A show or event atmosphere can often prove a stressful environment for our horses and ponies bringing them new surroundings, sights and smells and more pressure under saddle. Keeping your equine calm at competitions is not only essential for your safety but limiting stress for both you and your horse is highly beneficial for health, wellbeing and to ensure the partnership deliver the best result possible on the day!
Top Tips for Managing your Horse at Competitions
1.) Firstly remember to leave yourself enough time when you arrive at an event to fully prepare your horse to be ridden without being rushed or becoming stressed yourself.
2.) Ensure your horse or pony has ample forage "on-board" and when you arrive always offer your horse a small drink prior to tacking up.
3.) When you are ready to mount thoroughly check your ‘competition’ tack to ensure everything is correctly fitted as tack which is too tight, pinching or likely to slip is dangerous and could be adding to your horse or pony’s tension.
4.) If your equine struggles with tension or stress at shows it is important to remember all horses are individuals and how you manage your equines at shows depends on their own unique personalities. Some horses need to be kept on the move at a show, while others are best left alone. For those that like to be kept active in busy environments walking the horse or pony around or lunging where appropriate may be ideal. Some equines may prefer having a companion at shows to boost their confidence so if your horse becomes stressed at shows why not consider travelling with another or taking a non-competing horse along for the ride?
5.) For those equines which prefer their own company at events ensure your horse box or trailer offers them the solstice they need. Why not try experiment with opening doors and windows to see what your horse or pony likes best!
If your horse is displaying fresh, fizzy or bad behaviour at competitions their diet should always be considered. If you think that food is fuelling the excess energy, this may cause a horse to become frustrated or stressed so a change could help. Typically research has shown that high-starch diets offering quick release energy can result in a ‘fizzy’ state of mind in some horses so for those that are affected in a show environment a diet which is rich in fibre and oil may be a better choice.
It may also be beneficial to feed a horse magnesium calmer in the diet to promote relaxed behaviour at shows. New Calmer Equine from Scientific Nutritional Products contains premium chelated Horse Magnesium an ‘anti stress mineral’ and B group vitamins which help relax muscles and the nervous system plus Pre and Probiotics for calm digestive system.
For many of us it is worth considering whether the root of the problem lies with our own anxiety. Whether that is desire to succeed or the concern that our horses will behave badly, rider nerves can play a big part in our horse’s tension on the day. In order to minimise your own nerves, ensure you are correctly prepared for the day so you are running in plenty of time and all have had all the help in terms of riding lessons and advice for knowledgeable friends and family to know what is expected of you at the other end.
New Calmer Equine Magnesium for Horses is available from www.horsesupplementsdirect.co.uk or by contacting a member of our friendly team on Tel: 01377 254 900.