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Horse shows offer something for every rider - from experience to beginner, and this is probably the most common and fun riding activity. Horse shows are about competition and winning ribbons, which takes a great deal of practice and training, and this can be very costly. If you are going to train to compete in a horse show, you may have to postpone purchasing that beautiful villa with a view of the coast! Yet the money that you invest in your horse will reward you in the special bond that these animals have with their handlers, and maybe even some cash prizes if not a blue ribbon!
Across North America there are hundreds of horse shows running year round. Certainly you can find out about them in a variety of ways, from media ads to the word around the stable and even in horse blogs! Some of these are grand scale events and others are smaller more intimate functions. Perhaps for first time show participants, choosing a smaller scaled competition will help you to get your feet wet, and gain some knowledge about how it all works. This will give you and your horse the confidence to take on larger and harder competitions as you progress in your training.
Some of the more serious competitors have their horses living with them, with lots of acreage and fields for training. This is a serious benefit to the professional horse show contestant, since there is no travel time to get to your horse, you can easily optimize your training hours and reduce the stress on your horse that comes along with travel.
Clearly this is a great incentive to live on a farm or in a country house so you can train whenever it is convenient, versus those that decide to purchase a home in the city, where there is little hope of green pastures! These metropolitan riders must board their horses at a stable and can only train when they are there with their horse, so decide which category you fit into - the serious career rider or the casual rider who does it for pleasure. All riders can find the perfect show for them and their horse, and evenly matched competition as well, it only takes a little research into which shows are in your area, and which ones look like they would meet your needs, and surely it is a thrill to compete at any level.
There are several different types of events at today's horse shows, from dressage to speed and endurance trials, to show jumping and the secrets to mastering these events, which are called classes, is sometimes just as elusive as the underground music scene. Yet with the right trainers, the right horse and the right level of competition will see you come through with flying colors. Winning the ribbons and prize monies is an exciting thing to be sure, yet even if you do not place in your category, there is always another horse show right around the corner where you can try again!