(photo credit: Susan Stickle)

Now that the new year is upon us, it is time to get a jump-start on your preparations for the coming show season. Team Strawson has compiled a list of tips to aid in getting ready to compete in 2018!    

Set Your Riding Goals:
If you need help with goal setting check out my "starter kit" here! Know your training goals and your competition goals and plan ahead. Break each goal into 'bite size' pieces and work your way toward each goal. Set dates for each goal but be flexible.

Make a tentative show schedule. Include entry due dates and make sure you know how these shows are to be entered: online or snail mail. Don't wait to enter shows until the last minute! Click here to see Team Strawson's preliminary 2018 show schedule. 

Concerning Your Horse(s):                                                            

  • Renew your horse's coggins! You will need a current coggins for each show (within 1 year).
  • You will need a vaccination report (within 6 months).
  • If you are traveling out of state you may need a health certificate (these are good for 30 days). Your vet should have the forms and also know the requirements.
  • Remember to check USEF drug rules if your horse is on any medication. The USEF can answer any questions on medications you may have. For USEF drug rules and contact information, click here.
  • Make sure your horse is in competition shape with the right nutrition! Check out Daily Dose Equine for your nutritional needs. 

Memberships, Championships, & Awards:

Remember to renew all of your memberships for horse rider, and owner:

  • United States Equestrian Federation www.usef.org
  • United States Dressage Federation www.usdf.org
  • Local group member organization with USDF. Such as the PVDA, MDA, VADA/Nova, DVCTA is required to earn scores towards a USDF rider award or qualify for the Great American Insurance Group/USDF Breeders' Championship Series or CBLM Championships.
  • If you are competing at CDI competitions you and your horse will need an FEI registration number and an FEI passport. Click here for the FEI website.
  • Make sure horse ownership is recorded correctly with each organization

Check requirements for any awards you would like to receive:

  • Local GMO Awards
  • All breeds awards within the USDF (click here)
  • Performance awards within the USDF (see award rules here)
  • Awards within your horse's own breed association

Check requirements and rules for any Regional or National finals or any other special competitions you might like to attend:

  • CBLM Finals (requirements here)
  • GAIG/USDF Regional Championships 
  • US Dressage Finals
  • Dressage at Devon (click here)
  • Chapter Challenges
  • Adult Team Competition
  • Youth Regional Team 

Click here for the USDF horse and rider membership requirements!
Click here for competition information. 

Other Tips:

  • Make hotel reservations for overnight shows far in advance -- they book quickly, especially during championship competitions.
  • Have a packing list for the show for you and your horse. Click here for an example list!
  • Make sure you have the right show clothes. Go to Kerrits Performance Equestrian Apparel to update your wardrobe.
  • Get the annual check up for your truck and trailer at the start of the show season.
  • Make sure you are healthy, fit and focused for the season ahead. Consider trying acupuncture to help with any show nerves or any aches and pains (contact Joan Strawson at Oasis Oriental Medicine  -- a great local acupuncturist that Team Strawson loves!). Consider Pilates to keep supple and strong - contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for your Pilates needs.  



(photo credit: Kim Brenengen)

We hope that you will find these tips helpful in getting you ready for the 2018 show season!