Preparing for the horse show exam. 7 tips to be ready for next season. Part 2

“Good luck!” it’s heard countless times a day at the horse show in-gate. Yet we know better – horse show success is more than luck!
A horse show validates the skills you’ve acquired in the classroom of the training ring when tested in a different environment – the competition ring. Steps skipped in mastering the phonics and formulas of horsemanship will show up later in the exam!
As a horse show judge, I am giving and grading your next horse show “exam”. As a riding coach, I help you study for it!
So here are my final 3 tips to prepare for your next competition:

Preparing for the horse show exam. 7 tips to be ready for next season. Part 1

In the let-down of cancelled horse shows and fairs, as a judge, my 2020 calendar has a bunch of crossed out weekends. But as a riding coach, I’ve been encouraged by something – riders are taking lessons and working diligently on their homework in between.
• They’re preparing for next season.
• They’re repairing from last season.
Schooling shows, provincial competitions , national championships– quizzes, tests and exams. This unplanned “off-season” is a time to be mastering riding skills and working through them in your practice ring so you can have a well-rehearsed answer when the question presents itself in the horse show ring.

Core strong rider equitation or grabbing for leather? Riding out 2020 with resilience.

Rounding the corner into our 8th month of restrictions and cancellations – we’re getting weary.
Like that 2nd arena lap of posting trot without stirrups, when you’re losing your poise and realize it’s only your head nodding up and down. I advise the riders I coach to work without stirrups or in two- point position for only a lap at a time. Fatigue leaves us sloppy – grabbing for leather or a fistful of mane with the next spook or stumble. Yet, saddles slip and manes pull out.

Solid footing in shaky times

I love when horses hunt the trail obstacles – bridges, water boxes or tarps. Checking out the footing, as if to consider the risks and plan the route across.
How solid is the foundation? How deep the water? Will the tarp move once I commit? Is anything lurking underneath?
Logically, a horse, unlike his rider, doesn’t have this information at the outset. He has to test it…by faith.
Uncertain times like these can shake us up, can’t they? Election. Epidemic. Economic recession. When our stability’s threatened and all that’s familiar is beginning to crumble…