Right now, many of you are probably in the middle of show season. It’s a fun time of year, but it can also be stressful! In today’s video, I am going to give you five tips to help you prepare, improve your scores, and have fun at your next show! These tips are exactly what I do to help prepare my horses before each show.
This video is proudly sponsored by Purina! The correct nutrition is always important in preparing your horse for a show. At home, I feed Purina® Ultium® Gastric Care to help my horses’ gut health, and at a show, I feed Purina® RepleniMash® which contains electrolytes and gastric support, aiding in reduction of gastric upset and ensuring my horses are intaking enough fluids during the stress of the show. Be sure to check out the Purina® Feed Greatness® Challenge where you can get some great coupons for feed from them!
Here are the 5 tips to up your scores and have fun at your next show!
Tip #1 – Focus on the Basics
At the top of each test (Training through Fourth level), you will find the purpose, and the first sentence is always “to confirm that the horse demonstrates correct basics”. What are the basics? The basics are the base of the Training Scale: Rhythm, Suppleness, and Connection. It is important to focus on these basics when practicing before the show as well as during your warm-up at the show! These basics are the #1 thing that you will be scored on in your test.
- Rhythm – Focusing on rhythm by counting your horse’s footfalls in each gait will help you get in sync with your horse, allowing you to apply your aids more effectively and in time with the gait you’re riding.
- Suppleness – When your horse is supple, they are physically and mentally relaxed. To achieve suppleness in your horse, work on bending your horse’s body. Riding figures like circles, serpentines, and changes of direction will help. Your goal is to be able to bend your horse evenly in both directions.
- Connection –When your horse is connected, they are accepting your leg and rein, and are working from the hind leg, through the back, and into the bit. The best way to work on connection is transitions!
Tip #2 – Practice Your Centerlines & Halts
Your centerlines and halts during your test are your first and last impressions, which makes them an important part of your test to practice! However, you don’t want to drill your centerlines and halts. Just mix them in throughout your ride.
Try practicing your centerlines during your rides and warm up for the show. Be careful not to practice your halt on the centerline every time – try riding a few centerlines without the halt, and practicing your halt elsewhere. When you do halt, focus on halting from your seat. This will help your horse to halt round and square!
Tip #3 – “3” is the Magic Number!
Having trouble with a certain movement in your test? I like to break apart movements in my tests and mix them into my rides. This is super helpful especially if you are having difficulty with a certain part of your test. Practicing the movement 3 times in a row will help your horse become more comfortable with that particular pattern in the test. So, if you are having trouble with a certain part of your test, try practicing that section 3 times before moving on!
Tip #4 – Always Give Your Horse Extra TLC and Love
Though shows are fun, they can also be stressful, especially for our horses. Being nervous can cause acid build-up in your horse’s stomach and traveling to a new place, they may be less likely to drink enough water. Therefore, it’s always important to give them extra TLC and love before a show. At home, my horses are on Purina® Ultium® Gastric Care to support their gut health on a day to day basis. At the show, I feed Purina® RepleniMash®, which contains Outlast and electrolytes. This supports my horse’s gut health during stressful times and encourages water intake. If you would like to check out Purina’s products, check out their Purina® Feed Greatness® Challenge on their website where you can get some awesome coupons on feed!
Tip #5 – Smile & Have Fun!
This is perhaps the most important! Oftentimes, we can get too tense, stressed, and focused on the show and our test. It is so important to remember why you are at the show – to have fun with your horse! If you are relaxed and having fun, your horse will be more relaxed and have fun too!
I hope these tips help you with prepare your horse for your next show! Don’t forget to have fun, and check out Purina’s products! They have some great coupons in their Purina® Feed Greatness® Challenge!