Winter Showing Tips
This month Black Country Saddles sponsored show rider and producer Jayne Ross gives us some winter showing tips for the show ring. From training at home to perfecting your turnout Jayne provides some top advice to help you conquer some common problems.
Well known in the showing world, Jayne has ridden and trained many top show horses over the years winning all major titles including five supreme championships at the Horse of the Year Show.
Is your horse a little slow off the leg?
Try using two schooling whips of equal weight and length when schooling and hacking at home to help encourage him to be more responsive to your leg. As you ask for an upward transition, give him a little flick with the whips to reinforce what you are asking from the leg, but most importantly when he responds let him travel forward freely as a reward for reacting to your request.
Competing throughout the winter months?
Try not to worry too much about winter showing. Woolly coats and hairy legs? most people will be in the same boat. Trimming the ‘cat hairs’ around the elbows and at the back of the knees and encouraging the coat over the hocks to lay flat can help for a tidier look. Make sure you don’t over trim, you don’t want to ruin the hair. Also try and keep them as clean and dry as possible so excessive bathing won’t be required. A hood or Lycra body can help keep manes tidy and stop turnout rugs rubbing. Judges should be looking past the ‘winter woollies’ and seeing the horse or pony for what it is worth.
Does your horse become tense in the ring?
Try not to think too much about it and keep your cool. If you pre-empt it and tense up your horse is likely to continue to react to that and tense up too. A change of routine may work; leaving them out in the field the night before the show can help settle a horse that gets uptight. Try waiting until the last moment to remount if the judge has ridden and try and move out of the line in a slightly different direction to the horse nearest you. You could also try the first few strides on a loose rein to try and give them something else to think about. It doesn’t matter if he doesn’t show himself off that well if it means you can break the habit.
We use quarter marks to enhance the horse’s hindquarters and overall appearance but no one will inspect them in great detail. Preparation is key! Use a water brush to dampen the hair down and cover the whole of the hindquarters. Personally I don’t use a template, I use a comb for the chequerboard effect (although it can be done as three stripes instead) and a body brush for the shark’s teeth. This can should be done by alternating brush strokes arched upwards and then downwards down the quarters.
Sponsored by Black Country Saddles one of Jayne’s favourite designs is the Classic Show Saddle which offers style and elegance when in the show arena.
Said Jayne: “The show saddle is so comfortable and is a fantastic fit for horse and rider. The minute you sit on one you feel completely at home and you know you will not have to spend time bedding it in.
“They also allow plenty of freedom of movement which is so important for the show horse in order that they can move well and have presence when in the ring.”
For more information contact Black Country Saddles on 01543 578 243 or visit www.blackcountrysaddles.com