10 Reasons Why You Should Enter Your Barn’s Fun Show

BLD, horse show

Does your barn host a few fun shows each year involving an afternoon of games on horseback? Have you ever thought about joining in, but decided against it?

Listed below are the top 10 reasons I love a good fun show and why you should consider entering.

Increase your confidence

I will be the first to admit that I am not the bravest rider, but every time I have done a fun show I have ended the day with more confidence in both myself and my horse. Whether it’s doing an activity that I didn’t think we could do, or pushing past a fear that was holding me back, fun shows have been a confidence booster each and every time.

When I owned Ray, an 8-yr old anglo-trakehner, I was struggling with his canter. It was more forward than I was used to and we struggled with our canter departures. I had planned on riding all of the show’s activities at a trot, but found that after we started, I was comfortable cantering back to the gate. Each time was a little easier, a little less anxious, and each time we would canter a little bit longer. It’s also amazing what you can do when there are a bunch of people around and you put that little bit of pressure on yourself.

Bring out the best in your horse

Ellie and I are not speed demons. She is a big girl and sometimes turning her is like steering a cargo ship. I know we will never be able to win the poles or barrels, especially when up against some nimble little ponies that seem to fly around the arena. We make up for it in other areas. Ellie does not care about most spooky objects. When those ponies are spooking sideways during the ring and sword game, we canter around the arena picking up rings without a care in the world. She is also a pretty smooth ride and the egg and spoon game is our jam, although the gaited horses are fierce in this one too! Fun shows are great for highlighting your horse’s best qualities.

You can dial it up or down

The great thing about a fun show is you can adjust the game to you and your horse’s abilities. You might not win first place, but you can still participate and challenge the two of you.

As I mentioned above, we make some pretty wide canter turns. I usually choose to do the poles at a trot, as we can stay tighter to the line. I know we’re not going to win at that speed, but we are at least accurate and can still place better than those that knock a pole (we consider a knockdown an elimination in our shows).

Ease your horse into showing

Fun shows are a great test run for upcoming horse shows. Perhaps you have a new or green horse and you’re not really sure how they will handle a show. Will they flip out in the ring with 14 other horses? Will they be chill as a cucumber? Lol or will they run around with their head as high as a giraffe while you sit there praying they’ll slow down. Test that crap out at home at a fun show, where no one cares! You can simulate a lot of the same situations you might encounter, see how your horse reacts, and have a better plan for your future shows.

Rediscover your passion

Horse shows are a funny thing for me. When I’m away from it, I kind of forget what I like about showing and instead catch myself focusing on the negatives, such as how much it cost, my fear and nerves, scary warm up rings, early mornings, late nights, long trailer hauls, and exhaustion. I forget the excitement and the fun, hanging out with my horse show friends, the junk food, the adrenaline rush, the fun I have with my horse, and the competitive spirit. If you haven’t been showing for a while, sometimes a fun show is just enough to nudge you back into horse shows and help you remember what it is about them that you love.

Boredom buster – your horse will have fun

Is your horse a little tired of arena work? A fun show is a great break in routine. The first fun show I did with Ellie, I was amazed at how excited and tuned-in she was. We were having issues with her work ethic at the time and I was concerned I would have trouble just getting her to participate – even at a walk. From the minute she went into the arena that day, she was right there with me and we cantered right out of the gate. It was awesome and we were able to continue that work ethic and fun into future rides. We ended that show with a quick hack around the farm and I had never seen her that happy before. This left me feeling fantastic too and I now knew more about what keeps her motivated.

See how your horse reacts to new obstacles

These shows are perfect for setting your horse up to succeed when facing a new obstacle. If you are really struggling, play follow-the-leader with another rider to help show your horse how its done. It is also a nice chance to see what type of reaction you might get from your horse in these situations, while still being in a relatively calm environment at home. It’s satisfying to see your horse approach a new challenge with confidence and work through it and you can use fun shows as safe learning opportunities.

You can wear what you want

It’s one of the few horse show experiences where you can wear whatever you want. Don’t want to wear a jacket on a hot day? No problem! Sick of that stock tie or rat catcher? Take a break from it this time! Be comfortable and show in your own style. You can also bling out your horse any way you want.

Get great pics

Be sure to have a friend or relative on the side taking pictures, because this is a great opportunity to snap some pics of you and your four legged partner. These shows are perfect for taking action shots in situations you might not usually be in – such as barrels, poles, or the ribbon race with your partner. There are also plenty of opportunities for good portrait photos while you wait for your turn. The bonus here – you will likely be much more relaxed than at a typical show, resulting in a more natural pose.

The photos my husband, Joe, would take of Mario and me during our hunter shows were usually so awkward. I’d have a nervous tight smile that basically said, “Get that camera out of my face, even though I know I told you to take pictures”. Lol poor Joe – no wonder he had no fun at those shows.

They’re fun!

Most of all – a fun show is exactly that – FUN. There are silly moments, accomplishments, and a lot of laughs. It is a great day spent with your horse and other riders!

EQ Journal Tips

BLD, Journal

Hi Everyone !!

We’re really excited about an entirely new product line for BLD – our EQ Journals!!  This page is our centralized site to discuss all things related to our Equestrian Journals and will be updated over time as we add more tips, tricks and videos.

Overview

The journals were inspired by a notebook I kept for my horse Mario.  It was my go-to place for documenting all of his important records and health data, but was also a scrapbook with notes and pictures about our shows, information on his previous owners, and cool info I found about his pedigree.

I designed our EQ Journals with this dual purpose in mind – record keeping while also journaling and scrapbooking.  We know that everyone has their own method.  Our journals are perfect for printing and completing by hand.  Cut and paste your favorite pictures (I prefer double-sided tape) and hand-write in your notes.  It’s also an interactive PDF, meaning you can complete the journal in your preferred PDF reader software.  Add text and pictures directly in the PDF file and print pages as needed, when you’re ready. Or – do any combination of these methods. They are super flexible and meant to adapt to your approach.

Purchasing a Journal

Our journals are only available as a digital download. Click here to purchase directly from Bending Line Designs. They are also available at our BLD Etsy site.

How to update your journal – the basics

We made a quick video covering the basics on how to add text and pictures to your EQ Journal directly in the PDF file.

Selecting a Journal

We have six different versions to fit your needs. The descriptions below illustrate the features of each. Every journal contains horse and owner profiles, support team info, and additional pages with various picture layouts. Journals are available as downloadable PDF files at Bending Line Designs. Not sure which journal is the right fit for you? Click here to take our short quiz!

  • Total EQ Journal – This journal has it all! It is 72 pages, with 64 pages of editable content. Document everything on prior owners, purchase info, support team contacts, feed and health data. Plan your show season with our show and clinic calendar, while keeping an eye on costs with our show budget tool. Journal your lessons, rides, clinics and shows. Keep track of your trailer maintenance and much more. LOL if you are an obsessive compulsive crazy horse owner – this is the journal for you! $25.00
    • NEW!! – The Total EQ Journal is also available in size A4 format – for all of our international friends.
  • Horse Show Journal – Increase your competitive edge by analyzing your show performance and planning your show calendar. Our Horse Show and Total EQ Journals are the only versions that feature our Show Budget Calculator. Plan your expenses and automatically calculate each show’s total cost. It is easy to print or save, and then reset the calculator for the next show. Make notes about each show round and the show venue. $16.00
  • New Boarder Journal – Barn managers, if you need an easy way to collect critical information on your boarders and their horses, check this version out. You can email each boarder a copy of the PDF file. They can then easily email a completed version back to you. Capture everything you need to know such as a basic horse profile, insurance info, owner contact info, and stall vices. Perfect for keeping contact info handy for each boarder’s support team (vet, trainer, farrier, masseuse, groom, and more). $14.00
  • Equine Health Journal – Keep all those health records in one place! Keep tabs on changes in feed, supplements, and medication. Document each vet, farrier, and Chiro visit. Maintain a complete medical history on your horse. $15.00
  • Ride Journal – If you are primarily focused on monitoring and improving your riding, this is your choice. It is also a perfect option for the rider that does not necessarily own a horse, but is actively taking lessons and wants to keep track of riding progress and notes about each horse. $13.00
  • Basic EQ Journal – This is the pared-down version of our Total EQ Journal. It covers the essentials and still has 44 pages of editable content, but does not have the showing section nor the records for support staff visits other than the vet and farrier. A great option to get started! $18.00

Don’t forget to try our journal selector quiz if you aren’t sure which is the best fit for your needs.