Friday, April 06, 2012

April "It's Showtime" Weekly Post #1

I'm a little late on this one... and I do have a show summary and videos from the March schooling show coming soon! I just fell behind and I'm trying to catch up! :)

This theme was suggested by Vanessa Viola. She'd like to see any tips I have about being efficient in regards to showing. Since show season is already upon us here in the north, now would be a good time. So let’s kick this off!

#1 - Schooling Shows

Some people thing schooling shows carry a negative stigma, like you're at a schooling show because because you can't afford a USDF show, or you're not good enough for a "real" show. Such BS! Schooling shows are a great way to practice and give you that "expensive" show experience at a bargain price. The only thing about schooling shows is that most of the judges are L judges or not rated judges at all so the judging can be a little inconsistent. Try to find the L judges that have the best reputations in your area when choosing a schooling show.

I love schooling shows. I use them as practice shows and as soon as I decide I'm going to one, I start reading the tests that I want to do. I try and do the same tests at a schooling show that I'll probably be doing at a recognized show. I print out the tests and keep them in my purse, so if I have a few minutes in the doctor's office or waiting for the kids, I can get it out and have a quick look. I always use a reader, but it's nice to know the test just in case.

Most schooling shows are casual, so you can wear a sweater or nice shirt, and paddock boots with half chaps and breeches. I do braid for schooling shows, just so I know how long it will take me to braid at a recognized show. I also keep track of how long it takes to tack up, and how long I warm up. Then I asses the weather, my horse’s attitude, and how he acted in the test to determine if my warm-up was too long or too short. If I have two tests in a day I time the warm-up again, because usually I need less time to warm-up for the second test.

For all shows, I always put the bridle number on the same side of the horse's head that I'm going to turn at C for the first movement after the halt. For example, if I'm going to turn right I put the number on the right side of the head. This is helpful if you have a total brain fart after your salute and your reader has already read the first movement. You can just look down and figure out which way to turn, and hope that you catch up with your reader before the next movement!

I also think schooling shows help motivate you and your fellow riding buddies. They are a low-stress and low cost way to set a goal and work towards it. Then you can get a few people rounded up and go to the show together. That way you have built-in hay haulers, horse helpers, and readers. Everybody helps out, and everybody wins (figuratively, of course!).

So when is your next schooling show?


Oak Creek Ranch said...

We love schooling shows too. I really like your idea of putting the number on the side of the bridle that you turn at C. I am definitely going to use that!

Ms Martyr said...

I've never competed at a horse show of any kind but schooling shows sound like what are called "fun matches" in the canine world. They are very popular as you and your dog can get experience without the pressure of an AKC show.

V. Viola said...

Love that idea about the number! Because, when I lift my head from a salute, that's exactly when I freak out!

beaners said...

Mine is may 13th. Thanks for the tips, I'll definitely keep them in mind. :-)

Bella said...

Hi, just found your blog and think it's great! I also love love LOVE schooling shows! They're so great. However, the only schooling shows I've ever gone to have been eventing ones. Since last Fall, when I discovered dressage was my passion, I have yet to go on any field trips with the pony. (especially since in there somewhere I sold one and bought another and did a musical) However, I really hope to get to do Twilight Dressage (a dressage schooling show in our area) this summer! We don't have a trailer, and have always kind of hitched rides with the barn owner where we board, however, her daughter's horse is now completely healed (he had a cannon bone injury) and now she has bought herself a horse! While this is fantastic news for both of them, their trailer is only a two-horse, so there go my rides for the season. However, I may be buying a trailer this Spring so I can take myself and my own pony to our own shows, alone! It seems like such a small thing, but really it is something people should cherish; the ability to go to shows they want to. Hopefully this will happen so we can have the experience. However, I'm having a very low pressure season this year (since it is my first year with the new pony) and I'm not sure if I will do much other than lessons, a few schooling shows, and some good old trail riding. :)
Come check out my blog! :)

Anonymous said...

Your grey arabian is beautiful.

Header Image from Bangbouh @ Flickr