Going to a show can be a big effort. It involves a lot of organization, and the entry fees can sometimes cost a lot of money. That’s why it can be very frustrating when something goes wrong. Here are some showing problems, and ways that you can solve them.
1. You get your pony out of the trailer and he’s got a big manure stain on his leg.
Always take spot remover to a show. Spray some on the spot, work it in with a sponge and wipe it off with a clean cloth.
2. You can’t find your gloves and crop.
Make a list of things you need to bring to the show, and while you are packing the trailer check off the items as you load them. Use this handy list every time you go to a show. If you are going to a combined training event, don’t forget your medical armband.
3. Your girth strap breaks before a class.Always bring an extra girth and set of reins in case either breaks at a show. Always bring an extra halter and lead rope, too, in case your horse pulls back from the trailer, breaks his halter and runs off.
4. You have a refusal while competing in a jumping class.
Turn your horse around, give him a sharp tap with the crop behind your leg and head for the fence again. Don’t give your horse a big approach to the fence. Don’t give him time to think about refusing again. Don’t beat him or lose your temper with your horse—inside or outside the show arena.
5. You forget to bring a copy of your horse’s Coggins test.
You’ll have to go home and get it. Some shows won’t let you compete unless you’ve got a copy of the Coggins test. Make several copies of the Coggins test. Keep one in your truck, one in your trailer, and one in your parent’s car—just in case!
6. You fall off during a class.
If you’re not hurt, catch your pony as quickly as you can and continue with your course. Try to act like you haven’t fallen off. Don’t make a big scene and bawl your eyes out!
7. You think you’ve knocked a pole over while jumping a course.
Forget about the pole. Don’t look back at it. Focus on the course ahead, and give your horse an extra kick to get him going forward.
8. You almost crash into someone while jumping the warm-up fence.
Warn people that you are going to be jumping a fence. For instance yell out, “brush box to brick wall, please!” and everyone should get out of your way.
9. You jump over the warm-up fence in the wrong direction.
This can get you eliminated at combined training events. Always jump with the red flag on your right. Make sure you look at the fence carefully before jumping it.
10. In a flat class you keep getting stuck behind a slowpoke.
Pass the person to the inside and try to stay in front of them. Give the other person plenty of room.
11. Your horse jumps out of the dressage ring.
Sadly you will be eliminated. Some judges may let you return to the ring and finish the test though. If you have to leave, halt, salute the judge and head back to the trailer. Be a good sport.
12. You’re doing a dressage test and you arrive late for your test.
Ask your trainer or parent to find the show organizer or steward and ask if you can compete at the end of the division. Apologize for your lateness. In future, give yourself more time to get to a show. You could get caught in traffic, your horse might not load or you could forget an important piece of tack. Always try to arrive at least an hour before a dressage test.
13. Your horse kicks another horse at a show.
Apologize profusely and do your best to keep your horse away from other horses.
If someone gets too close to you, tell her that your horse may kick and that she should keep her distance. If it is a casual show, you can tie a red ribbon on his tail to warn others to stay clear.
14. You forget your showjumping course.
Slow down a bit and calm down. Look back at the last fence you jumped and try to remember where the next fence is. If you go off-course you will be eliminated. Nod your head at the judge to salute and then leave the arena. The next time you jump, study the course to memorize it, and walk it several times until you know it by heart.
15. You feel extremely nervous, and can’t concentrate.
Go to a quiet area in the warm-up arena and walk in a circle with your horse. Try to calm down. Breathe in and out slowly. Think about your next class and plan how you are going to ride.
Remember that showing is supposed to be fun, and winning isn’t everything. If you’re jumping, watch two or three competitors ride the course to help you memorize it. You won’t be so nervous if you know your course.