How can I plan out a one day show for my horse?
One day shows are great! No need to stable overnight, good experience for your horse (and you) and often they save you some major dough. Spend some time planning in advance for best results. Some things to think about and line up before the show:
Give yourself roughly double the amount of time it takes you to get ready at home. You will have distractions, your horse will have distractions. You will be working out of your trailer (likely) so things won’t be in the usual spots.
Also plan for traffic, parking troubles, a line at the show office, you get the idea.
I recommend that you braid or band your horse for all schooling and rated horse shows, clinics, exhibitions and special events. The more you practice, they better you will be at braiding. Also, your horse will be acclimated to braiding, which will only help you in the future. If it takes you 40 minutes to braid at home, it will be longer at a show. Promise.
Do you have the option to braid or band the night before a show? Yes! Just be warned that you may wake up to a rubbed out mess. Rubbing braids also results in broken hair. I suggest doing a test run of your braids, then leaving his alone for a few supervised hours to see what happens. If you think he will make it through the night with his braids intack, I suggest covering them up with some sort of “horse underwear” so they are not poop stained and loaded with bedding or dirt.
You can't practice enough.
I highly encourage every horse owner on the planet to know if their horse loads or not. Show day is not the time to train this. So let’s assume your horse is a loading and trailering champ. A few thoughts on how to make his ride in the trailer safe and comfy:
- Use leg protection, even for the shortest distances. I have seen a naked legged horse deglove himself by slipping off the side of a ramp unloading.
- Have bedding in the trailer on mats. Urine and manure will turn your bare trailer floor into an ice skating rink.
- If your horse is a nervous nelly, trailer with a buddy. If that’s not possible, try hanging a shatter proof mirror so he can be his own buddy.
- Provide munchies in the form of his regular hay. I suggest wetting it for the trailer ride to minimize dust and debris flying about.
- Keep the trailer ventilated and use screens on the windows. Screens keep dirt, debris, rocks, asteriods, and other dangers out of your trailer.
For you - practice maneuvering the trailer around. Parking at shows is usually equivalent to winding through a mouse maze. In reverse.
Protect. Every single trailer ride.
At the show.
Bring a friend, spouse, grounded child, someone you have dirt on, your barn buddy to help you if possible.
Know stabling options in advance - day stalls, or are your tying your horse to the trailer? (Which begs the question does your horse tie to the trailer and if so can you or your show buddy watch him all the live long day?)
Also have a plan for feeding breakfast, lunch, dinner! If you are using your trailer as a home base, hang a hay net high enough to prevent a hoof getting caught. You can also use bailing twine to hang a flat backed bucket.
Do some care at the show before your pack up and go home. Bathe your horse if need be, clean the tack, ice his legs and joints. This simulates a multi day show and is great practice for you and your horse.
Wrap those legs up for the home trip.
Practice the at home routine at the show, so multi day shows are easy peasy.
Treats for everyone, including you.
Consider some more ice, poultice, a liniment for sore muscles, and/or standing wraps to help your horse’s legs and body feel awesome the next day.
Unpack and you are done!
***Don’t forget to take your horse’s TPR before you leave home, before you leave the show, and after you get home! Many yucky icky viruses are spread when horses gather at a show and then scatter back home in all different directions.***
A few miscellaneous thoughts!
- Pack food for you as well as your horse. Some smaller schooling shows and one day events don’t have a food vendor.
- Bring water from home if you think your horse may not want to drink “strange” water. This article also has loads of ideas on how to entice your horse to drink.
- Even though it’s only a one day show, you can use the Ultimate Horse Show Packing List as a checklist for things to pack. Clearly you won’t need everything on the list, but I’ll bet you didn’t think of a few of the items!
- Bring a change of clothes for you if you like. I know I would rather wear jeans and a t shirt than show breeches and a rat catcher.
Have fun, have lots of pictures taken, and send me your tips for having a great one day show!