What do I need to know before I get to the show office?

Meg O’Meara

It’s show season! You are practicing at home without stirrups, cleaning your tack after every ride and finally getting those stubborn manure stains off your horse’s legs. But, are you ready for the show office? Let’s take a few minutes to cover some horse show office dos and don’ts and answer some commonly asked questions.

Horse Show Office Dos

  • Renew your CHJA membership before your first show. Remember if you are showing in the hunters or jumpers, the owner of the horse must be a CHJA member as well in order to accrue points.
  • Send your entry in on time. This helps the show manager adjust the schedule to make the rings run as smoothly as possible and avoids late fees for you. As a courtesy, call the show secretary if you are scratching from the horse show.
  • On your entry form, be sure to complete the rider, owner and trainer information. It is also important to put CHJA numbers on the entry form.
  • Come with a blank check when you pick up your number. Most shows will not let you pick up your number without a check. Some shows accept credit cards, but don’t count on it. If you want to pay with cash come with smaller bills as the office might not be able to make change.
  • Give yourself plenty of time to check in at the show office, the line is always longer when you are in a hurry!

Horse Show Office Don’ts

  • Add or scratch classes at the in gate. Please send someone to the show office. Some horse shows will charge you for classes if you do not come to the show office to scratch.
  • Come into the office to make changes to an entry without knowing the show name of the horse, rider name and class numbers.
  • Text message pictures of your show entry to the secretary unless specifically asked to.
  • Answer your cell phone while you are in line or are checking in, the show office can get pretty noisy!

Other questions that are commonly asked in the horse show office:

  •  “I want to ride in the medal, but I am not sure it will fill. Should I enter it now or wait to see if others enter?”  This situation happens all the time at the horse show and it unfortunately leads to classes not filling. Please enter classes you want to go in so others know there is interest in the class. If you know you are no longer going into a class, please scratch the class in the show office so management can make arrangements if there are no longer at least three competitors in a class.
  • “Do I need to have my CHJA number on my entry form? Isn’t it in a database?” Yes, it is your responsibility to put the CHJA number for horse, owner and rider on the entry form if you want to accrue year end awards. Different show managers use different horse show software which might not have your information stored in it. There is not always internet at each horse show to look up numbers, so store this information in your phone or on a piece of paper in your tack trunk.
  •  “What time will my classes start?” A great question that is challenging to answer! Often times the horse show office is the last to know about the flow of the show at the rings. Please speak with the starter at the in-gate of the ring your classes are being held.
  •  “Will the horse show manager or other exhibitors pay for my classes if I am filling a class?”  This is a case-by-case decision. You should assume that you are responsible for any class you compete in unless a show manager or other exhibitor has already contacted the show office to move the class charges to the appropriate payer.

Now you are horse show office ready! If you have more horse show office or horse show entry questions, please e-mail or call me. When in doubt about a show specific question, be sure to contact the show manager. Good luck this horse show season!

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