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Show Prep

I’ve entered the youngsters into an inhand show this weekend so this week has all be about preparing them for this experience. So I sat & wrote a list of all the things they’d have to do and wear as part of the day & have replicated as much as possible the processes day by day, until we went for a little lorry journey on Thursday literally “all dressed up and no where to go”! This list included having a tail bandage on, travel boots, bridle, to be bathed, have face washed, stand up square, trot up for judge, be loaded, stand tied to lorry, stand tied on lorry & be sprayed with show sheen Usually my competition prep in years gone by would have been focused on what was going to happen in the ring, nailing that & if I’m honest not really thinking about the before bit! But now with a few years break I can see how all these little things of not prepared for can feel weird, can add to the anxiety & nerves of the day not only from you but from the horse, a tail bandage although perfectly normal to us of you’re used to putting them on can feel restrictive and cause tail clamping which causes tightness in the back, not what you want when you’ve spent your time trying to get a relaxed swinging walk for example. Travel boots can cause the horse to kick & fight them, leading to an exhausting stressful journey. Now obviously if you’re competing your pony regularly they will probably be used to all this, but if you haven’t been out in a while, or compete every now and then, or if theirs a particular process that ends up stressing you both out, practicing this all at home could change your world on show day. So maybe don’t just focus on what’s happening in the ring, have a think about all the other stuff that goes into show day and teach your horse that all will be ok. Ways to do this are; 

•Wear a tail bandage whilst you give them a groom, great practice for you too 

•Put travel boots on whilst they’re being fed, or again once you’ve groomed their legs, maybe even walk them to the field in them if it’s not too far away Get imaginative and have fun 

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