So you want to do a show, and it’s your first time. How do you prepare your horse? What are the things that need to be kept in mind to ensure it glows like a trophy and feels confident knowing that it will draw very positive attention to itself? We’ve all seen what a horse looks like when it enjoys a cheering crowd and how proud they can become! Do you want your horse to feel that way?
Although these may seem quite obvious, I am sure some of us still don’t do one or a couple of the things on this list. Read on:
a) The bath
To make your royal beast look spotless, read this article. If you are preparing your horse for a show, know that it is best to clean it a few days prior to give the natural oils time to come back and give the coat that extra shine.
b) The hooves
The details on how to get hooves cleaned, and a bit more, are in this article by fellow writer Terri AP Widdowson. It is complete and even gives tips on how to avoid getting kicked!
Next, to get them shiny, apply hoof polish. For black hooves, use black polish, and clear on any other colour of hoof.
c) Clip the fetlocks and hairs
Clip any longer hairs on the muzzle, face, ears and throat, and the felocks on the legs. This gives a nice body shape, therefore improves his appearance.
d) The mane
Some people like to arrange the mane. This, of course, depends on the discipline you will perform in and the breed of the horse. You may braid it, but use thread that blends with the colour so it’s not apparent. In western events, banding the mane is common and makes a thick neck appear thinner. Depending on the event, you may want to braid the tail.
e) Now: You!
The idea here is to try to stand out by using a colour for your outfit that contrasts with your horse’s colour. Make sure it coordinates with the saddle pad. However, try to avoid an all-black outfit if you want to stand out from the rest of the competitors as several will be wearing that colour. Deep shades of blue, green, burgundy and purple are great alternatives. Try, as much as possible, to match your boots, hat and belt, and chaps if you are wearing them. If not, it just looks strange.
To make sure this outfit is perfect for you, wear it at least once while riding – if you are going to a show where this is necessary to avoid surprises and to make sure everything fits well.
f) Your horse’s equipment
It is best if you use a complete bridle, saddle and pad. Also, match the reins, headstall and saddle, and look for a colour that stands out from your horse’s coat.
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