Read about six ways to start 2019 on the right note. Photo © Kirstie Marie Photography

Six Ways to Start the New Year Off on the Right Note

As a new show season falls upon us, new opportunities, dreams and goals are in the air. There is an undeniable sense of endless possibilities. This is a chance for exhibitors to get a fresh start.

Along with all the excitement comes those horse show nerves. Controlling these nerves is key to being successful both in and out of the show pen.

Starting 2019 with a positive mindset and attitude is essential. Follow these simple steps to help you succeed in the show pen this year.

Plan ahead

Preparation is key to a successful year in and out of the show pen. Planning is especially essential for exhibitors who show on a budget. This planning is honestly much easier than you may perceive. Make a list of shows you would like to attend, separate this list into different categories rating from most important to least critical. Map out the costs as much as you can. For example, trailering, stall, entries, etc. This will allow for a more effective and enjoyable 2019.


This is arguably the most critical aspect of preparing for the next show season. Practice, practice, practice. Put the extra hours in the saddle. If you have a new horse, focus on developing a connection with them. If you have the same show partner, work on strengthening your bond. What separates the good riders from the great riders is their partnership with their horse in the show pen. Never underestimate the power of practice.

Let go of past mistakes

To move forward this year, you have to let go of past mistakes. Everyone messes up sometimes; humans have flaws. For example, maybe you missed your diagonal in the equitation at your last show in 2018. That doesn’t mean that you will miss your diagonal at the first show this year. Or maybe you spun the wrong way in the horsemanship. That does not mean it will happen again in 2019. Let go of previous errors and focus on improving this winter.

Be positive

Indian author, Shiv Khera, once said, “Your positive action combined with positive thinking results in success.” Positivity is contagious, however, so is negativity. If you create a positive atmosphere, that will continue through the year. Actions speak louder than words, so act kindly toward your horse, trainer and barn family.

Double check your tack and clothing

The worst feeling is arriving at a show and thinking “Oh, I left my (some important item) at home.” To avoid this chaos, make a list and double check all your clothing, tack, etc. If you need to buy something new, make sure to do that with time to spare before show season starts. Double checking your items will help start 2019 off on the right note.

Be thankful

Win, lose or draw, we should all be very grateful to have the opportunity to show our horses. This sport is made possible due to many equestrians’ dedication and passion. Do not forget to recognize everything that goes into showing; trainers, show managers, your family, etc. It indeed takes a village to be successful in the show pen. Be thankful for what you have and acknowledge those around you.

About the Author: Cat Guenther is a devout equestrian and a senior at the Academy of the Sacred Heart. She has been riding horses for almost nine years and has loved every minute of it. Cat started and runs her successful show clothing business, Behind the Bit Show Clothing. She expanded her business last year and started to dye show tack. Her favorite classes are equitation, showmanship, and trail. She hopes to attend Michigan State University in the future to study veterinary medicine and possibly also study business. Cat is excited to show the all-around classes with her new horse, Zippos Kat Man Do aka Teddy.