Skip to content
PLEASE NOTE: You may experience errors on our site when using Internet Explorer. Please consider updating your browser, or download Google Chrome.

My Green Horse’s First Show Must-Haves

Posted on: August 25, 2023 by Annina McMillan
Two hunt-seat riders at a show on a chestnut and dark bay horse with trees in background

It can be so exciting to take a young, green horse out to their first show! It’s such a rewarding process to see how they grow and develop. Especially after putting in the work for training and seeing your young horse develop, it’s so impactful to finally get to the point where you can compete with them. After competing with my Pinto Titan at both on- and off-property shows, I discovered a few things I always like to have on hand for those first few competitions with my green horse to make sure they’re the best experiences for him.

However, every individual horse is different, so I highly recommend working with a trainer or equine professional to assess how to handle your horse at his first shows. Whether your horse is new to you or new to shows, the tips I’ve listed here are things I’ve personally found helpful. You can certainly adjust them to fit your individual horse or location needs!

In addition, please check with your show organization for their specific guidelines and rules regarding any restricted or forbidden items.

Making sure my horse looks his best helps me feel more confident before entering the show ring, especially when it’s our first time showing. To make sure Titan’s coat has more shine, I love using Cowboy Magic Super Body Shine to really bring out the luster in his coat. This conditioner leaves a wonderful sheen on his coat; plus, it dries fast and is perfect for getting a fantastic shine for the show ring. It also helps repel dust, so I find it helps keep my horse looking cleaner, longer!

Since my horse has a lot of white markings, dirt really shows on his coat, so I need something that keeps him extra clean. This is especially important at shows where he may get a new dirty spot, but baths aren’t possible depending on the timing. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly Titan can get dirty—how does his green slobber get all over?! I’ve found Cowboy Magic Green Spot Remover to be a bath in a bottle! I love how easy it is to use; you just shake it, spray it on any spots that need extra cleaning, curry those areas, and wipe them down with a lightly damp cloth. Simple as that! It’s great to have on hand to tackle any little imperfections that come up before heading into the ring, so you can focus on your horse and your ride.

Close-up of tail being brushed with Rainbow Brush

To maintain a great tail, it’s important to keep tail brushing to a minimum. However, we can’t slowly finger comb every time. When showing, I always brush my horse’s tail to make sure it looks its best, and I’ve found using a great brush is essential! The Tail Tamer Curved Handle Rainbow Brush is my absolute favorite; the curved handle is very ergonomic and easy to hold. I find it does a great job untangling Titan’s tail without breaking too many hairs.

Sometimes Titan needs to work out some extra energy before I hop on at a show. Especially with green horses, it’s important to adjust the plan as needed depending on the horse you have that day. When he’s extra hot, we may do some groundwork to give him a workout on the lunge line before riding. I love having the SmartPak Training Package, since it has everything I need to lunge my horse. It includes a surcingle, side reins, and lunge line. I can just use the lunge line if he needs to get some energy out. If he needs a more intentional and productive lunge session, we can throw on the side reins and do some more active work. The flexibility to be able to do a variety of lunge work has been incredibly helpful in setting my green horse up for success at shows.

Titan can be ulcer prone, so when we were getting ready for a show, I make sure to give him Ulcergard. This helps keep him happy and healthy during stressful times and allows us to focus on the competition at hand. I find that Titan often gets a bit hot when he’s uncomfortable, so making sure I have Ulcergard on hand just in case has led to calmer show experiences. Plus, I feel better knowing I’m supporting his gastric health and helping prevent ulcers during stressful times.

The SmartCalm Ultra Paste is an absolute life saver for young Titan during shows! This can be used in addition to a daily calming supplement and is incredibility helpful to have on hand in the event extra calming support is necessary, as sometimes things at shows are scarier than normal. The nutritional support of the magnesium and B vitamins really help him cope with stress and encourage an overall calm disposition, making him much calmer and less reactive. Since the paste helps him focus better, we’re able to keep our day on schedule and spend less time addressing spookiness, refocusing, and so on while showing. It really made his first show a fun experience! It's recommended to give one tube of the SmartCalm Ultra Paste two to four hours before your show time.

My favorite part of Confidence EQ is how fast it helps! You simply apply the gel to the bottom of your horse’s nostrils approximately 30 minutes in advance, making it an easy addition the day of the show for extra support. The gel mimics the equine-appeasing pheromone secreted by mares as foals nurse to help reduce stress while horses manage new or unexpected stimulation. This is particularly helpful at exciting or busy show venues, since it can be applied before grooming/tacking up, allowing the 30-minute wait period to occur while I’m still hustling around. Especially for more excitable, anxious, or nervous horses, this is a great product to have on hand to apply at shows if needed.

Tight shot of hunt-seat rider in navy show jacket wearing show number

One important factor in showing is ensuring your horse drinks enough water, especially at unfamiliar locations. I always make sure Titan has access to fresh water when off property, but as horse owners know, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink! To encourage Titan to drink, I make sure to bring SmartLytes Paste along. In the summer, he sweats more with the heat and the excitement of being in a new place. This paste contains key electrolytes such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, and salt to ensure all the minerals he’s lost through sweat are replaced and to encourage him to drink.

One of the most helpful things I love having on hand at shows for Titan is hindgut support! This was a no brainer for me. He seems to have a more sensitive hindgut, and he’s also prone to having loose stools, which is certainly something I want to avoid at horse shows. Providing extra support during stressful times with digestive pastes has been incredibly helpful for his show-induced loose stools. I love that the SmartDigest Ultra Paste has combination of pre- and probiotics; it gives me peace of mind knowing I’m supporting his hindgut as much as possible during stressful shows.

I often find that shows can be even more stressful in the summer heat, as Titan often ends up sweatier than usual. Because of this, a quality cooler is a must to speed up drying time. I love throwing on the SmartPak Deluxe Waffle Cooler to get him dry, regardless of the season. I find this cooler gets Titan dry relatively quickly. It’s made from a very absorbent material and makes quick work of any moisture that’s trapped in his coat and gets him nice and dry after a hard day of showing. Especially if it’s getting colder as the sun sets, having this cooler to throw on Titan to get him as dry as possible gives me great peace of mind.