If you’re a horse trainer or owner, it is about that time of year to saddle up for competition. That’s right! It’s time to get those coats shining like patent leather, and it’s time to put some pep in that gait.
You can’t start getting ready the week before your first show and expect to blow the judges away. Getting your horse to look its best and perform to its peak capabilities takes a lot of hard work and patience.
Neither you nor your horse can handle the pressure of preparing for a big show overnight. Proper preparation ahead of time is the only way to guarantee that your horse will put on its best showing in competition. Here are some tips to make sure that you and your horse are successful at the first show of the season.
Patience is the key
If this is your first time training a horse for a show, or even your first time owning a horse, it is crucial that you are patient with it. The horses and trainers that put on lasting performances are duos that have trust and chemistry. You can get there with your horse, too, but remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
The key to success with any type of training with your horse is that you build up the level of trust between the two of you. Don’t do what you always see done in Westerns, where the rider just goes and jumps on an unsuspecting wild horse and “breaks it.” That is a great way to hurt yourself and the horse.
Do the small things like feeding your horse fruits and veggies from your hand. Brush its coat and pull tangles out of their mane. Over time, the two of you will begin to bond.
When you train your horse, it is important to remain cool and calm at all times. Getting visibly frustrated will only cause the horse to grow nervous and frustrated. By maintaining your cool in all situations, the horse will learn to feel comfortable around you. This will lead to the horse trusting you in spooky situations.
Keep your horse immaculately groomed
Judges at horse shows pay strict attention to the appearance of each horse at the event. They know what to look for from the tail to the hooves to the mane. Barely anything escapes their watchful eyes. If you’re negligent in grooming your horse and try to make up for it at the last minute, the judges will be able to tell.
Keeping your horse well-maintained is something that you should do whether or not you to choose to show it. You can get everything you need to keep your horse blooming from an equine care brand like Finish Line horse products.
Every time you ride your horse, you should groom it before and after the ride. Use a curry brush to dislodge dust and dirt from their coat and skin. Sometimes you have to use a little elbow grease if your horse is especially muddy or dirty and sweaty. Curry brushes are for deep cleaning. Do not use the curry brush on any party of the horse where there is bone close to the surface of the skin, as this will hurt the horse.
Use the body brush to get rid of dirt dislodged by the curry brush and a soft brush to get dirt dislodged by the curry and body brushes. When grooming your horse, start towards the front of the body and work your way back. Always stroke in the direction that the hair is growing. You also want to pick your horse’s hooves clean everyday, or at least before and after every ride.
Caring for your horse is a major responsibility whether or not you plan to show it. However, if you’re patient with your horse, and you make grooming a habit, then you will be a step closer to a great show performance.