The horse show world is intimidating, especially if you didn’t grow up in it. Silver plated saddles, bedazzled show vests, perfectly tight hair buns, slick and oiled horse ears…. it’s a lot and requires a lot of investment.
So if you’re like me and have a craving for horse showing but the “typical” horse show isn’t your style, let me introduce you to the world of ranch horse / stock horse shows.
It’s about you and your horse as a team. Don’t worry about breed/breeding of your horse, trimming ears just right, or having silver on all the things. Do you have leather tack that’s safe? As long as it looks like a traditional western saddle/headstall, you’re good to go. Do you have a collared cinch shirt that isn’t frayed? That’s good enough. Do you perpetually have bad hair days like me? Stick your hair in a messy braid, slap a tight cowboy hat on and mount up. What matters is what you and your horse can do, not what you look like.
What matters is what you and your horse can do, not what you look like.
Don’t let the relaxed show setting fool you, these shows will challenge you but they challenge you to be the best horse person you can be. You’ll need to be precise in your cues and correct in your maneuvers. If your horse isn’t a big stopper, as long as they are correct in their stops, then you’re in the running for the top of the pack.
Ranch horse shows aim to show off a horse’s “usability”. You will typically have 5-7 classes that will test your horse with trail obstacles, pleasure ability, reining work, and cow abilities. As long as you and your horse are good at most of those, then you’ll easily be in the running for top team. Every horse and rider team will have their “bad class” but that’s normal. Don’t deny yourself an opportunity to go show because you feel like one of your classes is not perfected. You might surprise yourself on how good you do and the experience will be great for you and your horse both. I’ve gotten in the top 3 before with bombing classes but being consistently decent in the other classes.
Don’t deny your self an opportunity to go show just because you feel like one of your classes is not perfected.
What I love about these shows are the people. You would think that the competitive nature of the shows will cause drama, which in reality, there will always be drama, but at these shows it’s minimal. If you’re new and need help, everyone is willing. If your horse has a recognizable brand, EVERYONE will stop and talk to you about how they absolutely love those horses, yours included. Does your trailer have a flat? Expect everyone to notice and offer help. If your horse gets loose somehow (and there is always one), everyone will drop everything to make sure you’re both okay.
So want to get started? I’ll be posting beginner’s guides to help you get familiar with individual events. But for now….. TRANSITIONS, TRANSITIONS, TRANSITIONS!!!!