By new Equestrian Mom Bobbi Went Bires
Summer is just kicking off, but we are knee deep in horse show season already. I say season pretty lightly – this stuff is actually a year round sport, so don’t let it fool you. If and when you are ready to let your kiddo start entering horse shows, be prepared. It seriously is a whole new world and they speak an entirely different language. Whether it is eventing, dressage, or hunter/jumper – you will have a lot to learn. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Ask your trainer, ask other equestrian parents, ask on here – or heck even ask Alexa or Siri.
Our trainer first asked Savannah if she wanted to show and her eyes lit up. I was like “Oh Lord, Here We Go!”. She was thrilled and couldn’t wait to get started. Our barn trains and shows hunter/jumpers. We went home and both started watching YouTube videos to figure out what we were getting into. We also went to one of the local shows that other riders from the barn were competing in so we could check it out. I was curious about how it all went down and Savannah wanted to see everyone in action.
Last year was her first show season and honestly it was kind of all a blur. I just showed up when and where I was told and cheered my heart out without really completely understanding what was going on. She brought home ribbons and everyone was excited no matter the color.
This year is a little bit different. We are both more seasoned and watching everything with a more critical eye. It is still my job to cheer as much as I can on the sidelines and taxi her around in the wee hours of the mornings (FYI horse shows start crazy early. It is about the only thing my kid jumps out of bed for while it is still dark out). She is in the Hunter world for now and showing in the Short – Stirrup division (basically it means young beginners). It is a great place to start and really nail down her technique before swimming with the big fish.
I think that showing horses is a really great character building experience for kids. There are certain rules and etiquette that you must learn to follow in addition to the shear physical and mental toughness that it takes. If you think that it is something your young rider might be interested in then I encourage you to talk to your trainer about what options your barn has and what all is involved