One of the wonderful things about the model horse hobby is that it is so accessible. It doesn’t require a live horse or strenuous physical ability. You can choose to participate in whatever way best suits your ability and finances. To make sure your show is accessible to as many hobby friends as possible, consider some simple ways you can practice conscious inclusivity when planning your next show.
Simple Ways To Practice Conscious Inclusivity
In your show packet, include a paragraph noting how you are able/willing to accommodate a shower with different needs. Make note of anything that might make showing difficult, like whether the show hall is wheel-chair accessible. Other things to note might be whether there are loud noises, strange lighting, or anything else that might assault the senses.
Photos of the show hall and outside of the hall can be helpful for people to plan whether your show will be a pleasant environment for them.
Where an entrant is seated can make all the difference for their show experience. A person with a wheel chair needs a spot with room to move around without bumping their neighbor’s table. A person who needs to be able to stand up and wiggle will appreciate the same larger space. This can easily be accommodated by putting an entrant at the last table and not backed into a wall. Put a “seating preference notes” section in your packet and allow people to let you know if they’d like a certain type of spot to make their day easier.
If an entrant has a food allergy, post on your website and the door of the show hall if it is something someone might bring in their lunch.
A shower might benefit from an assistant who can help them get horses back and forth from their table. Additional help is not always possible, but it’s worth asking if anyone wants to assist Shower 12 as you’re gearing up for the show.
The big thing is, invite your showers to let you know how you can make your show accessible to them. ASK them what you can do to make it possible and fun, and if there’s an issue rearing its ugly head before the show, discuss and brain-storm to see if there’s a way to solve it.
A roomier seating choice
A darker seating choice
A quieter seating choice
A ‘groom’ to help move horses
Extra space for a dependent child or spouse
Letting an entrant know it’s okay to bring a tool that helps them; ie noise cancelling head-phones, a phone, fidget toy, food (hall permitting), dark glasses, a blanket, etc.
My child has ADHD and enjoys showing in youth divisions. I plan ahead and bring a video game and small toys. At the show, I make sure we have a spot for him where he can get up and down frequently without bothering other showers, and I give him a path he is allowed to travel when he needs to get up and wander. I chat with the show holder so we are on the same page and on the day of the show, my child knows where he can go to walk between classes. I also often get him a whole table to himself so he can spread out toys or what not without running out of horse space.
Another example would be that we try to have an informal youth division whenever possible so that parents can bring their children and not have to get child-care to attend a show.
What About You?
What accommodations can a show holder put in place or offer to make a show more accessible for you?