SHOWGROUNDS CONDUCT & ETTIQUETTE
Drive in slowly! When parking, leave room around the nearest trailer where horses will be tied. Some folks put out traffic cones in a rectangle on the side of the trailer they tie to. After you have parked next to them, they'll pick the cones up so nobody trips over them.
Once you've arrived, take care of your entry forms and ready your horse and yourself for competition. Chat with your friends later. You may get distracted and you'll find yourself unprepared when the show starts.
Always move through the showgrounds at the walk. Trotting and running can startle horses and people and cause accidents. All showgrounds usually have the "Walk" rule.
When you approach a group of riders on horses, let them know you are coming up behind them.
Beware of horses with ribbons (usually red) in their tails. Keep a distance from them at all times. They are known to kick or bite.
Don't block the arena gate area. If a competitor is called into the arena and asks you to move farther away, please move.
Never tie your horse to the arena fence. Tie only to the trailer you brought, or a sturdy hitch rack if provided. Keep horses apart that don't know each other.
Do not leave your horse unattended, especially if he's restless when tied.
Don't bring a dog to a horse show. If you do, be prepared to have to lock him in the truck cab or trailer. Some ranch owners or show managers have strict rules about dogs. Never leave your dog loose at a horse show. And NEVER tie a dog to the outside of a vehicle.
Some horse shows have strict rules against alcoholic beverages. Most shows do not allow competitors to have alcohol, but may allow spectators to drink. Anyone can be thrown out for bad conduct or bad sportsmanship.
For multiple day shows-
Be prepared! Try to think of everything you may need for however many days you'll be at the show. If not prepared, you'll end up having to borrow stuff from other people or having to run to the store while somebody has to watch your horse.
left: Gayle tends to bring almost all the comforts of home!
If the main show arena is open for "warm up", use your best manners possible. Below are some basic rules when there are several horses in an arena:
Do not go through any course that may be set up.
Stay clear of any markers (cones, chalk marks, etc).
Slower moving horses stay on the rail.
Quicker moving horses pass on the inside.
Exit arena immediately when announcer calls for it.
Many gymkhana shows provide a warmup area or separate arena. The main arena may be off limits because they may still be getting it ready, or just do not want anyone in it. The same arena conduct above applies to a warmup area.
Do not ride your horse around the showgrounds all day. Let him relax between events. Hang out with your horse! Rub him, pat him, talk to him. Offer him water and a small snack. He may be scared or nervous, and you may be the only familiar face that makes him feel at ease. Remember he's your partner.
Horse show crew are usually volunteers and should be pampered. Offer them beverages, food, and plenty of appreciation. If it weren't for these slaves, you would not have a horse show!