Tips, Tricks, and What to Expect at the College Preparatory Invitational

By Irene Elise Powlick

After attending the College Preparatory Invitational Horse Show for the first time last year, I learned a few things, and have compiled a list of tips, tricks, and what to expect for this year’s competitors at the CPI.

  • Tip: Be Prepared. Whether you’re in the first group or not, have your helmet on, jacket and number tied, and boots polished for the horse draw and course walk.
  • Trick: Watch the other groups in your division. Everyone has the same pick of horses, so it’s likely you’ll be able to watch your draws before you ride.
  • What to Expect: On Friday, the first day of the college fair and registration, everyone is there. People come to pick up their number and talk to the colleges, it gets crazy!
  • Tip: Try to talk to colleges when it is less busy. This could be before or after you show, or at a quieter time when the rush is over on Friday.
  • Trick: Make the most out of your warm up. You only get two jumps, but you can school on the flat for a couple of minutes. Try to figure out the horse then.
  • What to Expect: If you are using the CPI trainer it can get a little crazy. Make sure he knows who you are and that you check in with him. He will also walk and discuss the course with you.
  • Tip: Make sure you attend the Welcome Reception. It’s at Dover Saddlery in Wellington, and, besides it being gorgeous, has snacks, drinks, discounts, and this year Peter Wylde is speaking!
  • Trick: Make sure find your horse early. You only get a few minutes to find your horse, mount, adjust stirrups, and enter the arena, so be quick about finding your horse.
  • What to Expect: When collecting your registration packet and number, you are given a list of the horses. This has some basic information about each of the horses, and tells you what additional equipment you may need.
  • Tip: Try to school on other horses before ever showing up at the Jim Brandon in Wellington.
  • Trick: Once the division is over, you can often briefly talk to the judge. Last year, he was super nice, gave some critique and some positive words, and congratulated everyone.
  • What to Expect: It’s a fun a show and a great experience, and everyone deserves to be there. Have fun, laugh off mistakes, and enjoy the Florida sunshine!
schooling for CPI
Schooling horses before the 2015 CPI. Photo by Irene Elise Powlick.