Horse Show success – more than luck? Part 1

“The meeting of preparation with opportunity generates the offspring we call luck.”
— Anthony Robbins

Show season is on the horizon. A menu of competitions for every imaginable horse breed and discipline.

How do you prepare for a successful show season?  What does success mean to you?

There are few sports with more variables than riding. We have a 1000 lb, partner that doesn’t speak or think “human”. We have judges with preferences. Weather conditions fluctuate. Competition venues vary.  And even the required patterns, courses and tests differ.

As a horse show judge and riding coach, this has become my motto over the years: “Over-prepare… then go with the flow.”

As a judge, I am giving and grading your next horse show “exam”. As a coach, I help you study for it! So here are my six tips to prepare for your next competition:

  1. Read more. Glean insights from horsemen of varied disciplines. Reputable web sites reporting the latest research in equine health and training.  I’m always asking Why?The more I investigate the facts, the easier it is to question and reject traditions that might be holding me back. And there are plenty of traditions in our horse industry!2
  2. Study those you respect and do your best to emulate the qualities you admire.
  3. Practice the tough stuff. We all gravitate toward doing things that come easily and avoid the things we’re not particularly good at. Trotting around an oval in an arena will not yield the same dividends as asking my horse the tougher questions – specific lines, tighter turns. Transitions at specific points (late transitions are costly mistakes on the judge’s score card!). 

Three more horse show success tips to come, next blog