Make sure you and your horse are ready for summer horse shows

As competition season gets into full swing, there’s a few things you can do to make sure you’re really well prepared for your next show. Here’s a few tips to help you get the best out of your horse and the event.

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Making sure your horse is show ready

  • Horses can lose some fitness during the winter months, so work on building it up again to ensure they’re in peak condition for show season.
  • Get up to date on trimming and grooming, so your horse looks in great condition for show time. If your kit needs an update, we have loads of great products available (http://www.olddairysaddlery.co.uk/horse_grooming.php) to make certain your horse is looking their best.
  • Practise for specific events. Work on lengthening and shortening strides so that you can comfortably get the right distances between jumps on unfamiliar courses, and always practise on jumps slightly higher than at the event, so both you and your horse are confident on the day. Likewise for dressage, enter your horse into the level just below their capability at home so that they can comfortably perform at the show.

Preparation for the event

  • Make a list of everything both you and your horse will need. For overnight stays you’ll need to factor in bedding, grain and hay as well as all the usual tack and grooming equipment, buckets, first aid kit and show paperwork.
  • Don’t forget to get yourself ready too! It’s easy to focus on what your horse needs and forget about what you need. Make sure you don’t leave it too late when it comes to show attire – if last year’s is looking a bit shabby, invest in new; it’s important to create a polished impression. And not only should it look good, it also needs to fit well and be comfortable to wear. The new Mark Todd Italian Collection is a great option. Stylish, but practical, the fabrics are breathable and machine washable, like this lovely show jacket (http://www.olddairysaddlery.co.uk/mark_todd_italian_collection_elisabeth_ladies_competition_jacket~p~1458820352.html).

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  • And when it comes to packing, it’s a good idea to take a spare set of show clothes, just in case there are any mishaps on the day!
  • The evening before the show, bathe your horse and braid them too, so you’re both ready to get going on the day of the event.

Obviously the best way to ensure your horse is at their best during show season is to look after them well throughout the year. Regular exercise, daily grooming and attention to their tail and mane as well as medical checks should keep them in tip top condition.