For many horse riders, entering into competition might be the most exciting part of the equine lifestyle. Packing up your gear alongside your trusty steed and heading off on an adventure to an event might be a thrill but it can require a lot of planning and hard work. Here at The Insurance Emporium, we want to help you and your horse make the most of every competition. We’ve put together these tips on preparing your equine pal for competition to try to assist you and help bring home a rosette or two!
Eating’s not cheating
Making sure that your horse has had a good diet in the lead up to a show could be an important factor in preparing them to take on a competition. It might be worth focusing on this in the few weeks before you set off. A horse’s diet can be dependent on a wide variety of factors, including breed, size and characteristics. One thing that many horse owners and riders might agree on is the importance of quality feed in the run up to a competition. Good quality hay has more digestible fibre and could provide your horse with better nutritional value. If your horse is stabled, it might be important to make sure that there is enough variety in their diet to prevent boredom. Providing chopped hay with oats, bran or pellets could get them in competition-ready shape whilst mixing-up the menu. It is also important to remember that each horse is different and has completely different needs, this could take some trial and error but once you get to know your horse you can figure out the best pre-competition diet.
Get it right before the night
They say practice makes perfect and this remains just as true when it comes to preparing for an event. Of course, it all depends on what discipline you’re competing in as to what your training regime should consist of. It could be the ideal time to get out on your horse and practice the things that aren’t quite working before the big day. For example, if you’re into dressage then you could be working on your turns for the arena. Before heading to a competition it might be vital to iron out these little things that you’re struggling with to try and avoid them becoming bigger issues when it comes to competing. This being said, it could be a good idea to avoid over-training and changing your routine before a show. If you suddenly start doing things differently, your horse might not understand what is going on. Also, if you don’t give yourself enough time, new moves and routines are unlikely to stick.
Pack it in!
Being well-prepared is likely to be key if you’re to have a successful time at a competition. Making a list of things that you need and double checking it could be the difference between a troublesome trip and an effective event! Just like any trip away, it depends on how long you’re planning on being there for as to what you’ll need. If it’s an overnight trip then making sure that you’re stocked up on bedding, hay and grain could be vital. Ensuring that you have all of the tack that you’ll need, such as halters, leads and bridles, could also save you from a nightmare on arrival! Double checking that you have a grooming kit with you could help towards making your equine look fine on the day of an event! Finally, it could be a good idea to arrive a day early in order to help you prepare for the event and acclimatise your horse to the surroundings. It also means less chance of getting stuck in traffic on the day of an event! Nobody needs road rage before a competition!
Make room to groom!
When it comes to eventing, there are a lot of points to be gained from a well presented horse. You might want to make sure that you’ve given your horse a good wash and shampoo all over, paying particular attention to their legs. Giving them time to dry properly and using wood flour or sawdust can get those socks looking bright white and event-ready! If you’re planning on braiding your horse’s mane and tail, there are two different approaches. You could do it on the morning of an event, this means that it’s less likely to get messy before you’re up. However, it does leave you open to feeling the stress of having more to prepare on the day! If you decide to get braiding the night before the event, it could be a good idea to cover your horse with a sheet or a tail bag overnight to stop your hard work from being undone! Staying calm and making sure that you’re organised might just be the key to getting your horse looking beautiful!
Preparing a horse for competition requires a lot of planning and preparation but enjoying a stress-free event at the end of it can make it all worthwhile! Another vital part of your preparation could be to arrange insurance for your horse. At The Insurance Emporium, all of our new Horse Insurance policies include a 20% Introductory Discount* and our Lunar Monthly policy covers Saddlery and Tack for up to £3,000 if it’s stolen or accidentally damaged! Trot down to The Insurance Emporium to find out more!
*20% Introductory Discount applies to new Horse and Veteran Horse policies only.
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