Time to get ready to show

Spring is only 20 days away and that means show season will soon be in full force even here in the cold Midwest. The start of show season means a lot of preparation for not only your horse but also all the other things that help make a show successful. Here are 5 important reminders to help your first show run smoothly. 

1. Dig those clothes out of the closet

Even if that showmanship outfit fit perfectly last year, depending on your age, you may have gotten taller or your feet may have gotten bigger. This means letting out hems or putting in an order for a new pair of matching boots. Making sure you have well fitting clothing is important for the overall picture when you enter the show pen. It is the judge’s first impression and you want to make sure it is a good one. Find a tailor that knows how horse show clothes should fit and he or she should be able to have you looking fabulous in no time. Be sure to hang up the clothes as soon as you are done to keep them from wrinkling and those fancy sparkly tops are kept safe from getting snagged and ruining all that hard (and expensive) crystal work.

Tip: Fold your chaps inside out before hanging to keep the important side pristine.

2. A shedding horse is a happy horse

Its that time of year where we get out our curry combs and shedding blades. If your winters get into the -20’s like mine in the frigid state of Minnesota, sometimes your horse cannot help but grow a winter coat. This time of year they begin to shed that fury coat and our work has only just begun. I could stand for hours getting piles and piles of hair off my horse but some of you may not be as patient. For easy shedding I like to use the Slick ‘N Easy horse grooming block by Farnam. Its not very effective for grooming the long hair in the winter that has not yet started to shed, but once the hair begins to fall this seems to work well. Keeping your horse inside under lights can help the process also. It is important to start this process early to be sure you have a slick and shiny coat some the first show.

3. Truck and trailer

Hauling your horses to and from the show safely is the most important thing you can do. Be sure to have your truck checked out by a trustworthy mechanic before the show season gets under way. Whether it is kept inside or out or in a heated garage, it can still have unexpected issues come springtime. It is helpful to have these things checked out ahead of time so you are not caught off guard days or hours before you plan to leave. On the trailer, it is most important to check the tire pressure. Having a flat tire on the road can really derail your already hectic schedule.

Tip: Don’t forget to check the air pressure of your spare tire just incase it is need in an emergency!

4. Take tabs on your tack

Depending when your last show was, it could have been months since the last time you saw that beautiful show bridle. You don’t want to be the person that pulls it out an hour before your first class only to realize it is full of tarnished silver and moldy leather. You then scramble to polish and clean as fast as you can. If only you had cleaned it all BEFORE you left to hit the road. Be sure to pull out all of those bridles and halters to be sure that the silver is shiny and that the leather is clean and supple. Depending on the conditions of your storage space, moisture can accumulate and this means mold on your leather. This is not the end of the world and can easily be cleaned. Tarnished silver on saddles and bridles is easily made anew with some silver polish and a little elbow grease. Also be sure that your bits are clean and that all the parts of the equipment you use is there and in working order.

5. Make a plan

Lastly, and most importantly so as not to be disappointed at the end of the year, plan your summer! Planning out your summer can seem like a daunting task but it can make your life a lot easier in the long run. It is important to decide what your goals are for the end of the season. If you are hoping to qualify for any world shows or for year end awards/competitions for open breed shows, it is essential to keep track of qualifying deadlines and what shows fall within that time frame. Most breed associations offer year-end awards, so being able to show enough to earn them may be important to you. If so, make sure to look up dates and requirements such as required memberships and work hours for your association. Search the web and look through your local breed association magazines to find show bills of the events you would like to attend. Make a list of all the shows you hope to travel to then narrow them down from there based on location and date/time.

Being prepared and organized will reduce stress and make for a happy and successful show season!

Good luck in 2015

Kerry Hansen