Q: What do I need to do if I want to show?
A: You first need to be registered with the IHSA. Next, you need to have ridden for at least 6 months or one semester at any point in your life - this means that if you took riding lessons for 6 months while you were 8 years old, you are eligible to show. Last, you need to have participated in fundraising activities and attended lessons consistently.
Q: What do I need to bring to a show?
A: All of your show clothes, plenty of warm clothes for when you're not in your show clothes, rain gear, money for lunch ($10-$20) and extra hair nets, pins, etc. Dress in layers and be prepared for all kinds of weather! Weather reports, strangely enough, tend not to apply to show sites, and a long day unprepared for rainy or cold weather is not fun!!! Also, bring lots of orange and black so everyone knows where we're from!!
Q: What are appropriate show clothes?
A: For all: A black velvet hard hat with a harness; tall black boots, leather or rubber, dress or field; light, preferably beige, breeches (not white, not full-seat); black gloves; dark (navy, green, gray, etc) solid or pin-striped jacket; belt (Spurs will be provided by the owner if a horse needs them.)
For women: light colored, conservative rat catcher with collar and pin or monogram. Hair should be neatly secured in a hairnet and as discrete as possible. Bring plenty of bobby pins!
For men: white button down shirt with a conservative tie.
Q: How does a horse show work?
A: Shows are on Saturdays or Sundays. A day or two before the show, the captain will email you to tell you where and what time to meet. It will be early!!! Make sure you have an alarm clock that works even in a power failure, and be sure to set it (a back-up also can't hurt). We then make a quick stop for bagels before heading out to the show.
At the show, find out when you ride. You may ride early, so you may need to get changed and ready right away. Get your number from the captain and don't forget to bring it to the ring when you ride. Find out what horse you are riding from the captain or show program after horse draw. It is strongly suggested that team members watch the horses being schooled so that they will know how each horse behaves. It is also suggested that you watch your horse perform in other classes for the same reason. If you are jumping, learn your course and listen out for a course walk. Keep track of the progression of the show because it is your responsibility to be dressed and ready for your class.
You may mount your horse when the announcer gives permission. Other teammates will be available to help you mount, adjust stirrups, wipe your boots, calm your nerves, etc. It is each individual's responsibility to make sure their girth is tightened before mounting, BUT you may not tighten the girth yourself!!! There are three stewards available at each show who are authorized to check and adjust tack. You may only adjust stirrups yourself. If something does not look right, ask a team member, coach, or steward!! You may not walk, trot, canter, or jump your horse before you enter the ring - the horse will be warmed up and schooled prior to showing. If you think you have a particularly difficult or inappropriate horse, it may be possible to get a reride (though rare). Ask the captain if you think this applies to you, and she will help you to pursue the problem.
After your class, you may dismount and run up your stirrups, but you may not loosen the girth!!! There should be horse holders to take the horse from you, but understand that most host teams are shorthanded and you may need to wait until someone is available. Be patient. If, for some reason, you cannot hold your horse, ask a team member to do so until someone else is available.
During the day, when you are not preparing for your class, you are responsible for helping other teammates prepare and mount. You are also responsible for supplying ringside support and cheers!!! We want to uphold our reputation as most team-spirited, so know when your teammates are riding so you can be there for support. If people need to leave early, they may do so as long as the remaining drivers don't mind staying until the end, and as long as everyone can get home. Nobody likes to be the last one to ride. Otherwise, just change into warm clothes and HAVE FUN!!!!!