • If you don’t have a lot of money to spend on show clothes, stick to classic colors and avoid flamboyant trends.
  • Dress up your everyday tack by using a special pad or blanket reserved only for show.
  • Teach your horse to trailer load confidently, well before an event. Show morning is no time to discover that your horse hates straight loads or won’t travel alone.
  • If your discipline calls for show-day braiding or banding, start practicing well ahead of time, or hire an expert to do the job for you.
  • Bathe your horse for the show, and then cover him up for the night with a sheet/blanket; add a stretchy hood if you’ve braided or banded. If he has white stockings, protect his legs in standing wraps, too.

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