9 top tips for staying away at shows with your horse

  • With both the H&H Festival of Dressage (20-22 July) just around the corner here are some great tips for getting the most out of your stay. It is not too late to enter this fantastic three-day unaffiliated show, so don't miss out on the opportunity to take part. Closing date for the dressage is 13 July — so enter now!

    1. Bedding will be available to purchase on-site at the Horse & Hound Festival of Dressage, however, it is always a good idea to take extra bedding in your lorry too. After all, more clean bedding equals a cleaner horse.

    2. Find an area where you are allowed to hand graze your horse and try to get them out of their stable as much as possible for a leg stretch, so they don’t stiffen up. If you have access to a massage rug, they are also great to help prevent stiffness in your horse.

    3. Stay-away shows throw the best parties! There will be welcome drinks on the Friday night, followed by a barbecue on the Saturday evening at the Horse & Hound Festival of Dressage. Get involved in the social side of things because it will really enhance your stay and, you never know, you might make some new lifelong friends.

    4. Bandaging your horse with stable wraps overnight is a great way to give them added protection. It will also help prevent any stable stains appearing on their legs.

    5. Attaching a piece of card to your horse’s stable door with your name and contact details on is also a great idea. It means you can be contacted at all times if there isa problem with your horse.

    6. Taking a wheelbarrow instead of a skip for mucking out is much easier. Having a wheelbarrow with you while you’re away is also helpful when it comes to moving kit from your lorry to the stables.

    7. Remember to take enough rugs to keep your horse warm at night when the temperature drops. Staying away in temporary stabling tends to be much cooler than the permanent stables your horse may be used to. A waterproof rug is also a good idea with the unpredictable British weather and, in the warmer weather, a fly rug is beneficial too.

    8. Ask at the show office where you are allowed to exercise your horse, as there will probably be specially designated areas to do this. At dressage shows, like the H&H Festival of Dressage, there will also be a time slot for arena familiarisation, so do ask about when this will happen. Having the opportunity to get your horse used to the arena is great, and could make a difference to your performance in the competition.

    9. The most important advice, however, is to have FUN. Stay-away shows are a great experience for both horse and rider, and are enjoyable, sociable days away with your horse. So don’t miss your chance to ride at this year’s Horse & Hound Festival of Dressage — enter now!

    Entries are currently open for the H&H Festival of Dressage place your entries now

    For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine — on sale every Thursday.

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