A moment with your horse is always a peaceful way to start and end the day. Photo © TQHA Candids

Six Things You Should Do Every Day Before You Show

The morning of a horse show can often be a hectic, wild ride (not necessarily on your horse). There are so many different tasks to get done to be prepared to compete at your best.

Between getting you and your horse ready, and all the other tasks, sometimes things slip through the cracks.

Everyone has been there, getting to the arena and realizing you don’t have your number or that you’re missing your hat. We’ve all had nightmares about showing up to the arena late and missing our class or going in our showmanship class with our pants in our boots.

To prevent a chaotic and stressful horse show experience, here are six things that you should do every day before you show.

1) Have a plan

As obvious as it sounds, having a plan will help your day go smoother. However, as with many things in life, even the best-laid plans can go to waste. So, keeping that in mind, remember to be flexible.

Having an idea of what time your class may show can give you an idea of how early you are going to have to get up. Sleep is a precious thing; you don’t want to get up two hours before you have to, but being late to the show is going to cause a lot of stress.

Knowing your pattern before you head to the arena to compete is instrumental as well. Having confidence in your game plan is going to give you the peace of mind to focus on preparing your horse.

2) Prepare your horse

This can mean different things to different people. To some, it means they have practiced before they go in to compete, and to others, it means they have groomed their horse from top to bottom.

3) Prepare yourself

Make sure your hair and makeup are done appropriately for the class you are competing in with time to spare. Waiting until the last minute usually means things don’t get done as well, which often results in flyaway hairs.

Don’t get dressed so early that you will get dirty, but don’t get dressed so late that you are feeling stressed that you will not have time. Make sure your number is on your jacket if you are competing in a showmanship or halter class. Make sure it is on your pad if you are riding.

If you need to take a moment to yourself, don’t be afraid to take that extra time. Everybody gets mentally prepared in different ways.

4) Eat a healthy meal

Showing horses is both a physically and mentally athletic endeavor. For your body to function at a high level, you have to fuel it properly, the same as you do your horse. It is not fair to expect your horse to compete well if they have not had the right nutrients, and it is not fair to expect yourself to either. Eating proteins, fruits, and vegetables throughout the day will keep your mind and body running at a high level. Try to stay away from processed foods with high sugar levels that will cause your body to crash.

5) Spend time with your horse

Whether this is time spent grooming and saddling before you show, giving them a treat, or cleaning their stall, a moment with your horse is always a peaceful way to start and end the day. It is an excellent way to bring you back to the reason you show horses. The simple task of cleaning your horse’s stall can be therapeutic in the sense that you can focus on cleaning while you share space with your horse, and figure out ways to move around each other without getting in each other’s way.

6) Enjoy the moment and the process

You are at a show doing something you love with a partner you love. It doesn’t get much better than that. Don’t be afraid to pause and take it all in. Showing horses is a journey, there are always things to learn and places to improve. This makes it fun. It’s not like memorizing a video game; it’s always changing and keeping you on your toes. Even professionals are always learning. Celebrate both the moments and the process.



About the Author: Parris Rice started showing Quarter Horses before she can remember. Her mother, Carolyn Rice, is a horse trainer, which allowed Parris to get to grow up surrounded by horses and learn from a world class horsewoman. She and her horse, Javah Mon, earned multiple world championships in the Youth Equitation along with multiple top five finishes in the youth and amateur horsemanship, showmanship, trail, and equitation before retiring him. Most recently she finished reserve at the AQHA World Show in Amateur Horsemanship with Hez Pretty Extreme.