If you’ve ever felt that your preparation and ‘ringcraft’ might just be letting you down at shows, you’re not alone, yet it can be easier than you think to improve your performance.
Blue Chip founder and successful show horse producer Clare Blaskey has an enviable track record in the show ring and she has competed successfully at many major shows during her career, winning a number of high profile championships along the way.
Using her wealth of experience, Clare has put together her ‘Top Ten Blue Chip Ringcraft Tips’, which are all great ideas to help improve confidence and ensure you can really show off your horse or pony in the ring this summer.
1. Take a young horse to a dressage competition before you start the show season then he can experience travelling and working in with others and you can ensure he is easy to load. There is nothing more frustrating on the morning of a show to find that you can not get your horse on the lorry.
2. In preparation for the judge riding your horse, let other people of various sizes ride him first.
3. Practice riding your horse on a light contact and also on a tighter one, as each judge rides differently. Practice transitions.
4. Make sure your horse easily goes from your leg and does not fall onto your hands in the downwards transitions.
5. Put some banners up in your school so your horse is used to seeing them.
6. Even if you have the most stunning horse in the world, still treat him like a horse; turn out every day even in bad weather, hack out and there is no reason why he can’t learn to jump, so vary the routine.
7. Practice standing your horse up in hand and leading him, as many people forget this very important part of your class and you want your horse to look his best.
8. Turn out – try to have the correct tack for the class you are in; an elegant lightweight bridle for a hack, a more substantial one for a riding horse and a wider more workmanlike one for a cob or hunter. Make sure your saddle is comfy, shows the horse off and is big enough for a male judge, including stirrup irons that are wide enough for a man’s foot. Neat plaits and a well pulled and bandaged tail complete the picture.
9. Condition – horses should not be overly fat, but in tip top condition with a good topline and muscle tone. They should gleam with wellbeing without you having to constantly bath and put show sheen on them; they should be healthy from within and this is easily achieved with Blue Chip Feed Balancer. It will save you hours of grooming, washing and strapping; even when you clip your horse his skin will shine.
10. The most important thing is for you and your horse to enjoy your day at the show so make the most of the opportunity to watch professionals and if you want to know anything, go and ask them. I have often asked their help and advice and all have only been more than willing to help me.