Q: I recently took my young horse to his first show. He travelled well, but was so excited when he arrived that taking off his travelling boots and putting on brushing boots was a nightmare.
I don’t want to warm him up without any leg protection because I’m worried he’ll strike into himself, but I don’t want to get knocked out of the way and jumped on next time I change his boots. Do you have any suggestions?
Lynn Russell replies: Anyone who has taken a young horse to his first show will sympathise with you.
I often have this problem with my four-year-old horses, so I travel them in bandages over padding rather than boots. If the bandages fasten with tie tapes, they should be tied with the knot on the side of leg and not at the back, where it can damage a tendon, or at the front, where it may press on the cannon bone.
For extra security, I then put tape over the bandages, making sure the tape is no tighter than the bandages. This means the horse can be brought off the lorry or trailer at the show and the bandages stay in place until he has been worked in.
Treat your first few shows as schooling outings and ride him around the quieter parts of the showground to get him used to the sights and sounds. You might want to find a quiet corner where you can lunge him for a few minutes before getting on.
Once he’s settled, you can remove the bandages and, if necessary, replace them with boots you need for the competition.