How to Plan a Horse Show

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The AU Equestrian Team has lessons and paints the standards before the show. (Courtesy of the AU Equestrian Instagram)

Planning a horse show takes quite a bit of work. The shows, which take place weekly during the fall semester, are organized by the student riders. The list of responsibilities that they have are long and involved. Here are just a few of the tasks they need to accomplish in order to have a successful, smooth-running competition.

Reserving the Barn: The horse show needs to take place at one of the many college barns on Long Island. Because so many students and horses will be coming to the barn at one time, there can’t be any other type of recreational riding during the designated competition time. The student needs to reserve the barn so that it’s entirely free for the show.

Getting the Judge: In order for there to be a competition, there needs to be a judge. These individuals are IHSA certified, so they know exactly how and what to judge in terms of rider position and horse gait. Students organizing a horse show need to reach out to a judge and make sure that he or she can come to the specified barn on the specific date.

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Riders organize the ribbons before an upcoming show. (Courtesy of the AU Equestrian Instagram)

Getting Stewards: These people are responsible for helping the horse show run smoothly. If someone falls off their horse or is otherwise injured, stewards are responsible for keeping everyone calm and orderly. There needs to be three stewards at each show, and the students organizing the show needs to contact each steward and make sure that he or she is available for the specific date and time.

Ribbons: Riders that win anywhere from 1st to 6th place will receive a ribbon for their accomplishment. Certain colors correspond to certain places: blue is designated for first, red is for second, yellow is for third, white is for fourth, pink is for fifth, and green is for sixth. The riders ordering the ribbons needs to make sure that the place won, the name of the university, and the phrase “IHSA Show” is printed on each. Adelphi University uses Hodges Badge to get the ribbons.

Numbers: Each rider needs to have a number that they attach to the back of their show coat. This makes it easier for the judge to identify each rider and lessens the risk of any mix-ups. The students need to make sure that these numbers have been printed and also needs to provide a tie for each competitor so that he or she can attach it.

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Adelphi riders organized the pamphlet for an October show, complete with the IHSA’s 50th anniversary emblem.

Ads: The students organizing the event are responsible for collecting ads from local stores to advertise in the show program. Each vendor pays for page space, and this helps raise money for the college’s equestrian team. At Adelphi, a quarter of a page is $25, half a page is $50, and a full page is $100.

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The competitors and classes of the October 9th horse show needed to be hand-typed by the riders organizing the competition.

Program: Each show needs to have a program that lists the names and classes of the riders competing, include the ads, and must have a cover page that features the current IHSA emblem and the IHSA sponsors. This is often a tedious task, as the names and classes of the riders often need to be written out by hand.

Barn Cleanup: The riders that are in charge of organizing the show need to make sure that the barn is tidy. Garbage must be cleaned up and the standards, which are the poles the horses jump over, need to be painted.




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