Girls Horse Club Blog

First Competitions

Published by • Feb 14th, 2008 • Category: Guest Bloggers, Junior Blogger Finals, Showing & Sport

Junior Blogger Finalsby tash, age 12

As far as showing goes, we all have to start somewhere. Most of the time, your first competition is very exciting but equally nerve-racking. I have been though a few first competitions with new horses and new levels. Here are some tips to make sure you have a successful day if you come in first, sixth or maybe even last.

1) Be ready the day before. You don’t want to be waking up on the morning of the competition and remember that you need new stirrups because you old ones won’t pass gear check. Maybe lay out your clothes the night before if you know that it might take you half an hour to find them in the morning. Little things like that can make the day much less hectic or stressful.

2) Get plenty of rest the night before the competition. If you stay up until midnight the night before and have to get up at 4:00 to be ready, you’re going to be asleep before you even start! If you are doing a multi-day competition, you want to be able to last through the whole event, not just the first day. You may even need to have a week of rest if the competition is going to be very physically demanding or tiring.

3) Make sure your pony or horse is fit enough. Your horse needs sleep as much as you do! Is your unfit equine friend going to last at a Three-Day Event? If you are going to a higher level or longer-lasting competition, then you will need to start working your pony or horse harder. It is also bad for a horse to attempt a competition they can’t do. They could easily sprain a muscle if they aren’t healthy enough.

4) Try to keep your horse clean. Even if you aren’t doing a competition that requires your horse plaited or immaculately clean, this doesn’t mean your horse can be filthy. If you put a light weight rug on your mount or keep them in a clean stable or paddock the night before, they probably won’t get that dirty. This means it will take less time to clean your horse beforehand, and you won’t get as stressed. If your horse is dirty and you don’t groom him, it could lead to skin irritations or problems. Your tack must also be clean. Make sure your saddle blanket and girth is clean, with no sweat or extra hair on it that could cause discomfort or irritation to your horse. The bit should be clean too.

5) Keep calm. If you start to stress, your horse will be able to sense it. If you start stressing halfway through your test, race, or course, you will end up with a horse that isn’t listening to you, and that could lead to a placing lower than desired.

6) Stay positive! If you give up halfway through because you came second, then there is no way you will ever place first because you give up too easily. It’s okay to be a bit disappointed in your result, but just focus on what you can change next time! If you continue to come last in everything, then maybe your level is wrong. If you are making mistakes a lot, then maybe the level is too hard and you should ask your instructor or parents to put you down a level. If your horse is getting bored and trying to make everything a little more challenging, then you may need to go up a level, because you and your horse are too advanced and you don’t have the chance to shine.

These tips don’t only apply to competitions, they can apply to lessons, riding clinics, Pony Club, and maybe even cattle drives or other non-competitive horse riding activities. If you are about to do your first competition (or something else for the first time), be prepared and don’t rush things. If you need to wait a few more months or weeks before you are confident to compete, then be sure to take the extra time. I wish everyone the best of luck for any competition or riding activity coming up.

tash is one of several guest bloggers vying for a spot on our Junior Blogger team. Please read the blogs and stories from each candidate, then go to the poll on the blog sidebar and vote for the next Junior Blogger.

More blogs by tash: Setbacks, Magical Horses

Loft Book Club stories by tash: Beach Horse (February Judge for Yourself finalist)

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  1. Love it as usual tash!

  2. thanks SB! I’m gonna go look at the other blogs now! wanna see what I’m up against! lol. I really like this one… I’m quite proud of myself! and Syd your Ready Set Show blog wasn’t posted to a few days after i submitted my First Competitions blog and I’m really sorry if you think I copied but I would NEVER ever copy someones work coz I know how it feels!

  3. Fantastic once again and a great blog that keeps me entertained, “First Competitions” is very well written and has told me the basics of a successful show. There isn’t much else to say, but I can tell you are going to be a wonderful writer! Great job, and the best of luck on the JB finals! :D

  4. Tash, I LOVE this blog! It shows off all your talent! I always try to get enough sleep the night before, but i always start thinking about what to come, and i get SO exited that I can’t sleep! Best of luck in the JB finals for the 2nd time! Whether or not you win, I hope to see more blogs from you in the future.

  5. thanks guys. i’ve got my first comp on my new horses coming up! :D Im sooooo excited! I’m working on a blog/story right now. its about when i fell recently. it is a story then i talk about how if you’ve had a fall as bad as mine was you need to ride again and try to be more carefull (my accendent was kinda my fault, i’m a bit too heavy/big for my older little pony.) so you or your horse dosen’t get injured incase somthing simalair happens. and also about it is OKAY to be scared, talk to someone, if you don’t want to ride that horse maybe ride a more reliable slower horse first. but yer im REALLY looking forward to that blog! :D

  6. I’m looking forward to coming to your ranch, thanks for having this program it will get me one step closer to becomeing my dream a vet. Thanks,from staar