I used to be so type A when it came to horses, and followed through on everything as text book as I possibly could. In this new phase of my life, that person has been locked in a basement or something. I don’t know what’s happened to me, but I’m heading to San Antonio this afternoon the least prepared I’ve ever been for a horse show in my entire life. Here’s a synposis:

How to Prep for a Horse Show Like a Boss

(sponsored by the Lauren Mauldin center for jumpers who can’t ride good and want to ride other things good too)

Since you took 5 months off of jumping lessons to hack your green horse and generally organize your crumbling life, decide to go to the show three weeks ahead of time as a “pick me up.”

Forget that you are super competitive, and tell yourself “it’s just for the fun of it” even though you know deep down YOU WILL CRUSH THE CHILDREN ON ALL THE SMALL PONIES AS REVENGE FOR HAVING THEIR PARENTS PAY ALL THEIR BILLS. YOU WILL CRUSH THEM AND ALL OF THEIR PRETTY PONY DREAMS MUHAHHAHAHAHAHAHA.

You know, for the fun of it.

Photo by Heather F

First, body clip about a week and a half in advance but make sure you do it when your horse is dirty and you only have 1 pair of really sharp blades. Practice squinting your eyes when you stand next to horse, because he doesn’t look too bad if he’s blurry.

Come to think of it, distances don’t look too bad if you’re squinting your eyes while cantering up to an oxer. Practice this as well.

Decide to go back to the jumper ring because you suck at hunters and want to crush children’s dreams since your horse is happiest there.

Photo by Heather F

Ask trainer if you can show 2’0″ and 2’3″ and have your trainer agree because she’s finally figured out how mentally unstable you are and just wants you to come to a damn horse show again.

Feel guilty about entering 2’0″ on your horse that was schooling 3’6″ at home last fall, and do 2’3″ and 2’6″ instead.

Decide to half lease your horse the month of the show, cutting your available riding days in half.

Photo by Heather F

Take a grand total of 4 jumping lessons before the show. Do not school any combinations. Jump a few oxers and get the strides down some lines. Call it good.

The week of the show, make sure it rains for two days.

The other two days, schedule a writing class followed by a writing group so you’re both never at the barn and never at your house.

Photo by Heather F

Don’t even touch your horse before he gets on the trailer. Remind yourself how well he is trained.

Ask your roommate to pack your tack up for you, and then hop in the bed of her trunk at 11pm on a Thursday night so you can “touch all your things” to make sure they’re accounted for. Apologize to her for being both over committed and a crazy person.

Photo by Heather F

Work for three hours and then head to the horse show. Hope you remember how to ride and your horse remembers you kind of suck at the jumpers but still loves you anyway.

21 COMMENTS

  1. Do NOT worry about what height you do, please! Going around a course of jumps is difficult at any height. Go for finesse and fun. I am always annoyed by those who think a rider who jumps around at 3’6″ in an ugly way is “better” than a rider who has a happy pleasant trip at a much lower height. Just go have fun! Everyone has their own story. You follow yours.

    I have thought about this height thing a lot. At my age, on my own horses, I do 2’6″ max. I don’t care what the show moms think or say. My only “rule” is that if I do well the first day, I reward myself and Snoop/Keif on the second day by not showing and just hanging out with friends the second day. Since I got what I came for!

    • Completely agree with you on the height thing. I’ve never been someone who gets super obsessed with wanting to jump bigger/higher. My life with Simon will almost assuredly stay under 3′ and I’m pretty damn okay with that 🙂

  2. HI-larious! There’s a show coming up here in March and thanks to the torrential rains I think I’ve ridden a total of about 5 times since before Christmas. I also hurt my back in October so let’s just say my riding has probably regressed since this same show last year. I will think of this post as inspiration as I attempt to not feel like an idiot at said show. Do they have walk/trot classes for people over 30? LOL!

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