Making a horse show happen

By: Stephanie Radloff
Twitter: @SRadloffUF

Each year, there are two weekends in particular that are very hectic for students at the University of Findlay Farm. Katie Holt, senior co-captain for the Oilers Equestrian team explains how much work goes into preparing to host a horse show.

“My responsibilities at a home show vary to the needs of my teammates,” Holt said. “It may be tacking horses up, getting riders on their horses and ready for their class, wrapping horses legs, or lunging horses. I am busy the entire weekend!”

Putting on a horse show is no easy feat. The planning and pre-work that goes into hosting a show is extensive, and requires months of preparation. Judges must be booked in advance, dates for the show must work with other horse shows happening at the farm, and the horses must be in prime shape. As a school with a large herd full of quality horses, UF is requested to host two regular IHSA competitions a year, along with the regional championship show in the spring.

Hosting the IHSA shows comes with additional challenges, as the host school is responsible for running the show, taking care of all of the horses, helping other schools, and competing themselves. The Oilers have a lot of responsibilities to juggle in addition to showing. The entire team, consisting of 54 members, along with coaches, is in charge of the show. A typical show day lasts about 14 hours for the hosting team in which is repeated over the course of the weekend.

“It is much less stressful showing at away shows than it is showing at home. We have to get the entire show ready for the following day both Friday and Saturday nights,” Hold stated. “Arriving to the barn at 5 a.m. and leaving around 7 p.m. really takes a toll on us. So, when we go to away shows, we are really able to focus on ourselves and have plenty of time to de-stress.”

Senior Co-Captain Sarah Dwyer from the Lake Erie College IHSA team agrees with Holt.

“Away shows are definitely less stressful for me as a rider and a team officer (co-captain),” Dwyer said. “Since I am not stressed about how we are running the show, I am able to focus on my riding at away shows.”

Even though there is a lot of hard work put into running the home shows, the Oilers’ effort does not go unnoticed.

“Traveling with my team to compete is a great experience,” Dwyer said “We become so much closer as a team through our road trips, weekend stays, team meals, and show days. I have always enjoyed my experience at Findlay shows.”

The Oilers themselves are also able to have a fun time running the shows, the team bonding helps form memories that will last a lifetime.

“My favorite part about showing at home is watching the entire team come together to get a tough job done,” Holt said. “Home horse shows are always very stressful; having such a hard working team makes things much easier!”

The Oilers claimed the Reserve High Point team title on Oct. 7 and 8 at the James L. Child Equestrian center in Findlay. On Saturday, Katie Holt earned the Reserve Champion High Point rider award, while on Sunday Chloe Johnson took the Champion High point rider award and Payton McClintock took the Reserve Champion High Point rider award.

The Oilers English Equestrian team will be back in action Oct. 28 and 29 at Lake Erie College in Painesville, Oh. The next home show will take place on Feb. 17 and 18 at the James L. Child Equestrian Center in Findlay. All are welcome to attend this free athletic event to show their support.

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