Today, top notch industry professional and licensed course designer Jay Duke outlines the non-negotiable standards that he expects of his clients, and in return, he guarantees a better showing experience for you, your trainer, and your horse. This list is a must read! 

Thanks so much to Jay for writing, and thank you for reading!

  1. Arrive a minimum of 2 hours before your class is scheduled to start. Class schedules and times are posted the evening before on the show website.
  2. Be dressed appropriately. If it is a show day, know the required apparel for your classes. For practice days; breeches, boots, collared shirt, if necessary a form fitting sweater/jacket. Hair should be done appropriate for your competition.
  3. Boots and tack are to be spotless.
  4. Every time your horse leaves the barn, they are to be groomed properly. Even if its only for a hand walk.
  5. Know your course a minimum of 30 minutes before your class. It will be posted at the in gate.
  6. If your class has a course walk, you need to know the following before the walk; what are the specifications of the class you are riding in, 2nd round course if applicable, the course including options, your order of go.
  7. Watch other riders in your class, and if the class before you has similarities in the course watch that as well. Preparation is key.
  8. Keep track of your ring schedule. Sometimes a class will run before or after it is originally scheduled. If your ride time changes, let your groom and trainer know.
  9. Discuss a plan for each day with your coach for preparing you and your horse  for the ring.
  10. Be positive and focused, work on improving each and every day.
  11. Support your team mates. If possible be at the ring to cheer for them.
  12. Be gracious in victory and defeat.
  13. *** Be kind to your horse***


About Jay Duke: Jay has been a Canadian Equestrian team member, and has represented his country at shows in Washington, New York, and Toronto. He’s been the leading rider at the Spruce Meadows North American Championships, trained notable hunter and USEF horses such as Mindful, King David, and Caymus, and coached two riders to medal-winning performances at the NAJYRC. He is also a senior course designer with Equestrian Canada and offers clinic opportunities around the world. You can read more work from Jay Duke at his website,