Virtual Horse Shows

In News by JMQH

Equine competition through the challenges of 2020

Who would have predicted that the new decade would bring such adversity to our daily lives – as well as to our passion, hobby, and sport?

Motivating clients through these strange, stressful, ever-changing times we are so grateful for the opportunity to participate in the innovated new virtual horse shows! We are loving the chance to continue to grow, challenge our skills and step out of our comfort zones – all while remaining in the familiar settings in our barns and following the safety protocols for Covid-19 compliance set by our governments.

Clients are working hard in lessons; they are energized and motivated to knock out their personal best pattern and are coming to the barn with drive and determination. It has become more of a challenge to be satisfied with less then a “perfect” run when you are on home turf and can redo a video. This has been an interesting learning curve as a trainer and coach to figure out the ideal warm up plan and the number of re-takes that are both fair to the horse and maintain the sanity of the rider, coach and videographer. It is quite a bit different than a show where you only get one chance!

When this new format began, as a coach, I was thinking that the opportunity to re-shoot a video would be a disadvantage to progressing client’s skills, and not as telling as an onsite show competition. But since we have been working on the virtual shows, I have changed my opinion on that. The opportunity to do the videos over, while under home turf conditions with far less variables than a show – where a speaker, car horn, blowing trash or simply amped up nerves can unsettle both horse and rider – has actually proven to be much more telling on where we have work to do. In the end, I believe we will come away with more well-developed horseman who are more connected to their horses when we head off to a show in person.

Some advantages to virtual shows:

  • Perfect balance – laid back attire and equipment is just that perfect balance – enough that you need to come out with intent to ride with a show quality performance and produce your video that day, but comfortable enough that you can enjoy the experience in a more relaxed manner than an actual show
  • More participation – a chance for more to participate – great entry level opportunity for those with non-registered horses as well as people who don’t own their own horse can participate. Also, for the older senior horses to still get to ‘show’ while not having the stress of travel.
  • Economical and convenient – the cost to enter is very reasonable and some shows offer payback and prizes. No holidays from work and you can plan to video at days/times that are more convenient.
  • Learning opportunity – the chance to review score sheets and videos is an excellent learning opportunity

Thank you to the hosts of these Virtual shows for taking the lead and keeping the industry moving forward!

Jodi Mallette
AQHA Professional Horseman