Improving your preparation and ‘ring craft’ at shows can really help to ‘catch the judge’s eye’ and wow them with that winning performance. Blue Chip founder and successful show horse producer Clare Blaskey has an enviable track record in the show ring. Clare has won the Best Trained Show Horse at the National Championships ten times. To see her latest winning performance on I’m Blue Chip Too, visit https://www.bluechipfeed.com/best-trained/ Clare has been placed at many major top shows including HOYS, where Clare’s horses have competed almost every year since she was 5 years old.
Clare has put together her top tips for horse showing from her wealth of experience, to help improve confidence and help you show off your horse or pony to their best.
1. Before you start the horse show competing season, take a young or novice horse to a horse dressage competition. Your horse can experience travelling and working in with other horses in a similar situation to a show, it is also an ideal opportunity to practise loading and unloading your horse. There is nothing more frustrating than finding you cannot get your horse on the lorry the morning of a show.
2. Try to let other people of different sizes ride your horse in preparation for the judge riding them. This way your horse will get used to the feel and weight of different horse riders.
3. Practise riding your horse with different contacts i.e. a light contact and a firmer one, as each judge will ride slightly differently. Also practise riding transitions so that your horse moves smoothly from one gait to another. Concentrate on riding your horse so that they move away from the leg easily and listens to your aids in downwards transitions so that they don’t fall onto your hands.
4. Put some banners or feed sacks around your arena so that your horse gets used to the sight and sound of them.
5. Treat your horse like a horse. Try to turn your horse out everyday, even in bad weather and vary your horse’s routine by jumping and hacking out.
6. Practise trotting your horse in hand and standing your horse up for the judge. This is an important part of the class and many people forget to practise this at home.
7. Try to have the correct tack for the class you are going to enter. A lightweight bridle is correct for a hack whereas a more substantial one is needed for a Riding Horse and a thicker, more workmanlike bridle for a Cob or Hunter. Make sure you have a comfy saddle that shows off your horse and is also wide enough for a male judge. Stirrup leathers should be able to be adjusted easily and stirrups should be wide enough to fit a man’s foot in them.
8. Make sure that horse’s plaits are neat and even. Your horse’s tail should be neatly pulled and bandaged. White socks should be clean and you can use chalk or paste to help highlight them. It may help to clip the hair off a horse with white legs.
9. Your horse should be in tip-top condition, with good topline and muscle tone. They should gleam with condition and not have to be constantly bathed. This enviable shine in their coat comes with horses being healthy from within; this can easily be achieved by feeding a good horse feed balancer, like Blue Chip Original, which contains a probiotic and generous levels of oils.
10.The most important thing is for you and your horse to enjoy your day. It is also a great opportunity to watch the professionals and pick up some ringside tips. If you want to know anything, go and ask them as they are usually more than willing to help.
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