When the weather starts to turn cold and the summer circuits come to an end, many riders head South for the winter. Going down to Wellington, Florida or other winter show hubs seems to be a common thing from many top riders. But this may not be possible for the average horse person. There is a way to survive the winter and keep showing that is more obtainable for most of us riders.
Some barns offer indoor competitions over the cold winter months or they extend their circuit past the normal season date. Indoor shows can vary from outdoors depending on the type and location.
There is a beautiful barn in Southern Ohio that I show at every winter called Majestic Farms. They have two indoor arenas so that both the warm-up and show arena are sheltered from any nasty weather outside. While part of the stabling isn’t attached to the arenas, they are just a short walk away.
Not all barns have two arenas, though. I went to an indoor jumper show that had their warm-up every 5 classes in the show arena. This allowed you to warm-up over the show fences and see how your horse was going to react to anything spooky. Of course, this means that you will have some down time in between warm-up and your round. So this wouldn’t be an ideal set-up for a horse that can’t have any downtime.
Of course, this only leaves one other type of set-up. There are shows that have their warm-up outside. Make sure to have someone to switch coats with before you go in the ring. Or, you can hope they allow winter coats as a substitute for a show coat.
Winter schooling shows are a great way to see how a horse is at a show before the heavy summer season starts. If you just got a new ride, they present a way to check your progress with a different set of eyes. Also, if you are a part of an association that has year end awards, winter shows are a great way to obtain the score you need with plenty of time to go to more shows if needed.
Talk to the show securities of the summer shows to see if they also hold any winter shows. You can also look at the omnibuses for things like the USDF or USEA for recognized shows. But, word of mouth seems to be the best way to find the best winter shows.