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Planning Your Show Schedule for 2019

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50 – January/February 2019

By Kristen Spinning

As the season of reflection and resolution surrounds us, thoughts turn to charting a course for the coming year. It can be a daunting task with so many competing commitments. Several veterans of the process share their thoughts on planning for the New Year… of horse shows.


Jeanne Tiller, Rebecca Bunting, and Kathryn Bunting are a three-generation trio of ladies who agree that the most important aspect of planning their show calendar is making sure they have time to spend together. Scheduling shows where all three of them can attend is important. This was especially true while Kathryn was still in high school. Keeping in mind the needs of a youth, amateur, and select exhibitor, they look for shows that have good numbers in all three divisions. Rebecca says the actual class schedule of a horse show is very important. She likes shows that are large enough that she’s not jumping manically from one class to another. She gravitates toward shows with nicely distributed schedules.

Balancing showing with family life has always been a key component to planning their calendar. Rebecca chooses to attend shows that fit in with the activities of her husband and 15- year-old son. Venue and location also factor into their decision. They choose shows where they know they will enjoy the surrounding environment. Rebecca says, “Sun Circuit and the Florida winter circuits are my favorite shows because you can be outside. The horses absolutely love it. Here in the Midwest, you really don’t have outdoor venues.” She describes Sun Circuit wistfully, “One time, I was showing in Showmanship and it was early morning. The sun was out, and I could see the beautiful mountains. I thought, ‘This is better than fantastic!’”

Kathryn echoes much of her mother’s thoughts on what qualities a show must have to get added to her calendar. Yet, she brings a different perspective. She says, “Being a youth, the thing that was most important was points. We would choose shows where I could get the most points to qualify for the Youth World.”

Her biggest challenge was balancing academics with showing. “Summer was always a really big show season for us. Then, we would try to find a show during spring break. The Gulf Coast in Florida was always perfect, because it was during my winter break. For the rest of the year, it was definitely difficult finding other shows that worked with my school schedule,” she says.

She had to budget those missed school days wisely, sometimes only going to shows that fell on the weekend. She laments that she was often out of the running for awards because she couldn’t compete during every day of the show. The family really appreciated a show with a youth-friendly schedule. “It’s definitely an added bonus when shows put all the youth classes on one weekend,” she says.

Click the link below to read even more about 2019 scheduling from MICHELLE FORNESS, KIM FULLWOOD, KATIE GROSSNICKLE, JOLENE MIERZEJEWSKI, and CARLI ARMENTA.

Click here to read the complete article
50 – January/February 2019
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