By Amanda Ciejko
In the horse show world, there is no bigger unsung hero than the Horse Show Mom. This can also be said of Horse Show Dads and Horse Show Significant Others. Their main goal is to make sure their rider gets through the horse show experience with support and encouragement, and to make the experience as stress-free as possible. If you are about to attend your first show in one of these essential roles, here’s a few quick tips on how to be a “Horse Show Mom.”
- Help them prioritize the to-dos.
Horse shows can be stressful environments for competitors, and time management is important. If your rider has three things to do at once, help them figure out what’s most important
- Lend a helping hand.
Be ready to jump into the horse show hustle! Have all the supplies you need to get the horse and rider ready to enter the ring have fly spray handy, a rag to wipe boots, a separate cloth to clean off the horse if needed. Keep track of the arena timing to help your rider be on time.
You may have to help put the rider’s hair up into a bun while your rider shines their boots. Make sure their competition number is on. Even the smallest tasks can make a big difference!
- Hold the horse.
Often, a competitor needs an extra set of hands to make a few final preparations before mounting- so they may ask you to hold their horse. If your child, significant other, or friend asks you to hold their horse, it should mean they trust their horse not to drag you around, and they trust you enough to keep their steed from going anywhere. Yes, they are large animals, and they move, wiggle, and try to frisk for treats. If you do not feel secure holding the horse let the rider know. They are large animals and can be dangerous to you and others if they get loose.
- Keep your competitor fed and hydrated.
When your competitor is in show-mode, they can forget to care for themselves because they’re so focused on everything else. Make sure your rider is drinking water and eating something to keep their energy and hydration levels up. Shows happen in all sorts of weather, so make sure they say cool on hot days, and warm on damp, rainy days.
- Give support.
Most often, this means give your rider a boost of confidence before they go in the ring, cheering them on, and celebrating the good rides. Occasionally, this also means letting them have space when they need a moment after disappointing results, or be ready with a pep talk to soothe their hurt. Above all, just knowing that there is someone in the stands- or ringside- that will be there for you no matter what is priceless.