HomeExpert AdviceArticleCompetition – the safe way

Competition – the safe way

Posted in Management

For many riders, there’s nothing better than an outing with their equine best friend – but how can you keep your day trip a safe and enjoyable experience? Let’s find out

Horse and rider competing in showjumping

Whether you want competition day to go as smoothly as possible, or you’re hoping to get the best from your next lesson, leaving the yard should be a seamless operation. However, as every horse owner knows, things don’t always go to plan. Even if you don’t come home with a rosette or manage to perfect that tricky new movement you’ve been trying, the most important thing is that you and your horse make it home safe. Here’s how you can ensure your fun day off the yard goes off without a hitch…

  • always wear a hat that’s up to standard when handling and riding your horse when you go out and, if you’re in any doubt, a body protector and air vest never go amiss
  • check your tack before you leave to make sure everything’s safe to use and not at risk of breaking while you’re on board
  • bring plenty of spare kit just in case – headcollars, leadropes, hoof picks and numnahs can all be broken, lost or dropped in the mud, so having a spare will give you less to worry about and keep you safe
  • ensure you don’t overface your horse when you leave the yard. If he’s not super-confident about new venues yet, try not to push him too hard when you do get out and about – that’s what training’s for
  • bring a friend with a relaxed and experienced horse – ideally one that your horse knows – to give you confidence as well as an extra pair of hands should anything go awry
  • if you or your horse are inexperienced, start with low-key outings, such as arena hire or a small group lesson, to build your experience and confidence. Throwing yourselves in at the deep end will only end in a frustrating day for you both
  • do as much homework from your yard as possible – ensure your horse is well-mannered on the ground, good to load and mount and settled around other horses. This will all make your outing a more straightforward experience
  • take your instructor with you for early outings or visits to new venues to give you an experienced set of hands to keep you on the straight and narrow

With a little preparation, there’s no reason you won’t have a hugely successful outing. Safety should be the priority, so always take the time you need to give you and your horse every chance of success.

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