Outside Show Info

DSC_2659_aRed Gate Farm offers showing opportunities off of our property to boarders and students


Showing is a great experience, but can be expensive. When costs are shared, an outside show is approximately $200-300. This amount is derived from the following:  horse usage costs,  coaching,  hauling (can vary), and entry fees.  The cost can be sometimes be reduced by sharing your horse with another rider.  Red Gate Farm can provide the horse, coach, and trailer.  Most shows have a minimum number of riders in order to arrange an outing.

Attire (hunter shows)
Showing is a reflection of yourself and your barn. This requires proper attire that fits. You will need the following: a show jacket in navy, black, grey, brown or green; a helmet with black velvet covering; a show shirt (pastel colors preferred) with monogramming, stock pin, or plain collar for girls OR a white, button-down shirt with necktie for boys; black leather gloves; belt; clean, polished short boots, jodhpurs, and garter straps for children under 13 OR tall boots with laces and breeches for children 13 and up. Show bows for the hair where rider is under age 13, and hair nets for 13 and over. There are many local tack shops to find these items, such as Saddlery Liquidators, and Dover Saddlery. Some tack shops have used items for sale, or you may be able to find outgrown show clothes from older riders at the barn.

Attire (eventing)

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Horse showing takes time. Hunter or jumper shows have a prizelist  that shows the order of the divisions, but there is no set schedule of when each class will begin and end. Eventing (horse trials) have exact times that you need to be in the ring.  Even these times can run late, however.  There will be extra time at the show where you are not riding, and are waiting for your turn. This gives you an opportunity to review your jump course, watch the other riders from your barn, watch other classes and see if you can pick the winners, etc. Bring drinks, snacks, chairs, sun block, layers of clothing, and a hat to make your day more enjoyable.

The tack needs to be cleaned the day before the show. The saddle pads and girth need to be washed and dried. The horse needs to be bathed, groomed, and trimmed. Sometimes, this is done the morning of the show. The trailer needs to be loaded up with all the items used in the show. The earlier this is done, the less frantic the morning of the show becomes and less likely you will find you have forgotten something.

Horse Shows are made up of divisions. Think of it as what level you are riding.  The divisions are classified by factors such as the type of riding, experience of rider, experience of horse, and age of rider. We will help you choose which division in the most appropriate to enter. Normally, we recommend showing one level below what you are working on in your lessons. This is because you will be in unfamiliar surroundings, you will be nervous, and safety is paramount. Each division consists of a number of classes, usually two or three.

The classes are judged individually. The way they are judged is different for each division. For example, the equitation classes judge only the rider, the pleasure classes judge only the horse, and other classes judge both. Beginning riders in hunter shows usually enter equitation classes where they are asked to walk, trot, and canter in a group. There may be a class with a few small jumps. Hunter classes are for more experienced riders. The judges will give the best scores to those showing a smooth, easy round where the horse keeps a nice, steady pace and jumps cleanly without knocking any rails down and the rider looks secure. Jumper classes and cross country are judged only on speed, rails down, and any refusals. Dressage is judged on the correct execution of the memorized test, and the movements are scored individually.

Ribbons are awarded for the top 6 or 8 riders in each class. If there are less than that number entered, then every participant will get one. In hunter/equitation/jumper  shows, no one knows when they go to a show how many riders have entered. It is possible that 20 or more riders may have entered, making it very difficult to earn a ribbon. The experience of the other horses and riders is not known until they are viewed in the ring. A small mistake from a rider or bad behavior from a horse will affect the order of the ribbons. Championship and Reserve Championship ribbons are awarded for each division based on the cumulative scores from the riders in he division’s classes.  In eventing, usually there is only ribbon awarded for the combined score from dressage, show jumping, and cross country.

Everyone in a show wants to win the blue ribbon, but only one competitor in each class will get it. If your only goal is to win the blue ribbon, you will be disappointed most of the time. In your first shows, you really should be entering to gain experience performing in a competitive environment, learning how shows work, riding your best, and trying something new on your horse. As you gain more experience, challenge yourself to ride better than the last show, to develop a better partnership with your horse, to be less nervous, to have more fun. Eventually, you will earn a ribbon, or better ribbons. Stay positive. Don’t get discouraged, or discourage others. Be sensitive to the other riders in your barn, and at other barns, especially if they don’t do well. Don’t get angry with your horse if he makes a mistake. Horses have good and bad days, too. Horses get nervous and confused sometimes. Even if the worst happens: you fall off, have refusals, or go off course, remember that nearly every Olympic rider has done the same at some point in their riding career. If you feel overwhelmed, retreat to a quiet place and just spend some time with your horse. Remember that this is supposed to be fun, and keep smiling!