If you haven’t done it before, staying away at a competition with your horse can be quite stressful. There’s lots to think about, particularly when it comes to packing. So to help you out and ensure you get a good night’s sleep before hand, here are our 10 top tips;
It is vitally important to ensure you offer your horse water whilst travelling, every few hours ideally, so fill up some containers at home. It is always beneficial to take some extra, as some horses will not be keen to drink water from the competition venue if it tastes different. Packing some flavouring such as apple juice and molasses might also be useful just in case they do decide to be fussy!
- Feed and forage
It’s amazing how many people forget it, but ensure you remember to pack your horse’s breakfast and dinner as well as suitable forage. If you are taking convenient small bales of hay/haylage, try to introduce these gradually for a week or so before you go to help avoid any digestive upsets.
- Energy Boost
Although lots of people talk about feeding a bit extra at competitions for an extra boost, remember energy and calories are the same thing. Therefore, if they are maintaining a healthy weight, they are getting what they need to support their workload so increasing their intake may just result in unwanted weight gain – for more information on energy, click here. If you do want to add something extra, do this gradually over a few days before the competition so it isn’t a shock to their digestive system. You’ll then also be able to see how they start to respond before you go, as some horses may just become silly and spooky rather than having more ‘energy’ which is something you don’t want to be dealing with in the ring.
If your horse gets heavily sweated up, consider taking along an electrolyte supplement to ensure they are fully rehydrated.
- Rugs, Head collar, Tack, Boots
In England we never quite know what the weather is going to do, so we would recommend a rug for every scenario within reason! As well as all your tack a hole punch might be handy and a spare set of boots and head collar.
- First Aid Kit – you and your horse!
Hopefully you won’t have to use it and of course a vet will always be on call, but a basic kit is always vital to have with you.
- Grooming Kit
We need to make sure your horse is looking at their best, so don’t forget your full grooming kit with the added extras…plaiting bands, mane and tail conditioner etc. You may also find some insect repellent during the summer months useful too.
- Your Riding Wardrobe
You will need your full attire, make a check list to ensure you have everything you need for each class as well as extras in case of wet weather or dirty those white jodhpurs as you can guarantee that a dog will jump up at you as soon as you put them on.
- Stable and yard equipment
Bedding should be provided but all the other stuff including haynets, brush, fork, water buckets, wheelbarrow etc you will need to take with you, nothing worse than having to borrow everybody else’s! Also your horse will be stabled for longer periods, so treat balls and licks to help avoid boredom are a good idea too.
- Passport and Entry Forms
Last but by no means least…you won’t be able to do anything without these, so put them in a safe but memorable place.
Remember to check if SPILLERS are attending your event with the weigh bridge and if we are, you are welcome to come over to have you horse weighed, body condition scored and receive a full nutritional consultation for free!