Thursday, November 18, 2010

Intermediate/Advanced: Horse Show Checklist

Ok so I freely acknowledge it’s the wrong time of year for this one, but it’s Nanowrimo this month so we’re going with what I can write quickly, easily, and with no reference material, images, or photoshop work required.

So you want to show next year and need to know what to ask for for Christmas :) There we go, show article in November justified!

Note that if you’re in a riding school, some of this you won’t need to actually purchase (ie, while a saddle is very important if it’s your own horse, if it’s a school horse it probably already has tack!) Also, some tack etc is optional (ie breastplate)

Note two – bringing all this stuff is only half the challenge. The other half is being able to find it once you’re there and stressed cause you’re at a show and the “bomb-proof-might-as-well-be-a-stuffed-pony” horse you loaded on the trailer has suddenly become a fire-breathing monster! We have a rule at GRS that the rider is responsible for packing their own vehicle and nobody else is allowed to touch it once it’s packed! This saves all sorts of blame and stress at the show. Everybody can help toss things back in the vehicle at the end of the day or unpack the trailer at home, but getting ready each rider needs to organize their own stuff in a way that makes sense to them.

Note also that some of this is eventing-specific and/or Ontario-specific. Feel free to alter/add/amend. Obviously if you’re on your way to a dressage show you can probably skip the xc vest and jump saddle >;-P Use some common sense people!

Suggestions very welcome :)

So with all those notes noted, happy packing!

Show Packing list:

- Memberships (OHTA, OEF, EC)
- Medical armband
- Proof of qualifications
- Passport
- Coggins
- Jr/Am card (if appropriate)
- Copy of entry form
- Chequebook (just-in-case!)

Horse (believe it or not I know one poor girl who packed everything in the trailer and left the horse behind! Never to live it down :) Note that the horse comes after the paperwork; without the paperwork it doesn’t matter whether or not you have a horse!

- Jump saddle
- Jump girth
- Dressage saddle (optional)
- Dressage girth
- Extra stirrup leathers (I usually just leave these in the truck)
- Extra girth for each saddle (as above)
- Dressage bridle
- Jump bridle (may be same as dressage bridle)
- Running martingale
- Breastplate
- Jump saddle pad
- Dressage saddle pad
- Horse boots
- Tape to extra-secure Velcro on said horse boots
- Extra halter (this is not optional – consider if either halter or lead break or go missing, how is the rest of your day going to go...? How are you going to get your horse home?)
- Extra leadrope (also not optional – see above :)
- Stud kit (esp if weather/footing is dodgy)
- Any necessary blankets, fly sheet, rain sheet, cooler, etc depending on weather
- Tack cleaning kit (little bucket, saddle soap, sponge, cloth, polish)

Rider Necessities:
- Jacket
- Gloves (black)
- Helmet
- Helmet cover
- Boots
- Breeches
- Belt
- Show shirt
- XC vest
- Medical armband holder
- Pinny holder
- Rain jacket (always. Trust me.)
- Hairnet
- Crop
- Spurs
- Watch (or good friend with watch. When they say you start at 7:53, they mean it. At 7:54 you’re eliminated.)
- Stock tie
- Stock pin
- XC watch (this depends on level and location! In ON it’s currently illegal below T level.)
- Boot pulls
- Boot jack
- Safety pins (you’d be amazed how often you need to pin a number on)

Trailer items:
- Buckets (at very least one for bathing and one for drinking)
- Hay net(s)
- Enough hay/grain/supplements for one day longer than you plan to be there
- Mounting box
- Broom
- Manure fork
- Shipping boots or bandages
- Tail wrap (I personally have never used one, but I have a friend who would disown me if I didn’t put it on the list :)
- Saddle rack
- Bridle hooks
- Duct tape, binder twine and WD40. With these three items, you can fix just about anything!
- Scissors (to aid in above repairs :)
- Horse 1st aid kit
- Water
- Gas in truck
- Bedding (if stabling)

Grooming Kit:
- Hoof pick
- Extra hoof pick (they walk!)
- Curry comb
- Dandy brush
- Soft brush
- Show sheen
- Corn starch/Baby powder (if your horse has white markings)
- Braiding kit (mane comb, string/elastics of appropriate colour, if string also bring: latch hook & stitch ripper)
- Scissors
- Dry swiffer (ok my students and I might be the only ones who do this, but fastest way to get dust of a dark horse after a dusty warm-up ever! Works equally well on boots)
- Sponges (at least one horse-sized for bathing after, good plan to have a small one for grooming touch-ups too)
- Towel
- Sweat scraper
- Fly spray
- Rubber mitt or cactus cloth
- Poultice (and paper to wrap around it)
- Tail comb
- Safety razor
- Hoof polish

Miscellaneous things that have been known to save the day:
- Like minded friend/groom/accomplice...
- Folding chairs
- Hard copy of rule book
- Tim Hortons
- Extra leadline
- People flyspray
- People 1st aid kit
- Umbrella (please be careful where you open it!)
- Drinks (age appropriate please people! And fruit juice or water for all till you’re DONE riding :)
- Food (esp of the light and healthy variety)
- Cash (don’t ever count on being able to use plastic at a horse show)
- Camera
- Change of weather-appropriate clothes for after riding
- Extra socks
- Warmer clothes than you expect to need
- Baseball cap (or some other form of sun-hat)
- Mirror (esp if you’re in a sport where you have to tie a stock tie!)
- Hair brush
- Toilet paper (you can thank me later)
- Sunscreen
- Plastic bags
- Towels/cloths
- Baby wipes
- Deck of cards
- Sense of humour


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Intermediate: Evaluating Soundness

Ok so TheoryThursday is going to be seriously reduced during the month of November due to Nanowrimo ( - for the uninitiated) and the fact that there’s only so many hours in a week! I suspect at absolute most only one level is going to get a post each week. Enjoy!

This week – evaluating soundness.
So there will come a time in every horse-person’s life when you’re riding around and suddenly think “hmmmm, that’s not quite right...” So you get off your horse, but now what?

First, bribe a friend. Get this wonderful person to lead your horse in a straight line at the trot. The leadline should have no pressure on it (giving the horse complete freedom of head and neck). Why the trot? Well because at the trot the horse moves in an even 2-beat rhythm, making it much easier to judge if something’s not right. They also tend to carry their heads very still – making it obvious if that’s not right either!

So your willing friend is trotting your horse in a long straight line so you can observe. But what exactly are you seeing? Well first thing – is the horse’s head bobbing? If so, there’s a problem. Next thing to ascertain – does his head seem to be going up higher than normal when it bobs, or is it pulling down lower than normal. I’ll give you a hint, if you’re new to this, odds are it’s going up. The down is usually a much more subtle movement. If it’s going up, you’re looking at a front leg lameness. If it’s going down, it’s the hind leg.

So every-other-beat the horse’s head shoots up in the air. Something’s wrong in the front. But which leg? Well, just imagine if you were limping. You have a huge blister on the ball of your left foot – when you step on that foot you’re going to step mostly on your toes and for as short a time as possible. This means your head will come UP when the SORE leg hits the ground. And as you limp, so does your horse.

If the problem is in the hind-end, you’ll see the horse’s head bob down lower than normal every-other-beat. The reason for this is he’s using his head and neck as a counter-weight so he doesn’t have to put pressure on the sore leg. So in this case the horse’s head goes DOWN when the SORE leg hits the ground.

Which of course makes the two seem like complete opposites and entirely confusing, but really all you have to remember is that the deviation from normal occurs as a result of the pain. So whichever leg is on the ground when the head is in the wrong position is the one you should be looking at. This is a skill that does take time to develop, but you would like it to be at the point where you can tell even without the head bob which leg has something wrong (ie when they’re just not stretching quite as far with one leg as the other).

Once you know *which* leg is sound is the time to try and figure out what is wrong and what to do about it. But that’s a post for another day!