Preparing For Your First Horse Show

It’s that time of the year again. The whiffs of dirt are imminent, the feel of smooth leather coats most legs and hooves tap rhythmically in the background. That right. It’s time for another renowned Arizona National Horse Show.

Though for many pros this show will be one of many in the books, for some participants it will be their first. Here are a few tips to prepare for your first horse show:

Do your homework.
Usually there are various resources to research the horse show venue, judges and even blogs from previous participants.

“It would be to your benefit to get a list of the classes that will be offered at the horse show and Google the purpose of those classes,” said Jennifer Zoller, Texas A&M University Extension Horse Specialist.

Be open to new crowds.
It might help to be a little extroverted for the week. Anytime you enter a new environment, you are bound to interact with strangers; however, the interaction can be made simpler if you keep an open mind.

“At most horse shows there are some pretty great human interest stories,” Zoller said. “Horse showing is often a family affair, so we’ve also done stories on families that have three or four generations there at the show supporting one another.”

It is widely known that though a career in agriculture is time consuming and effortful, it is also rewarding. Furthermore, networking in any industry is essential for forming relationships with peers and colleagues, as well as gaining knowledge from professionals.   

“The people at the gate often hear a lot of those great stories so they’d be good people to talk with,” Zoller said. “Most of the time they’ll offer extra information that might lead to something great.”

Ask often; ask wisely; and ask with a smile.

Pass it forward.
The final step of learning from any experience is to impart wisdom. And remember that all pros were in your shoes once, and would’ve liked advice as a rookie.

“I think if you’re friendly and open about your experience, then most people will be happy to answer any of your questions about the show or horse shows in general,” Zoller said. “There are a lot of really wonderful people at horse shows.”

The tips above will be helpful not only for someone’s first horse show, but will also be useful reminders for returning participants.

Devika Singh is the 2017 Arizona National Horse Show digital media intern. Originally hailing from India and now residing in Sugar Land, Texas, she studied agricultural communications at Texas A&M where she was a member of the Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow student organization.