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!