With Smitty’s competition debut looming in the oh-so near future, I’m trying to get together a mental game plan. But the first time out, it’s hard to make a plan at all, since pretty much everything is going to be a gamble as to how he will take it in. I do know a couple things that I hope will help though- he doesn’t seem to get attached to other horses, and based on our one off-property adventure so far, I think he will take in a new venue fairly well.
But how will he handle masses of horses? Loud speaker systems? Horses galloping cross country, bikes, scooters, cars, dogs, etc? All of this is a total unknown. But the only way to find out is to try!
Foster’s first show was a smaller occasion, a local dressage show with a distinctly casual air. He handled it beautifully, winning first and second in his Intro tests (video below). It was a rousing success, and I can only hope for the same with Smitty, even if our goal is just to stay in the tack.
I chose the Carolina Horse Park because I’m very familiar with it, and because it allows us the get there the day before and expose him to the grounds, the arenas, etc all while slowly increasing the number of people around (rather than arriving at a show in full swing). Hopefully by introducing these elements the day before, riding the day of the show will be less of an ordeal. We’ll find out when we get there if a bigger venue for his first show was a big mistake, but I’m hoping the both of us will put on our game faces and get it done.
What was your horse’s first show? Was it a success, a disaster, or somewhere in the middle? Why did you choose that particular competition as a debut? If you have a baby horse, what is your plan for introducing them to the show scene?