Bringing Your Horse to His First Show

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Bringing your horse to his first horse show can be a stressful experience. You will want the show to be positive for your horse, but you will also be putting your horse in a new environment where many factors are out of your control. These tips will help you as you plan your horse’s first show experience.

Go With a Buddy

When you take your horse to his first show, you will have plenty to handle. Traveling with a friend and his or her horse can help take some of the burden off of you. Your friend can step in to hold or watch the horses while you take care of things away from the trailer, like registering your horse or fetching water. Your friend can also act as moral support and can help to keep you calm.

Additionally, traveling with another horse can help to reassure and calm your horse. Try to travel with a horse that is calm, experienced, and already friendly with your horse. If your horse has a particular “buddy” at the agistment that he’s fond of, offer to trailer him for free in exchange for his help with your horse.

Arrive Early

It is best to arrive at the show grounds with plenty of time to spare. Doing so will allow you to get your horse checked in, prepare him for his first class, and give him time to settle in to his new surroundings. Make an effort to hand walk your horse around the show grounds so that he can see the sights and get used to the many other horses and riders in attendance. As you walk your horse, keep him a safe distance away from other horses and riders. Remember that he may react suddenly, so stay alert to keep everyone safe.

Plan the Show as Educational

When you take your horse to his first horse show, it’s best to approach the show as a learning situation for your horse. If you simply go and walk around the grounds, you’re teaching your horse that he can deal with the excitement of a horse show. Remember, you don’t necessarily have to mount up to help give your horse show exposure – it’s better to keep the experience positive for your horse than it is to push him beyond his comfort level to a point where he associates horse shows with negative experiences.

When you take your horse to his first horse show, your goal should be to help your horse get comfortable in the new situation. There will be plenty of time to be competitive at future shows.

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