Tips and Tricks for Getting Ready for a Horse Show

When I first started showing, I didn’t need to pack a tack trunk or worry about most normal horse show dilemmas. I was 14 and the horse shows were at the same farm that I took lessons. I didn’t own a horse until college, so I was ill-prepared the first time I went to a horse show away from home. I was unprepared then, but have since learned some important horse show preparation tips to make it run smoother.

Getting Ready for a Horse Show - Know when to Bathe your Horse

Know when to Bathe your Horse

Clean horses are the basis for a good turnout at horse shows. With that in mind, baths are required. Some horses can be bathed the night before and stay clean the next day. I’ve always had pigpens for horses so that rarely worked out for me. I almost always had to bathe the same day of the horse show, even if my horse was bathed the day before.

Getting Ready for a Horse Show - Use the Right Product for you and your Horse

Use the Right Product for you and your Horse

Not all shampoos work for every horse. If you have a horse with no white, you probably don’t need a whitening or brightening shampoo. A conditioning shampoo will keep the coat healthy and shiny, while horses with lots of chrome may need some extra attention with a brightening shampoo. I’ve always had horses with puny tails, so I’m a big fan of moisturizers that help promote hair growth. For a fuller tail at the horse show, stay away from silicone products, as it can weigh a smaller tail down. A lighter weight spray moisturizer will work better for combing the tail out.

Getting Ready for a Horse Show - Ring Bag Ready

Ring Bag Ready

Always have a ring bag that will cover any last-minute need. I always carry a bag with fly spray, spot cleaner, boot polish, a tail brush, a fluffy grooming mitt and a clean cloth for boots. I inevitably leave the top of my horse’s butt dirty and don’t realize it until I’m sitting in the saddle. One of the hardships of being short. The ring bag prevents me from going in the ring less than presentable.

Getting Ready for a Horse Show - Play to your Strengths

Play to your Strengths

Not everyone is great at everything. I can’t braid to save my life. I can fully admit that I’d rather pay to have my horse braided than do it myself. It would have been embarrassing for the both of us to go in the show ring if I’d braided him. The only time I show is when I know someone from my barn is going and can braid for me. That may seem silly, but I know braiding isn’t my strength. I know people who only show early and late in the show season because they are sensitive to heat. They’d be wasting money showing in July as they’d end up scratching 9 times out of 10.

Getting Ready for a Horse Show - Keep Organized

Keep Organized

The easiest way to have a smooth show is to know you have everything and where it is. At most shows, we have a tack stall for the barn. Sometimes, that’s five people sharing and sometimes it’s ten. Either way, we keep it organized, otherwise we’d all be frantic. We use individual tack trunks and portable saddle racks. There’s always someone guilty of leaving their stuff everywhere, but having tack racks, organizers, and a place to hang clothes keeps us all more in line.

Preparing for horse shows well can make the actual horse show run smoother. Maybe it won’t change how your horse is in the show ring, but it will definitely make your life easier outside of the ring!