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Competing on a New Horse
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Competing on a New Horse

Recently I began competing on my local IEA (Interscholastic Equestrian Association) team and this year I started an ISHS (Inter-School Horse Show) competition team at my school. In both of those leagues you have to ride a horse that you have never ridden before, which can be very challenging. 

Its not an easy task to be randomly assigned a horse you have never even seen, and then be expected to walk right into the ring and compete. Over the past year, my coaches have shared very useful information with me about how to successfully compete on a new horse.

1) Always watch the barn school their horses at the beginning of the show. It is important to see how the horse moves, figure out how he/she is about his/her leads, and figure out if you need a crop or spurs. 

2) Watch people before you ride your horse. Even if the horse seems "easy", pay attention to what the rider is doing. Look at how the horse approaches the jumps, how he/she is in the corners, and what you need to do to have a successful trip. 

3) Look at everything the rider does wrong and figure out what you can do to avoid their mistakes.

4) Ride conservatively until you figure your horse out. Just because your horse at home is ok with you asking for long spots, doesn't mean that your new horse will do well with them. Just pay attention to everything your horse tells you. 

5) Adjust your riding. If the horse needs quiet hands, keep your hands still. If the horse needs a light seat, get into a little half seat. Learn how to change your riding to benefit your horse.

A great way to prepare for these competitions is to take lots of lessons and practice getting on new horses. It is easy to ride your horse everyday, but especially for these competitions, it is a good idea to try all different types of horses (ponies, horses, thoroughbreds, shetlands, slow horses, fast horses, etc.) so that you are prepared for any horse you are put on.

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  1. Izzy Wilder
    Izzy Wilder
    Voted. Very helpful! Tons of people compete including myself and this is great advice! I'll definitely use these tips next time I go to a show!
    Log in to reply.
    1. Phantomomg
      Im glad you like it!
      Log in to reply.
  2. Chestnut Mare
    Chestnut Mare
    Voted. This sounds like great advice, although I have only ever been a very amateur, non-competitive sort of rider! You might be interested in my latest blog, A Gallop Through The English Countryside; please check it out and vote if you like it! :-)
    Log in to reply.
  3. jst4horses
    Most children's riding horses have had many riders and are schooled by exercise riders that change often and trainers that change often, so your thought to take time to watch, look and see how the horse you are assigned are all good ones. Even at t he college level the horses are generally used to several riders and it is important that you ask others to watch and learn about the horse. In some competitions you do not know what horse you are going to get. We only do exhibition shows, although some of our trainers and riders compete elsewhere. Many riders over the decades have asked me to ride their amazing horse. The feel of the horse is so important, and few riders even have any idea of how to accomplish this. It has saved me many a nasty accident because I refused to ride horses that I can tell immediately hate people, and I am just one whipping, and one inch of rein away from being killed on. Every single time I have refused to ride a horse like this, I have found later that the owner, or trainer is very heavy handed and/or the horse came with a severe history of prior abuse and is afraid of new riders. Sometimes I feel like I can, and will deal with it without ground work and time to gain trust with the animal, others, I simply refuse until the horse has been properly retrained and is reliably trustworthy.
    Log in to reply.
  4. jst4horses
    Most children's riding horses have had many riders and are schooled by exercise riders that change often and trainers that change often, so your thought to take time to watch, look and see how the horse you are assigned are all good ones. Even at t he college level the horses are generally used to several riders and it is important that you ask others to watch and learn about the horse. In some competitions you do not know what horse you are going to get. We only do exhibition shows, although some of our trainers and riders compete elsewhere. Many riders over the decades have asked me to ride their amazing horse. The feel of the horse is so important, and few riders even have any idea of how to accomplish this. It has saved me many a nasty accident because I refused to ride horses that I can tell immediately hate people, and I am just one whipping, and one inch of rein away from being killed on. Every single time I have refused to ride a horse like this, I have found later that the owner, or trainer is very heavy handed and/or the horse came with a severe history of prior abuse and is afraid of new riders. Sometimes I feel like I can, and will deal with it without ground work and time to gain trust with the animal, others, I simply refuse until the horse has been properly retrained and is reliably trustworthy.
    Log in to reply.
  5. madihunter621
    madihunter621
    Voted. Hi Ada its Madi :)
    Log in to reply.

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