Organizing A Horse Show: Is it Worth it?

This is the second part of the series on Organizing a Horse Show. Follow along as we share some information on the hard-working brave people take on to make your horse show experience a success.

Organizers work hard to keep everything running smoothly
Organizers work hard to keep everything running smoothly

Leaning on Friends
One thing many organizers learn is to utilize the help they already have. Many have facilities they are trying to grow and support, students and clients they teach and ride for, and friends who help them when called on. These people are the foundation for extra officials, volunteers, and competitors whom the organizer can turn to for help. In turn these people might reach out to other friends and family members, making up most of your base of workers. Since people work better with incentives, a lot of organizers will offer swag. Swag can be in the form of lunch, clothing (such as t-shirts or hats), schooling vouchers, or simple trinkets. Swag is a great way to get people motivated to help out. The other big goal of an organizer is teaching competitors to say “thank you”. It is such a simple phrase but it means a lot. We blogged about volunteers in a previous post. For more information click here!

Setting Up and Show Day
You now have all of your workers, your equipment, and your entries. The show is set to go on. Sometimes the organizer has to make important decisions for the safety of the competitors. Don’t forget that Mother Nature is very good at putting a kink in a show. Keep an eye on the weather. Creating good leadership from the people you have enlisted to help will also make your life a lot easier. If you have a designated person set up to lead each phase of your show, it will help offset some of the stress you as the organizer feels. Give each leader a detailed list of responsibilities and train them to do the job you want done. These people will be in charge of getting your courses set, handing out numbers, collecting paperwork, scoring, handing out ribbons, and cleaning up. Show organizer 1

Let’s not forget there will be trouble. Horses, horse people, and trouble all go hand-in-hand. There will be horses who lose shoes and need the farrier on call to be called. There will be small injuries to horses and people who will need to see Veterinarians and EMT’s. All of those incidents will require paperwork for the sanctioning organization (and for personal records). There will also be unknown time conflicts, more concessions, people who still owe money and paperwork. There will be someone who doesn’t show up, and someone else who wants to get in late. A judge will place a class and people will want to protest their placings. Computers can be finicky and it’s easy for human error if a scorer is tallying scores by hand. The more prepared you can be for these things, the easier they will be to handle when they happen.

Its worth it.
Its worth it.
In the end… oh the sweet, sweet end
In the end. It would be worth it. The show makes a little money. The horse community gets another horse show to attend. It’s worth it. There is something to be said to see the smile on a competitors face when they achieve a better score or get a ribbon for the first time. It’s wonderful to hear the whoop of joy out of a trainer or competitor’s mouth when everything works out. It’s those moments when someone crosses the finish line after they have conquered a daunting course or when a parent gets to see their child compete for the first time. The smiling faces, the grit and determination that wins the day, this is why it’s worth it.