Staying Current for the Show Season
Our May issue of Show Horse Today is just around the corner! Did you catch this article in April?
By AQHA Professional Trainer, Troy Green
It’s that time of year again! Folks who have taken a few months off are gearing up to start their show season. Everyone wants to be as prepared as possible, have all the proper equipment and attire, and stay up to speed on current trends and styles. Given the new novice rules that AQHA has in place, there may be more amateurs encouraged back to the show ring after several years off.
Staying current with trends and styles is more a matter of perspective and education than anything else. With today’s technology it is so much easier to stay on top of what’s going on, even if you can’t be there in person. We have a lot of tools at our fingertips with computers, iPads, iPhones, and other devices, if we can cipher through the information and use it wisely. We frequently use the Internet as an educational tool and a go-between educating new customers or bringing current customers up to speed or to a new level. I’ve found that nobody likes to be told their horse, saddle, clothes, or other items are not “good enough” or are not current. The fact is, if you can show somebody rather than tell them, it becomes clearer to them and less a matter of your opinion versus theirs.
If I have somebody bring me a saddle they like to ride in and it’s not of ideal quality or craftsmanship, I like to let them ride in a couple of mine to feel the difference. Most people can see and feel a difference with fit and craftsmanship. I’ll never tell somebody they have to purchase a certain item, I can only suggest better options within different price brackets. Certain brand names in our industry have become synonymous with quality and success, whether it’s tack, clothing, or other accessories. It’s not that we are sold on a name brand so-to-speak, but the quality that is synonymous with these certain brands. It’s not about spending more money and being trendy, it’s about having a quality item that fits you and or your horse, will maintain value and hold up to use. Look to some of our industry leaders and see what kind of tack and equipment they use…we are only as good as our tools. If your tools are the best, it puts you one step closer to the level of success you want to achieve. First it was dark oil saddles, then light oil, now black is back, but if you start with quality, the rest is a minor detail and a lot is about what looks best with your horse.
As far as show clothes go, trends can come and go pretty quickly. The most important thing we always tell people is to have good quality chaps that fit well and to have a good quality hat that is shaped well. For me, you could have a $5,000 jacket, but if your hat is floppy and your chaps are baggy, it’s an immediate red flag. Right, wrong or otherwise, there is a “look” that one strives to achieve in the show pen and again, I stress that it’s not all about money, but about details. When somebody is put together well and all the details are in order, they send out a feeling of confidence. Confidence is usually a result of hard work, knowing your horse, and knowing your job. Even if you are little bit lacking in the confidence department, if you can look the part to the judges, you’re at least part of the way there and that will have a positive outcome on your performance. Zig Ziglar tells us, “You cannot climb the ladder of success dressed in the costume of a failure.” Focus on a quality hat and pair of chaps and the rest is dependent on how much you want to spend. Even if money is no object, a starched button-down shirt for both men and women is an important staple that everyone should have in their show wardrobe.
Check out the rest of Troy’s tips to “stay current” in the show pen this year HERE!