To Show Or Not To Show?

Is your horse ready to show? Answering this question involves more than just knowing whether or not your horse can perform and win in an event.

The first question to ask is what is your goal for your horse in competing? In asking this question, it’s important to be honest and realistic about your horse’s level of training and true potential.

Is your horse green or has your horse been hauled a good bit? With a green horse, your goal may be just to get your horse out to see the sights. With a more experienced horse, your goal may be to test your horse’s progress or work on a known problem.

Once you’ve assessed your horse’s level of training and determined what your goals are for your horse, it’s time to evaluate the shows you want to attend. When evaluating a show, it’s a good idea to gather as much information about the show as possible.

How much are the entry fees? Are there additional fees? What are they and how much? Most large shows will charge a gate fee and office fee in addition to entry fees and costs for stalls.

Showing is expensive. Breed shows are much more expensive than open shows. The cost factor is a major consideration when deciding whether or not you want to attend a show, especially if you’re taking a green horse that needs to be seasoned. Are you willing to spend at least a hundred dollars just to get your horse out to see the sights or to just fix a problem?

If there’s not a lot of open shows available in your area, it may be worth the money to show just to get your horse out. If your horse is a stallion, it might be worth paying more money to show in a more controlled environment. Ultimately the only person that can answer if it’s worth attending the show or not is you

Next look at the facilities where the show is being held. Look at the ground condition of the show arena and warm up area. If you’ve got a horse that’s barefoot you want to show in arenas that have good footing. Otherwise, your horse may not track even and the judge may see that as a deficiency in gait and count off.

What are the show arenas and warm up areas like? Is there ample room to warm your horse up safely? If your horse acts up have you got enough room to deal with your horse and stay out of everyone else’s way? Are there scary objects around the rails? All these are serious questions to consider if your horse is green or has a tendency to spook. You want to set your horse up to succeed in a safe environment. Because of this, the type of facility is important when hauling young horses.

If your goal is to test your horse’s progress, you’ll want to evaluate the level of competition at the show. Tougher competition gives a better gage for how your horse is progressing. If you show against easier competition, it’s difficult to tell if your horse has improved as your horse will most likely place well anyhow.

Once you’ve answered your basic goals for your horse, take the time to closely evaluate a potential show. Knowing all the details ahead of time will help you to make a good decision about whether or not your horse should compete there.