Tips for Competitors from Competition Management – Preparing for Show Season

Photo by Shelby Suelzle entry in the 2013 USDF Arts Contest

Show season is right around the corner!  Make sure you are your horse are ready to compete with these tips from competition management.

  • Be sure to have current negative Coggins, vaccinations up to date, and written proof, all in your horse’s registered name.
  • Make sure USEF SafeSport training is current.
  • Be sure your horse’s name, and owner(s) are the same with USEF and USDF.
  • Make sure riders and owners names are exactly the same with USEF and USDF.
  • Renew all USEF and USDF memberships before the show. Be sure all horse registrations, transfer of ownerships, and lease recordings are current before the show.
  • USDF does not backdate memberships, registrations, transfer of ownerships, or lease recordings, so be sure these are current and correct before the show!
  • In addition to your electronic documentation, prepare a folder to keep in your trunk or vehicle with copies of all your paperwork, memberships, health papers, etc. so that you never panic if documentation needs to be reshown or provided. 
  • Look at the USDF Competition Calendar and put the shows you want to attend in your calendar with opening and closing dates. Discuss competitions and your goals for the season with your trainer.
  • Verify that the competitions or classes you plan to enter can be used as a qualifier for any championships that you are hoping to attend.
  • Be aware of any rule changes since you last competed, review the USEF rulebook and any championship or award program rules that may apply to you.
  • Rules for USDF championship and awards programs are available on the USDF website and in the USDF Member Guide. If you plan to earn scores for a specific program or award, be sure you have the appropriate memberships and horse registration in place before the competition starts! Be sure the competition or classes you plan to compete in are eligible for these programs.
  • Review the USEF rules for equipment and attire to make sure that your new high-tech bit, ergonomic bridle, snazzy spurs, and/or blinged-up saddle pad are dressage-legal BEFORE you pack for the show to start your new season. 


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