Showing your horse can be an exciting time, especially if you’re regularly doing this. However, it can be equally stressful with all the preparation that goes in to getting your horse ready for the big event. Petplan have put together a few simple tips to get your horse looking their best and to save you from any last minute preparation.
Preparation is key
By starting their grooming far in advance, you allow very little to go wrong with their coat. Grooming your horse on a daily basis all year round is the best way to keep their coat looking show ready at all times. This not only increases the health and shine of their coat, it also allows for the two of you form a greater bond.
Feeding your horse the right feeds can be all the difference when it comes to showing. There are plenty of coat enhancing supplements readily available on the market but the best shine comes inside out from a healthy, balanced diet tailored for the horses level of work, dietary intake and pasture availability. If you’re unsure of where to start with formulating a feeding regime for your horse, contacting an Equine Nutritionist can be a good place to start
Stay on top of all medical treatment as they may not show well if they are underweight or overweight; have worms; or any other illnesses. A healthy horse will perform better and be much more presentable than an unhealthy horse.
1 week before the event
Maintaining your horses coat also includes clipping out their socks (if they have any) and/or clipping the feathers on their fetlocks and around their coronet bands. You can also clip the hairs that grow on their muzzle; face; ears; and throat if they are good to do so. This should be done at least a week prior to your show, with touch ups on show day, to avoid leaving clipper lines on your horse. By doing this, you are adding definition to their body shape which improves their look and overall presentation. If doing a full body clip, this will need to be done at least 2 weeks prior to the event and before the summer coat starts to come through otherwise it will give off a dull appearance to your horses coat.
Night before the event
With the show coming up fast, there are a few last minute touch ups that need to be done. Washing your horse the night before (or as close to the show as possible) should be of top priority. However, when bathing your horse try to avoid shine-enhancing formula around the saddle area as this could lead to issues relating to slipping and sliding around on the saddle.
The mane and tail should be brushed and washed thoroughly in order to remove any knots or dirt. Pay close attention to the horses dock and base of their mane to ensure you’re getting all the built up dirt and dandruff out or you will see this in between your plaits. Using a metal pull comb or specialised mane razor, thin out the mane if it is too thick and finish off by plaiting and rosetting or banding the mane and tail for show (still do so if you intend the tail or mane to be loose during the show).
On the day
Shows can be a very stressful time for both humans and horses; therefore you should try and keep a normal routine when it comes to feeding. Have all their regular food and at least two buckets of water available throughout the day to keep them calm.
Checklists are your best friend when it comes to showing, especially when it relates to what gear you need. There’s nothing worse than rocking up to the show and you’re without some equipment that is vital for the day. Gather everything you need and tick it off as it goes in your car or float to the event – make sure that it has been cleaned thoroughly beforehand.
These are only a handful of helpful tips that will allow you to be prepared for showing your horse. As each person and horse is different, you may find some things may or may not work for you. Let us know in the comments about some of your favourite showing tips and tricks!