One great thing about this time of the year is that, for horse enthusiasts like yourself, the horse show and racing seasons are right around the corner. It’s time to get yourself and your steed into shape. You both have to be fit and look the part in order to draw the adoration of equine aficionados and judges alike.
Whether this is your first season or you are a veteran trainer or rider, it is never too early to start getting your horse ready for competition. There is much to cover before the first competition kicks off, and if you fail to plan then you plan to fail. This article will give you some basics to help you get your show season off to a winning start.
Get your horse used to traveling
Do not underestimate the importance of your horse being comfortable on the day of a show. The last thing that you want to do is show a nervous or even spooked horse. All that will do is make both of you come to dread horse shows. As your horse gaits for the crowd, you want it to look sure and confident.
One way to help steady the nerves of your four-legged friend is to ensure that he or she is used to traveling in a horse trailer. You don’t want the day of the competition to be the first time that your horse sees the inside of a trailer.
Get your steed or mare used to this mode of transportation by taking short trips with them. You never want to introduce something “new” to your horse’s routine on the day of a show. Short trips are a great way to get your horse used to the ride and for you to get used to pulling a trailer, if you’ve never done so before. Everything should be as close to business as usual on the day of a show.
Make grooming a habit
Grooming your horse is something that you should do whether or not you tend to show them. If you are entering your horse into competition, then keeping them well-groomed will have to become almost a religious sacrament.
When they step out into the lights for all eyes to see, you want their coat to gleam. You want their tail and mane to flow as fluidly as possible. You want their hooves to be shine. Every inch of your horse will be examined to see if it meets breeding standards. In other words, you want your horse to have that “bloom” that experts and judges are always on the lookout for.
The first frontier to tend to is your horse’s nutrition. They need a pasture that is rich in vitamin E and other valuable nutrients. You also want to make sure that your horse gets the fatty acids he or she needs. Also, salt and fresh-water are key.
As far as the tail and mane, there are a few schools of thought as to how to maintain them. One method is to never brush them and to only pick out tangles with your fingers. Another popular practice is to brush the mane daily to keep them shiny, oily, and free of tangles and dust.
Curry your horse according to the season that you are in. When your horse is shedding, you want to use a more coarse brush to help get rid of excess fur. If your horse has already shed their winter coat, then you want to use a soft or rubber curry to bring the oils of their skin to the surface of the coat. That is, of course, how you get that shine! Also, you should do maintenance on their hooves on a daily basis and not just when you are about to ride.
Make sure that your horse puts their best hoof forward this competition season. Feed them an optimal diet, get religious about grooming, and practice a lot to infuse your horse with confidence. Do these things, and your horse will be show-ready.