Shows bring lots of new sights and experiences for
your horse. Take time to let him settle in and get
TRAINING » BY LISA KUCHARSKI
Set your horse up for success at his first show.
TAKING YOUR HORSE to his first show
can be intimidating. But with the right
preparation, you can turn a stressful day
into a successful one, even if it doesn’t
necessarily end with a blue ribbon.
Avid competitors and sisters Morgan and Lexy
Parisek from Elgin, Ill., share some of their
knowledge gained over 14 years of showing.
Between them, they have competed in hundreds
of shows across the country and have won AQHA
World Championships in hunter and all-around
If you’ve never hauled your horse anywhere, it’s a
good idea to practice loading and riding in the trailer.
Nothing is worse than planning to go to a show, only
to have your horse refuse to leave home. If your horse
is very green about trailering, bring along one of his
buddies for moral support.
Plan some low-key field trips with your horse.
Haul out for trail rides or lessons, or school at other
facilities before his first competition. These can also
be done with a buddy horse at first. Outings like this
will expose your horse to various surroundings he
might encounter at a show. Practicing around other
horses also gives you an idea of how your horse will
interact with arena tra;c.
The Parisek sisters make it a habit to bring new
and young horses to spectate at shows. Taking your
horse to a show without participating in the actual
classes is a great way to prepare for the real deal.
There may be a non-competing horse fee, and you
should be ready to provide any health paperwork
required to be on the property.
Go on your own to shows you’re interested in to
see how the schedule runs, scout a nice place to park,
and talk to veteran exhibitors. The more comfortable