This coming Saturday, May 30, 2015, Vista Farms, located in West Jordan just East of Bangerter, near 9800 S., will hold another of their popular fun shows! Whether you’re a seasoned competitor or someone who has never trotted into a show pen, the affordable Vista Farms’ schooling shows (just $5 per class plus a $10 grounds fee) are a great way to get in some enjoyable, low-key practice. See the Vista Farms website for start times and the list of classes available. They always provide a terrific experience for horses and riders alike.
Riders further south may enjoy the San Pete county fun show, sponsored by Fairview and Skyline 4-H clubs. Like the Vista shows, it’s open to all riders, any age, English or Western. Just $20 for the whole day ($15 for additional riders from same family), this playful event is a real bargain! Located at the Fairview arena (south edge of Fairview on Hwy 89), registration opens at 8:15 a.m. with the first class starting promptly at 9:00. Choose halter showmanship, trail in hand, trail under saddle, equitation, egg-in-spoon and six other games classes. There are walk only, walk-trot, or walk-trot-canter options. Helmets are required for all riders.
For those close to Nephi, there’s also a Panorama Horse Show Circuit event to be held at the Juab County Fairgrounds, 400 W. Center, Nephi, UT. Riders of all ages and experience levels are invited to participate; membership to the PHSC is not required. Their long list of classes includes; halter, showmanship, pleasure, discipline on the rail, reining, poles, barrels, key hole, big m and handy horse. Age categories for youth, teen, adult and adult novice are offered. Registration opens at 8 in the morning with the show commencing at 9 a.m. Registration forms can be found by clicking here to access the PHSC website.
Shows of any caliber can trigger a bit of stress and get the butterflies going. Here we’ll offer our top ten suggestions for keeping your nerves in check and adding fun to any of your schooling show adventures;
1. Start out early, arrive early. There’s nothing like feeling rushed to put a damper on the day and push your already-edgy-nerves into high gear. Give yourself plenty of time to settle in, warm up, sign up, brush off your horse and saddle up. Remember that being in a hurry translates to danger or panic for your horse. Be a calm, reliable leader by giving yourself enough time to avoid rushing.
2. Get organized ahead of time. Just as the Allred family keeps the Vista Farms shows running smoothly, you’ll want to make sure your personal experience goes as smoothly as possible by getting your tack cleaned, outfit put together and your horse reasonably well-groomed a day or so ahead of time. A checklist for all your must-have items can be a real time saver! Make sure your saddle, bridle, girth, helmet, boots, safety pins for your number, socks and grooming supplies are packed neatly into your truck the night before.
3. Have a plan. Look at the class list and get a good idea of which classes you’ll want to ride in before the day of the show. Have cash on hand to cover the classes you plan to ride in. Put the cash in a safe but easy-access place so you’re not in a panic searching for it when you sign up at the venue.
4. Be flexible. If your horse hasn’t been hauled much, she may be difficult to handle in this new environment. Based on your horse’s nerves and state of mind (as well as your own!) you may want to enter just in-hand classes or ride the walk-trot classes for your first show or two. You’re both there to learn. Do your best to make this a positive experience for you and your horse.
5. Don’t forget your nourishment. Take water and a snack, for you and your horse. Having some light, healthy food in your stomachs and staying well hydrated will help you both feel better, allowing you to maintain a healthy level of energy.
6. Smile and be polite. You may not take home any ribbons, but you can win valuable friendships by being a good sport and behaving in a kind, warm, genuine manner.
7. Dress the part. You’ll feel more at home and at ease if you put on attire that is meant for riding. There’s no need to invest in a pricey, bejeweled ensemble; keep it simple and low-cost. Riding breeches and a basic polo shirt in addition to your clean boots are fine for English classes. Jeans and a tidy button down shirt plus a pair of neat western boots will take you comfortably through the western classes.
8. Be safe and considerate. While riders age 18 and under are required to wear helmets at Vista Farm fun shows (and in most competitive venues) they’re a good idea for riders of all ages. Working your horse a bit at home can help take the edge off and make him easier to handle when you get to the show. Consider giving him a bit of a calming supplement or added magnesium the day of, and day before, the show. Don’t park your trailer or tie your horses too close to others. When warming up, be mindful of others’ space and keep a safe distance.
9. Don’t over-do it. Any competitive environment can be a bit exhausting, whether it’s your first time or your fiftieth. Sign up for a reasonable number of classes (two – a maximum of six should be enough). Be willing to scratch from a couple if you or your horse seem unduly fatigued after the first few.
10. Most importantly, enjoy yourself! Remember that you’re there to have fun. Don’t be upset if you don’t place. Stay positive and never compare yourself to others. It’s not the end of the world if your shirt doesn’t match your saddle pad or if your pony crow hops in front of the judge.
You’re out riding your horse and playing together with other like-minded horse-loving folks. What could be more fun than that?!