Thousands of Brits compete every weekend in a range of equestrian competitions, including racing, eventing, showjumping, and dressage events. There’s no magic formula for success, but satisfied riders and horses tend to yield the best results. Read on to discover some great tips for keeping horses and their riders happy before, during, and after competition.
Enjoy Independence with a Horsebox
Independence is one key to happiness, and you can achieve both with a horsebox. You can use your horsebox to transport your horse to competitions without relying on anyone else. With a horsebox, you can set the schedule, drive early in the morning to beat traffic, or sleep in so you’re wide-eyed behind the wheel. You can also stop when you feel hungry and check on your equine travel companion as many times as you need. What could be better?
Make Loading Easy
A horsebox or trailer can seem like a very unnatural and frightening place for a horse, so it’s unsurprising that many horses get stressed when they’re being loaded. You can minimize their distress with an easy loading ramp. Horses are naturally claustrophobic so you should also make efforts to make your horsebox or trailer more inviting for your horse. Put some of his favorite bedding in there and some hay to entice him inside. You can also make the box feel a little less scary by opening any doors or windows to let the light in.
Travel in Style
Horseboxes have come a long way from the basic vehicles we once knew. Modern luxury horseboxes like the Empire Coachbuilders Ultimate horsebox have all the modern conveniences that horses and their riders could possibly hope for. Your horse can travel in a luxurious padded and air-conditioned area with lift-up windows so he can enjoy the scenery. It also features closed-circuit television systems so you can keep an eye on your equine friend.
Of course, there are plenty of amenities for the rider as well. The bespoke kitchen, shower room and flat screen television in our horseboxes can be complemented by a host of optional extras including built in wi-fi / internet system, outside fridge and freezer, and even a washing machine for long journeys.
Introduce Your Horse to the Venue
A horse rarely feels happy in an unfamiliar environment. You can ease his stress by giving him a guided tour once you arrive. Ride your horse around the showground when you get there to make the venue feel less foreign. Make sure to take him near any objects or areas which might spook him so he becomes desensitized to them. If you’re staying overnight, his stable should be the final stop in your tour. Stay with him until he feels comfortable in this space.
Give him earplugs
The sound of motor vehicles, crowds, and even other horses can unsettle some horses. If yours is the nervous type, he might benefit from a set of horse earplugs. He’ll still be able to hear the sound of your voice and other vital noises, but the plugs will drown out the background noise. Many plugs are also designed to touch acupuncture points to make them extra calming for the equine wearer.
Keep Your Horse Calm with Regular Grooming
Riders always want their horse to look their best for competition, but grooming will help relax your horse too. Brushing your horse with a curry comb to remove loose hair, then a dandy brush to remove dirt and hair, followed by a soft brush to remove any residue will stimulate his circulatory system and release feel-good endorphins. Then use a wet washcloth to clean his face and a wide-bristled comb to tame a tangled mane or tail. Pack some easily portable grooming gear when you set off for competition to get the job done on the go.
Let Your Horse Graze
Depending on where you’re competing, it might be difficult to let your horse graze. However, if you do spy a patch of the green stuff before the competition starts it’s worth giving him the time to tuck in. Horses are natural grazers, and when they haven’t eaten grass for a while they start to crave it. Grass also aids with digestion for horses, so it will settle your horse’s stomach as well as clear his head before your event begins.
Choose the Best Time to Compete
If you have the flexibility to choose your ride time, it’s best to compete early. You’ll be able to put your nerves aside sooner and enjoy the rest of the event, and the early start will make your horse happier. Fewer horses are up and competing early, so there’s less chance that your horse will get spooked. The competition surface also won’t have had a chance to be packed or chopped up, so it’ll feel much better under hoof.
Keep a Stash of Treats
Keeping some treats for your horse on hand can keep him motivated during competition. He’ll learn to look forward to his reward at the end of each stage, and be less likely to misbehave during the events. Apple and carrot pieces, sugar cubes, sunflower seeds, raisins, peppermints, homemade biscuits, and commercially manufactured horse snacks all make great horse treats. Just be careful that your horse treats don’t inadvertently contain any substances that may be tested for during competition, such as caffeine. Even if your horse loves these treats, his happiness isn’t worth jeopardizing your place in the competition.
Use a Hot Horse Power Shower
Portable hot horse power showers make it easy to wash away the muck of competition, but they can do more than simply keep your horse clean on the go. These high-tech cleaners are also proven to make horses happier. Many horses fuss and fidget during wash time, but these impulses tend to disappear under a hot horse power shower. The deep pressure of the warm water feels wonderful to horses and actually helps calm them down.
Rent Out Your Horsebox
It doesn’t make sense for your horsebox to sit gathering dust until your next competition rolls around. Various websites can help horsebox owners across the United Kingdom connect with prospective renters and handle payments and insurance cover. Use this easy money to fund your next competition or arrange a fun getaway for you and your horse! We recommend buyhorseboxes.co.uk
Adopt these happy habits to ensure you and your horse have a great time before, during, and after competition.
Enjoy your Empire Coachbuilders Horsebox.
Finally don’t forget the owner – bespoke options including pop out BBQs for sunny days, 12-person dining tables for the days that are not sunny, built in Champagne fridges for the successful days and oversized showers/bathrooms for a few home comforts. If you can dream it, we can build it.
Images from Empire Coachbuilders Ltd. empirecoachbuilders.com
If you would like to discuss your own custom horsebox, please contact our sales director James Trevatt http://empirecoachbuilders.com/contact-us