A competition is a very stressful event, as much for the horse as the rider. These adrenaline rushes sometimes make us forget a few important things for the show. That is why it is crucial to be ready before the big day. Some mentally run over their list of materials needed again and again, while others follow the written one to a tee. In order to help you prepare for the big event, here is a summary of the things that need to get done for the competition.
The first and surely the most important point is to get the horse ready. In a competition, a pair must be clean and elegant. That is why it is crucial to give your horse a proper bath. Next, you need to dress him adequately. In order to do that, you need a rubber curry comb, a body brush, a hoof pick and some cloths or a sponge. The body brush removes most of the dirt. You can then take the rest off with the rubber curry comb. The hoof pick is in order to verify the hoof and the horseshoe. With the cloths, do not hesitate to clean the hindquarters, the eyes and the nose for the horse’s comfort. However, keep in mind that letting your horse out in the field after dressing him may be risky because horses just love to roll around in the grass!
The way to make the horse’s coat shine bright is to apply a shine spray on its body. This will strengthen the mane and avoid getting dust on it. Therefore, your horse will be even cleaner the next morning, when the time comes to walk out on the floor.
Once your mount is polished, you have to start on the mane. In order to do so, get your hands on a comb, a mane brush, some detangler and elastics. Start by applying detangler to the tail, but not too much – the tail will become greasy and hard to handle. Brush it with the mane brush (a normal hair brush works, too). As for the mane, just brus hit. The detangler would make it slippery. It looks its best if it is cut evenly, too – but do not use scissors. Only use the comb in order to get the most natural look possible. Next, it is time to get started on the hairstyle! First, separate the mane in an even number of strands. When the mane is properly separated in even strands, braid the mane tight. When the braids are finished, fold the braids one to three times and attach with two elastics.
In order to make the loading of your horse go smoothly in the morning, it is better to prepare everything in advance: saddle, net, carpet, boots, and so on. And, don’t forget the essential items: the horse’s papers, hay, and a bucket for water. Now, if you want to be thoroughly prepared, make sure that everything has been properly greased ahead of time, around two days before the competition, to ensure your equipment doesn’t end up being slippery.
As for yourself, make sure you get a good night’s sleep the night before, since you will be spending the entire day on your horse or on foot. Don’t forget that quite often, you need to leave at sunup for the competition, so make sure you get to bed early. If you are feeling stressed, try breathing exercises. Next, prepare your competition clothes ahead of time as well. You need white or beige riding pants as well as boots, a clean shirt and a competition vest. Wear other clothes to go to and from the competition in order to keep them stainless. Also, clean and shine your boots properly. Use a toothbrush to scrub them thoroughly, then shine them with shoe polish. And, just in case, bring along a raincoat… because you just never know! Lastly, if you want to bring your lunch, don’t forget to prepare your picnic basket. You can also plan ahead with a group of people that you know will be there to bring a common lunch, to make things easier.
Keep these tips and tricks in mind and your day should go much more smoothly!
Photo credit: flickr.com