Show Planning

April 28, 2020 3:47 pm by
Posted in Jayne Ross, News

This is a great time of year to accommodate the needs of sponsors especially with our horses coming in scruffy after winter. They all need a tidy up so it’s an ideal opportunity for photo shoots. Without sponsors in the equestrian world we would all be in a lot of trouble, so it is nice to give something back.  It’s much easier now with social media, so it’s not hard to keep on top of things if you are organised.

We are two weeks off of our first show so there’s lots of trimming going on and the grey horses have already started to have their tails washed a couple of times a week to get rid of the winter mud stains. We have two intermediates going to Onley then we are off to Addington for the Ponies UK show.

Before this we are taking a couple of our youngsters for a practice run at an indoor school so they can have a look around. Although they will have travelled before they might not have been in a lorry with several horses, so this gives us an opportunity to get them used to lots of horses clattering up and down the ramp and the general hubbub of things.

It is important to prepare your horse for shows and so much depends on the horse.  We choose our shows according to what youngsters we’ve got and who is judging.  If it’s a first-time outing for a horse, we tend to find smaller shows where there isn’t a ride judge and we can just give a show. For the more established horses we know which judges like them, and which don’t, which horses like an indoor arena or perhaps one horse goes better on a particular type of surface.  All these things have to be factored in when deciding the shows to attend.

We also pick classes according to how the judge rides. For example, for the younger or sharper novice horses we chose judges who are known for their experience of riding this type of horse or who sits quietly as this helps introduce the horse to the show world without too much pressure.

Another thing to think about is the show ground itself.  Does it have a good riding in area, is there somewhere suitable if you need to lunge before you get on? Is the show ring near a road because if you have a horse that is wary of traffic that is going to affect your performance.

Do your homework by asking around and don’t be afraid to ask professionals.  We are here to help and pass on our knowledge, particularly with younger or amateur riders – after all they could be our showing future.

When you get to your show find out how big the show ground is and where you are going to park.  Always get there early to make sure you have plenty of time to sort these things out before you even get your horse off the lorry.  It is all about preparation and planning.

If you are on your own or have limited help don’t be too busy too soon. You have got to enjoy it and if you are uptight around your horse, they sense it and it affects them too.

It is good to have an aim and it gives you a date to be ready for something, however, every horse is different and you don’t really know how or what they can achieve until you get out to your first few competitions.

Novice horses or amateur riders in their first season might be best to enter amateur classes. If you have a hunter you compete under the Sport Horse Breeding GB (SHBGB) rules.  If you have a hack, cob or riding horse you enter classes under the British Show Horse Association (BSHA) rules. You can then aim for their national championship shows, and there are also amateur classes at the Royal International Show. If you’re unsure what type your horse is, ask a professional for advice.

One of the most important things is to read the rule book! There’s lots to consider, such as Equine Flu vaccinations because some of the bigger shows, like Royal Windsor and the Royal International, insist on a 6-month flu jab regime.   We all know, as far as DEFRA is concerned, you can’t go anywhere without your passport but lots of shows now want to see your passport at the entrance to the show ground.

Then there are the rules regarding connections to judges. You can’t go under a judge that you have a link to, but the onus is on you as a competitor to make sure this doesn’t happen.  Judges aren’t allowed to see the catalogue of entries, so they won’t know who is coming under them until they walk into the show ring. This is something more likely to affect professionals who have lots of horses in the yard, but it is something you should be aware of especially if you have bought a horse that has been shown before.

There are also rules about horses being shod and the SHBGB rules state that horses have to go into the ring shod. Sometimes people get up in arms about this because there are plenty of owners who don’t shoe their horses for a variety of reasons. However, the BSHA rules allow you to go in unshod. In my opinion it isn’t advisable to go unshod in a grass ring if you are expecting a judge to ride your horse, because I have seen unshod horses slip and fall.  If you were unlucky and lost a shoe on the day of or the night before a show there is nearly always a farrier at the show but again, check before you go!

Showing should be fun but you need to be organised and prepared. Do your homework! I realised early on that I needed to keep my eye out and learn from my mistakes.  Don’t be afraid to ask, never be too proud or above learning and you won’t go far wrong.

Photo: Jayne and Daphne Winning Coloured Championship c.1st Class Images