Regardless of the amount of “hurry up and wait” you experience, we can all agree that there is no place we would rather be. Photo © Tiffany Anne Photo

The Waiting Game: Five Tips to Liven Up Your Wait Time at Horse Shows

Horse Shows are filled with lots of “Hurry Up and Wait” moments. It all begins as we rush to get to the show grounds to practice in the arena before the show starts, only to end up waiting three hours after that for our actual class to begin.

While we know this is part of horse show territory, many of us find ourselves twiddling our thumbs, trying to figure out how to make the time go by faster. Here are five fun suggestions to make the most of your wait time.

1) Mentally Prepare for Your Next Class

Showing horses is as much a mental sport as it is a physical one, so having your brain prepared before walking into the arena is critical to success. Mental preparation begins long before we arrive at the horse show, but utilizing those moments between classes and practice is the perfect way to fine tune your mind.

Practice visualizing your pattern; when you envision yourself on your horse in the pattern, think about how your horse will feel underneath you and which cues you will need to give them to perform the required maneuvers.

Know the size of the arena and make a note of certain markers that you can see while riding to keep the right shape and size of your pattern. Practice your breathing to ensure that you can be cool, calm and collected when you step foot in front of the judges.

2) Make a New Friend

Horse shows attract people from all different walks of life with a common passion: horses. Take advantage of the diversity at the shows to make a new friend and learn about what they do in their personal lives and how that has shaped their horse show experience.

It is fun to hear about why others love horses as much as you do. Whether your new friend competes in the same classes as you or in different ones, it is exciting to watch them with their horse and learn from their patterns.

Making new friends also provides for great dinner partners to share a meal with after the show is over and you want to relax and go over the day’s events.

3) Get in Tune with Your Horse

Too much time can never be spent with your horse. During down time, take your horse out and groom him; find out where he enjoys being scratched and what treats (if your trainer allows them) he craves. Time spent grooming your horse also allows you to check their legs, backs and sides for any soreness. If you are familiar with your horse, then you will be able to notice changes quickly and get help if your horse needs it.

If you have time to ride your horse during your down time, spend it strengthening your cues and dialing in your maneuvers. Time spent stopping and pausing is also time-consuming, yet an essential part of riding that can be done during down time.

4) Complete Work/Homework

Work and homework are not the most exciting parts of our days. However, they are some of the most important. If we do not complete our work or homework, our bosses, clients and teachers will be less inclined to allow us to leave and do what we love the next time.

Utilizing downtime is an effective way to get your work completed without having to sacrifice dinner with friends or getting up extremely early to finish it. Bring your laptop or books to the barn and find a quiet place to work; use the same place every day to help your mind switch over to work mode.


5) Catch Up on the Latest Issue of GoMag and news at GoHorseShow.Com

Shameless self-promotion time. GoHorseShow is home to the most recent and exciting news, with new stories being posted daily. Spend your down time catching up on training tips from top professionals or see what the next hot fashion trend is. There are countless articles covering each discipline, take the time to learn more about yours as well as explore other classes.

The show you are competing at may also have candids or daily reports featured on GoHorseShow, so stop by and see if you or your friends made the highlight reel.

Look through GoMag to see fellow competitor’s recent wins and see where they are headed next. This is a great resource for competitors and enthusiasts to stay connected to the top news.

No matter what you choose to do in your downtime, be sure to revel in the fact that you get to be doing what you love with your favorite four-legged partner.

Wait time can be extremely productive and rewarding if spent correctly. Regardless of the amount of “hurry up and wait” you experience, we can all agree that there is no place we would rather be.


About the Author: Lauren Crivelli Stanley of Tulare, California got hooked on horses at a very young age and never looked back. Through the support of her family and friends, she has allowed this passion to evolve and has learned to express this passion through writing. She can be found in the show ring aboard her two roan horses in the All Around and Ranch Versatility events.
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