Want to impress the judge in the showring but not sure how, or wondering where you are going wrong? Showing supremo Katie Jerram shares her secrets for preparing horses to win time and time again.
1. Be systematic in your preparation for a show.
“When my horses are showing the next day they are bathed and groomed as soon as they are ridden, so that we do them as we go along rather than have masses to do at once,” says Katie. “It makes the workload more manageable and you are able to do a better job by splitting it into chunks.”
2. Keep on top of trimming and pulling manes and tails by doing it on a regular basis, rather than all in one go.
“We trim in the afternoons and we do everything — from whiskers and around the eyes, to ear hair, coronet bands and fetlocks —as needed so that we don’t have lots to do before a show.”
3. Don’t fight with a horse that dislikes being trimmed.
“I put them in the horsebox, so that they are contained in a stall. After two or three times the horse will stand in a stable to have it done without fuss. Then I know my staff are safe to do that job.”
4. Wipe oil on a horse’s coat to encourage moulting.
“It loosens the pores and double the amount of hair will fall out the next day,” explains Katie.
5. Use rugs, even in the stable.
“My horses have them on even when it’s sunny, so that their coats aren’t bleached.”
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6. Don’t ride in spurs at home.
“If you do, when the judge gets on without them the horse will be numb to their leg.”
7. A well-schooled horse will produce a better individual show. Katie sprays temporary black lines on the surface in her arena, such as a shallow 5m loop and a 20m circle.
“Then all you have to do is follow the line and think about your riding, rather than where you are going. This is a good tip for teaching children.”
8. Make sure you are fit enough to be effective in the saddle, especially if riding is not your day job.
“When you ride horses all day every day you develop a good level of fitness. I like Pilates for strengthening the core.”
9. Vary the workload by going hacking, doing fun rides and enjoying your horse, rather than riding in an arena all the time. Your horse will be happier if he enjoys his work.
10. Educate yourself. Katie has evented, hunted and trained point-to-pointers in the past, and this experience helps her produce so many horses so successfully.