Monday, July 20, 2015

Striving to Compete

There is nothing like the thrill of competing in horse shows! Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced rider, there are some basic things you need to know to become better and eventually compete for blue ribbons. These skills should be practiced so that they become second nature to you.

First, you have to truly love horses and want to understand them. Competition is about the horse and rider team knowing each other, how to respond to each other’s signals, and getting the most out of each other.  You need to master the basics of horse riding and horse care.  Ride every chance you can. It takes time to become an expert. Have the patience to practice hard to correct mistake.  This is how you make a strong horse and rider team. Repetition of these skills is the key to helping your muscle memory remember how to react… eventually it’ll happen automatically.

If you are on a budget, this could mean riding on horses that others look over. But that’s OK, because with dedication and practice, you and your horse will get noticed. And the more you get noticed and improve your skills, the better you will compete.  Study the top competitors.  Ask your trainer to give you more knowledge about what makes a rider great.  Study your training plan.

Start in fun local shows.  There are several coming up in the next few months.  This gives you and your horse experience in front of a crowd.  You’ll get used to the intricacies of competition and a good feel for the rules.  Eventually, you’ll move up and experience the exciting environment of a larger regional show.  Again, this is an excellent opportunity to learn from others.

At shows, you’ll experience ups and downs. A good attitude and good sportsmanship is the key to dealing with this. It’s a judged sport and you may encounter unfairness or disappointment, but it is important to be strong and bounce back.  Always be eager and hungry to learn from every experience and put this knowledge into practice.

Sign-ups are available at the barn for the fall and winter shows.  Talk to your instructor now about what you should be doing to prepare for these upcoming events.