Monday, July 11, 2011

Horse Show Prep

You can't begin to imagine how much work goes into getting a horse ready to show at a big show although the "prep" is almost as much for the smaller, unrated shows, except for braiding.  Let me just give some examples of what happens "behind the scenes" as those horses go into the ring, much has been done to get them to that point.

If I am showing, the horse typically gets ridden every day for the 7 days leading up to the show.  Even if just a 20 minute hack, the full week schedule gets the horse into the right "work mindset."  While I can't always do this I make every effort to ride as much as I can leading up to a show.

Trailer gets packed.  Since I don't show nearly as often as I used to, I have to pack my trailer for each show.  This means adding things like buckets:

Feed if we are staying overnight.  Hay so they have something to munch on during the day since they won't get turned out.

I have special tack that I only use for horse shows.  A nice bridle like this one from Jimmy's (the standard by which all others are judged):

A girth like this one:

I also use shipping halters on the horses unless the trip is very short (20-30 minutes or less) or very hot:

I also have saddle pads that I only use for horse shows.  Something like this one:

In the summer months we take a fan with us for each horse with cords.  Those Wal-Mart fans work just fine and we use them a lot, with bungee cords to hold them in place. 
The horses also have special clothing that is used only at shows.  I always take a rain sheet with me:

The horses also have "scrims" which are used in warmer weather, keeps flies off, helps keep the horses cooled out after we go into the ring while we are waiting for the "jog" - when the horses are called into the ring in the order they are placed in the class. Scrims come in all colors, materials, etc. but they tend to look something like this:

My riding clothes have to be clean and ready. This includes a freshly washed shirt (see my earlier posting on Essex shirts), a clean pair of britches (I use Ariat britches or Tailored Sportsman), a belt (see my posting on needlepoint belts), a clean pair of boots, that look something like these:

An "approved" riding helmet, something like this one by Charles Owen:

The horses have to be washed and clipped.  Manes have to be pulled.  White socks must be white and they should have a good shoeing job. 
Before the horses go on the trailer, they are "wrapped" to protect their legs, with these:

I always check my tire pressure on my truck and trailer before I leave.  Every time!

 Each horse must have a Coggins and a Health Certificate if leaving the state.  When we arrive at the show our work is just beginning.  If we are staying overnight, stalls must be bedded down, buckets hung, fans hund, tack trunks unloaded (like these):

Once we get the trailer unpacked, the horses unwrapped, watered, and fed, we can ride them.  Try to do a "school" at the horse show venue if possible  At night the braider comes in and works his or her magic on the mane and tail.

The next day, voila, we are ready to horse show!

October 26, 2010 - Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images North America

This is my friend Elysse who is an excellent rider and who is off to Law School this fall.  She can really ride.  But this is what we all hope to look like!

Enjoy your Monday!

1 comment:

  1. Loved this post, it brought me back to being 16 and going to my very first horse show (with my "non horsey" parents in tow) oh boy I will never forget the excitment, seeing the braids and the trailer were like instant triggers for me in remembering that wonderful time in my life! Good luck!


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