Competition tips for extreme weather

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    Coping with snow

    You probably won’t often have to compete in the snow, but it’s not unheard of. Follow these tips:

    • “Putting Vaseline inside the horse’s hooves can prevent snow building up,” says BE100 competitor Katie Daniel
    • Riding in hoof boots when warming up can also avoid snow condensing in the horse’s hooves
    • Be careful as you cannot be sure of the ground underneath and there are likely to be icy patches
    • Have a hoof pick on hand to remove any build-up of snow prior to entering the arena
    • Your horse could be extra exuberant in snow so may need lungeing first

    Coping with heat

    • “Think about where you park at events. If you can park in some shade that is ideal, but you will be fighting for that with every other box in the place. So, if nothing else, try and work out which way the sun is going to go round and try not to have it shining directly into the back of the box,” says three-star rider Sam York
    • Don’t forget fly repellent
    • Keep your horse’s plaits in, even the forelock, to allow for maximum cooling
    • Encourage fussy drinkers by putting an apple into their water bucket or adding some warm water
    • Wear long sleeves to avoid applying suncream when you’re sweaty, dirty, tired and have limited time
    • Drenching handkerchiefs in cold water and tying them around your wrist can help keep you cool and can be useful for wiping sweat off your face
    • BE100 competitor Katie Daniel advocates the use of lavender wash after cross-country. “It removes sweat and grease easily and it calms, relaxes and refreshes their muscles,” she says
    • “Fill your wash buckets before your round and sit them in a sunny area to take the chill off them as you don’t want to wash off your horse in ice cold water,” says Lorna Cameron

    This is an extract from a feature on coping with adverse weather conditions at competitions, first published in the current issue of Horse & Hound (3 March, 2011)

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