BY PIPER KLEMM
Sixteen is an important age for any teenager. Beyond “Sweet Sixteen,” the milestone means driving for most of America’s youth… the first real step into independence and adulthood.
But in the equestrian industry, sixteen is practically an adult. Most are riding horses then, and maybe even catch-riding at shows. If you’re a serious equestrian with long term goals in this sport, it’s time to step up and learn as much as possible. Can you meet this checklist without any parent or trainer intervention or aid?
- Do your own entries without any trainer intervention
- Know when, what ring, and what time you are showing without any trainer intervention
- Packing and caring for all their riding clothes and equipment by yourselves
- Laundry & Ironing
- Be able to make a plan around having your horse ready for said ring time.
- Polishing boots
- How to wrap, pack feet, and pull bell boots on
- Bed and clean a stall—even if you don’t do it everyday
- How to braid—even if you don’t do it at a show quality
- How to body clip—even if you don’t do it at a show quality
- Mane pulling
- What your horses’ routine veterinary care is and what it is for
- What your horse eats and what medication it gets and shows on
- How to lunge
- What horse show prep is—even if they don’t do it themselves
- Basic conformation faults such as toe in, toe out, over at the knee, behind at the knee, long / short in the pastern
Be honest with yourself… Do your 16 year olds know this list? Are your 12 year olds on their way to knowing this list?
It might feel excessive, but I bet that any horseperson you respect has this list down pat (and much, much more). If we want to build equestrians that will carry our sport into the safe and flourishing future we hope for this sport, we have to start early.
About the Author: Piper began her tenure as the Publisher of The Plaid Horse Magazine in 2014. She received her B.S. with Honors in Chemistry from Trinity College [Hartford, CT] in 2009 and her Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley in 2012. She is an active member of the hunter/jumper community, owning a fleet of lease ponies and showing in adult hunter divisions.
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