Warm Up Is Critical!
First, do you give you and your horse enough time to warm up? Warm up is so critical at a show and it shouldn’t be overlooked. Make sure to give yourself plenty of time do all of your warm up. This includes longeing, walking around to look at the spooky stuff, and then actually riding.
After a few shows you will find out how much time this takes for your horse, but until then, get to the show early!
Study Your Pattern, Test or Course
Several classes are pattern classes and getting a score at the end solely depends on getting the pattern right. It doesn’t matter how well you performed it, if the pattern is wrong, then the pattern is wrong.
Some shows give out the patterns beforehand. In Dressage, you pick the test you are going to show, so there is no reason to not have it in your head. Smaller shows post it somewhere near the arena or have handouts. Plan into your day, the time to go over your course and have it memorized.
Find The Holes In Your Training
One of the best way to suceed at horse shows, is to go to a lot of horse shows. Seems simple, but here is why. The excitement of the show can bring out the best and worst behavior of your horse.
Did the warm up ring frazzle him? Then you need to ride in rings with multiple horses more often.
Did he spook at the announcer? Then try getting there earlier to let him hear it for a longer period, or attend more schooling shows and just hang out until he ignores it.
Was there a time in the show ring he completely ignored you? That means you have homework to sharpen his response to your cues.
There are SO many ways to learn from a horse show. You have won a lot by just showing up!