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Routines & Rituals to Help Your Horse Show Success – with Becky George & Adrienne Dickerson

We all know that no matter the size of the horse show, there has to be a plan for the time you are there. With horse shows back in full swing again in 2021, maybe it’s time for you to re-evaluate your routine and make sure that it is well thought out, organized, and consistent. Hearing from the experts is always an excellent way to benchmark your performance and get ideas for improvement. 

GoHorseShow talked to leading all-around trainers Adrienne Dickerson and Becky George to understand what routines help them have a successful horse show.

Stay Organized 

Adrienne Dickerson is the queen of staying organized. Horse show days can be a little chaotic, but Adrienne likes to balance her time between the show pen and being at the stalls to monitor the chaos. At the end of the show, Adrienne asks everyone to take at least 10 minutes to clean up their space so they can get on the road after the show.

Not only is Adrienne a big organizer, she is also a big planner. She has created a Facebook group for Dickerson Show Horses’ clients, so everyone is kept up to date. This Facebook group helps the clients know the schedule, when to lunge, warm up, and of course, who is bringing the food.

Back at the stalls, during the show, Adrienne will use a chart to help their exhibitors keep up to date real-time with what is going on. During larger shows, she will hire assistants to stay organized and ensure all the horses and clients are cared for. 

Becky George uses a similar memo board to go through the order of who is showing. She reviews this with her team the night before, so they are prepared. During the actual show day, Becky likes to stick close to the arena to watch what is going on, be there for her clients, and keep an eye out when her clients need to be ready.

Get in the Zone

Becky George is one of the early risers and likes to start her day around 3:00 am. She uses this time to lunge the horses, warm up over some poles, and enjoy the quiet before the hustle and bustle of show day. This is her prime time to get in the zone and read how the horses feel for the day.

Before the show day, Becky will arrive at the grounds a couple of days before she shows. She likes to call these “no pressure days,” where she will lunge and warm up the horses using the setup trail pattern.

At the Florida Gold Coast Circuit show for example, Becky brought 13 horses, and 11 of those 13 horses were trail horses that needed to run through the pattern. With that many horses, Becky was prepared for the show from the lunging and warm-up time. 

Adrienne Dickerson also likes to get to the show a couple of days early to give their horse 24 hours off so the horses can relax and get used to their new environment. Adrienne then has her clients lunge their horses for 30 minutes, 15 minutes each way, and then ride to warm up.

Own Your Superstitions 

Dickerson loves the question “what are your superstitions” because she does not have any, but she is close to someone with several. That would be Adriene’s husband, Taft. A few of Taft’s superstitions include using specific saddle pads depending on the show.

Taft does not clean his show saddles. He must wear particular show boots that are only to be used for shows. He does not allow anyone to wash his ties. Another “superstition” that Taft has is making sure his dad or Adrienne is with him at big shows to help him keep an eye out for any adjustments.

Becky laughed when asked the question, “what are your superstitions” because she knows that everyone in the industry already knows hers. If you do not already know, Becky is a big fan of the color pink. She must have a pink saddle pad to match her pink shirt. And to top it all off, she always wears pink socks.

Coffee is also an essential part of Becky’s ritual, but it’s not your ordinary coffee. It’s fancy coffee from their multi-specialty Keurig machine that they have with them for every show. When you wake up at 3:00 am to lunge, you need that extra caffeine boost at your fingertips. 

Horse shows can sometimes be a little crazy with all the specific tasks you must do when preparing to show. That is why having a routine, staying organized, and getting in the zone will help set you up for a successful show. Oh, and don’t forget to own your quirky superstitions. They are part of your routine for a reason.

About the Author – Michelle Doughty is from Columbus, Ohio, where she works as a Human Resources Manager. Michelle has been an avid equestrian her whole life and has shown in 4-H, Quarter Horse shows and a past member of The University of Akron Western Equestrian team. Michelle currently rides and takes lessons in Columbus, Ohio.