How to be a show secretary

  • Expert advice from Horse & Hound magazine on planning the perfect show day

    A good show secretary is vital if you are to run a successful show. They need a good sense of humour and an inexhaustible supply of energy and patience.

    The show secretary’s role

    As well as affiliating to the relevant societies, which will require a draft schedule, judges have to be booked. The most popular judges are often booked up well in advance, but the showing societies have lists.

    A list of BSJA judges is available from Stoneleigh, and you must make sure that a minimum of three are booked. You will need a BSJA panel show jumping course-builder, who would also be able to design the course for the working hunters.

    Remember that if you run working hunter classes, you will need an extra set of fences. Not all centres keep working hunter fences and it might be necessary to hire these.

    Once your schedule has been approved by the societies, you must have plenty printed. It is worth contacting local print shops, who might do you a “deal” in exchange for their name as a class sponsor.

    Rosettes also need to be ordered and it is not worth skimping on these. Order one rosette of each place for every class, plus an extra 10 with nothing shown on them, in case of joint-winners. Don’t have the date printed on rosettes, as any “leftovers” can be used the following year.

    If the classes are supported, the sponsor’s name should appear on the rosettes. It is also a nice touch to have one extra rosette printed to give to the sponsor on the day.

    To encouragepre-entries, it is worth putting a closing date on your schedule and charging extra for entries on the day.

    Most shows advertise in Horse & Hound’s dedicated show numbers at the beginning of the year and, if you affiliate, your show will be included on the various organisations’ lists which go to all members.

    If you are hiring a centre, you could display your schedules at its earlier shows, while local tack shops and feed merchants might also help – and are often willing to provide some sponsorship.

    If hiring a venue, it is worth asking if you can “move in” the day before the show. Course-designers often prefer to build their first track the evening before and will need help in transporting equipment to the ring.

    It is a good idea to put the prize-money into envelopes the night before and also prepare the rosettes for each class. The senior show jumping judge is often prepared to look after the prize-money and rosettes for that ring.

    You will also need cash for a float, plus travel expenses for the judges.

    Read more about running your own show: