The Aiding & Abetting Amateur: Thoughts from the in-gate

Our eye on the h/j scene is freshly returned from a horse show in Ocala, where she compiled these tips for surviving the AA-circuit experience.

From “The Aiding & Abetting Amateur”:

I spent this last weekend at an AA show. I’ve got the farmers tan and the empty bank account to prove it.

As I was resting and watching the six-figure high Jr. jumpers come in and out of the ring, I got to thinking about some of the most important lessons there are to learn about horse showing.

In the unfamiliar world to many of unleashed Jack Russels and sun hats, speedy golf carts and colorful show curtains, there are an infinite number of valuable lessons to be learned. I will share with you some of the most practical ones I have learned as of yet.

Drink plenty of fluids.

Be nice to your groom. He’s often the only one that will be nice to you on a bad day.

Drive all motorized vehicles the way you want others to drive them around your hottest horse. Don’t dive bomb others with your zippy little motorbike. It’s not kind. And I really don’t appreciate it.

Don’t overpack. Tack trunks are actually not supposed to weigh 80 lbs.

Polish your boots.

Try not to spend too much money at the vendor tents… They get me every time.

When in doubt, dump water buckets.

Hand graze your horse, he will thank you later.

Although it pains me to say this, white show shirts are the new trend–don’t wear color. Not even in the hunters. (I have so many beautiful shirts that never left the garment bag this weekend.)

Never go to war without your weapons. Make sure to put bats and spurs in the golf cart before it heads ringside.

Pack Tylenol. Pack Bute. Pack 5-hour Energy. Pack electrolytes.

Get to know your neighbors. You might make new friends.

Be careful not to stab yourself with the seam ripper… or your horse for that matter.

Be aware of KAMIKAZI kids in the schooling ring. Watch their eyes–they’ll tell you where they are going.

Assume your horse WILL rub his braids, even if he never has. Guilty until proven innocent.

Don’t leave garment bags unattended. Although I like to think there is a horse show honor code, better safe than sorry.

Bring snacks.

Use more bedding than you think necessary.

Jigging is an acceptable gait.

DON’T BLOW YOUR LEAD IN THE HACK. Count to three before you even ask for the canter. There is no rush.

Stay on grounds in the evening. There is plenty of fun to be had.

Stay away from the puppy adoption tent.

I love shadbellies.

Just some thoughts from the horse show….

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