Horse Showing

Healthy Horse Showing, Part 1

April 15, 2015

Help your horse avoid the dreaded horse-show crud with these horse-health tips.

Keep your horse warm and snug at shows in a blanket. Abigail Boatwright photo

Keep your horse warm and snug at shows in a blanket. Abigail Boatwright photo

By Abigail Boatwright in The American Quarter Horse Journal

Our horses are incredible athletes. When show season rolls around, you want to ensure that your horses are able to compete to the best of their abilities. An infection or injury can sideline your horse before you even show. What can you do to reduce chances of illness or injury at major shows? These experts weigh in.

Prevention at Home

Long before they arrive at a championship show, these trainers begin a health regimen for their horses. AQHA Professional Horseman and Team Wrangler member Keith Miller, an all-around trainer, works alongside a veterinarian and farrier to keep the horses on a regular schedule for vaccinations and hoof care. He also schedules Adequan injections for joint health as needed.

“We make sure to take a sound and healthy horse to the horse show,” Keith says.

Cow horse trainer Jake Telford begins by feeding his horses top-quality feed and supplements prior to show season.

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“We keep a good eye on our horses’ body condition and their health leading up to the major shows,” Jake says. “If you get there and try to worry about it, it’s too late. A good feed program and vaccination schedule is paramount. You need to do these things ahead of time to help support a good immune system.”

Blanket Up

Especially in chilly weather or air-conditioned areas, you’ll want to cover your horse with a cooler before and after riding and baths.

Jake often shows horses at futurities where the stalls can be cold and the arena warm. He ensures that his horses don’t get chilled by throwing a cooler over them between saddling and riding, and after riding and bathing.

“We pack an abnormal amount of blankets and sheets and neck warmers and coolers,” Jake says. “We might saddle the horse and throw the cooler over him and the saddle and then head to the arena that way. When a horse is done, we might throw a cooler over him and take him back to the barn.”

Consistent Schedule

Keith encourages his horses to blow off steam and have some down time at shows like the AQHA World Championship Show by letting them run around a bit in the show ground round pens. He also makes sure his horses are properly warmed up before stressful exercising and cooled down after.

“We make sure to properly wrap legs and put poultice and standing bandages on after a hard day’s work,” Keith says.

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Dr. David Frisbie is on hand to care for horses at major shows including the All American Quarter Horse Congress and the AQHA world shows. He advises sticking to a routine with feed amounts and times, water and exercise to reduce incidents of colic, stress and dehydration.

Soften the Surroundings

Make sure to use plenty of shavings on hard show-stall floors to reduce soft-tissue soreness.

The most common injuries Dr. Frisbie sees at shows include soft-tissue soreness or trauma, suspensory ligament injuries and ankle injuries. To prevent these types of injuries, he recommends bedding stalls with plenty of shavings and stall mats, if possible. He also suggests watching your horse carefully while it is being longed, as the ground might be a bit uneven, which can lead to strains.

“Taking extra care in those situations – such as lunging - is probably going to decrease the greatest number of problems,” Dr. Frisbie says.

Post exercise, he suggests icing your horses’ legs to reduce soreness.

Stay tuned to America’s Horse Daily for Part 2 of Healthy Horse Showing.

Improve Your Horse Show Diet, Part 2

April 1, 2015

Packing nutritious foods to eat at horse shows is easier than you think. Here’s how to stay healthy.

Packing a horse show snack bag will keep you from racing to the concession stand for unhealthy food like nachos. Abigail Boatwright photo

Packing a horse show snack bag will keep you from racing to the concession stand for unhealthy food like nachos. Abigail Boatwright photo

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

Horse showing involves non-stop days of bathing horses, braiding or banding, warming up in the arena and rushing to change between classes. This doesn’t leave much time to sit down and eat a healthy meal. Part 1 of Improve Your Horse Show Diet outlined the importance of breakfast and interval eating to maintain your energy level. In Part 2, we’ll discuss how to pack healthy foods and ways to eat smart at horse shows.

Pack Healthy Snacks

At the very least, you should pack healthy snacks to keep at your tack stall. Registered dietitian and all-around amateur competitor Christine Sceets recommends cheese sticks, peanuts, cheese and crackers, protein bars, oranges, bananas and peanut butter to help you avoid the temptation to raid the concession stand. Read the rest of this entry »

Preparing for Your First Horse Show

March 25, 2015

A youth’s first horse-showing experience can be fun, exciting and nerve-wracking. Take Me Riding walks kids through the big day.

Take Me Riding videos feature a young rider named Grace who teaches children what to expect at their first horse show.

Take Me Riding videos feature a young rider named Grace who teaches children what to expect at their first horse show.

By Annise Montplaisir for America’s Horse Daily

Showing horses opens up an entirely new world of learning opportunities for horse- crazy kids. It provides children with a chance to strengthen the bond with their horse, perform in front of an audience and learn the importance of sportsmanship.

Take Me Riding is a website developed to educate children about the wonderful learning experiences and fantastic opportunities that are Read the rest of this entry »

Improve Your Horse Show Diet, Part 1

March 11, 2015

Horse showing takes a lot of energy. Eat right to keep yourself fueled for success.

Eating healthy at horse shows will give you the energy you need to ride your best. Abigail Boatwright photo

Eating healthy at horse shows will give you the energy you need to ride your best. Abigail Boatwright photo

By Abigail Boatwright in The American Quarter Horse Journal

Let’s talk about horse show food.

If you’re like many competitors, you wake up long before dawn and skip breakfast on your way to the show grounds. You grab a cinnamon roll from the concession stand when your stomach reminds you it’s 10 a.m. After riding through lunch, you might pick up a plate of nachos and a soda to tide you over through an afternoon of classes. By the time you bed your horse Read the rest of this entry »

The Unpredictable Champion, Part 2

March 4, 2015

Horse-showing star Silky Socks becomes a champion with his young rider.

Lindy Thompson and Silky Socks sail over a fence. Harold Campton photo

Lindy Thompson and Silky Socks sail over a fence. Harold Campton photo

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

In Part 1 of “The Unpredictable Champion,” you read about Silky Socks, an American Quarter Horse with a curious personality and exceptional talent. We left off where Silky Socks was sold to the family of a young girl named Lindy Thompson.

The magic between “Silky” and Lindy was near-instantaneous.

Jan Thompson, then of Plymouth, Michigan, purchased Silky for her daughter Lindy. “He was a project, he really was,” Jan says. “He was super Read the rest of this entry »

The Unpredictable Champion, Part 1

February 11, 2015

Unlikely horse-showing star Silky Socks became a world champion in 1974.

Silky Socks was supposed to be a rope horse, but he was the first amateur world champion in hunter under saddle with Jan Thompson. Journal file photo

Silky Socks was supposed to be a rope horse, but he was the first amateur world champion in hunter under saddle with Jan Thompson. Journal file photo

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

Silky Socks was supposed to be a rope horse. But the 1974 amateur world champion grew too tall for the liking of ropers at the time, and he found a path to the AQHA World Championship Show a different way, in a saddle that didn’t have a double rigging.

The single-socked gelding with a giant trunk of personal baggage became a world-class hunter horse, remembers Colleen Miller of DeWitt, Michigan. Read the rest of this entry »

10 Horse-Showing Tips

February 4, 2015

Try these 10 easy tips before you and your American Quarter Horse load up for your next AQHA show.

Bring your A-game to the next AQHA horse show with these tips. Journal photo

Bring your A-game to the next AQHA horse show with these tips. Journal photo

By Tara Matsler in The American Quarter Horse Journal

Horse-show competitors have a lot to juggle. From the grooming and prep, warm-up and time in the show pen, it’s quite a full plate.

I’m always on the lookout for tips and tricks to make my life simpler yet at the same time enhance my horse-show experiences with my mares. With that in mind, I gathered up some of my favorite horse-showing tips. Read the rest of this entry »

Horse-Showing Goals for the New Year

January 21, 2015

We asked you to tell us your horse-showing goals for 2015. Here’s what you had to say.

Whether your ambitions are big or small, setting goals for you and your horse is a great way to start the upcoming show season. Photo courtesy of Tagxego

Whether your ambitions are big or small, setting goals for you and your horse is a great way to start the upcoming show season. Photo courtesy of Tagxego

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

The turn of the year means a new show season is approaching. While many see the New Year as a chance to start fresh, it can actually be an opportunity to continue growing and build off the hard work you put in last year.

Setting goals is a fantastic way to look ahead to the end of 2015 and envision where you would like to see yourself and your horse. Maybe you really Read the rest of this entry »

Maintaining Your Halter Horse’s Peak, Part 2

January 14, 2015

Last week, you learned about bringing your horse to his peak; now let’s talk about the importance of giving him time to be a horse.

turned out horse

AQHA Professional Horseman Luke Castle says that giving a horse time to relax and “just let him be a horse” helps the horse come back stronger when you put him back in a program. Journal photo

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

AQHA Professional Horseman Luke Castle of Wayne, Oklahoma, says a horse cannot be expected to always be at his peak. Eventually, the horse has to be given a break or the horse will take one himself, so you have to know when to “back off.” We continue this series by asking Luke:

When you say back off, what does that look like?

There are two different ways that we do it: Read the rest of this entry »

Maintaining Your Halter Horse’s Peak, Part 1

January 7, 2015

How do you keep your halter horse at the top of his game, big show after big show?

evaluating horse

“When we’re pushing toward a horse’s peak, I try to get an overall look at my horse twice a week, at least, on Monday or Tuesday and again on Friday,” says AQHA Professional Horseman Luke Castle. Journal photo

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

“When you say a halter horse is at his ‘peak,’ it means he’s 100 percent fit in his body and mind, in tune and at the top of his game,” says AQHA Professional Horseman Luke Castle of Wayne, Oklahoma. “It means peak performance in the way a horse looks and shows, physically and mentally.”

Maintaining that look is especially tricky when you have to get a horse through several big shows in a row, each requiring that peak performance. The Journal asked Luke for his advice on maintaining that peak. Here’s what he had to say. Read the rest of this entry »

Don’t Hibernate When It Comes to Horse Health

December 17, 2014

Answer these questions to see whether you’ll be ready for horse-showing season this spring.

horse competing in trail

Stay on top of your horse’s wellness for the upcoming horse-show season by planning ahead for spring vaccinations. Journal photo

From AQHA Corporate Partner Zoetis

Long winter days offer plenty of time to think about getting a leg up on the competition this spring. Make your horse’s health and wellness a priority. Get started by scheduling a spring examination now.

Dr. Nathan Voris, DVM, MBA, area veterinarian, Equine Technical Services with Zoetis, suggests planning ahead for spring vaccinations.

“Before spring training, shows and competitions ramp up, it’s time to address the wellness of your horse,” Dr. Voris said. “Horse owners can take simple steps to ensure animals are looking and feeling their best with a visit to a local veterinarian.” Read the rest of this entry »

Protect Your Horse-Showing Investment With Proper Leather Care

December 10, 2014

You invest a lot into your horse-showing equipment, so make sure it’s well cared for with these tips from AQHA Corporate Partner Farnam.

horse show saddle

Caring for your expensive leather is easy with these tips from Farnam. Journal photo

By Cynthia McFarland for Farnam

It’s not unusual for a high-quality, well-made saddle to cost more than the horse toting it. With the investment you’ve made in your leather tack, it only makes sense to take proper care of it.

It’s not just about looks. Safety is also paramount. Damaged or worn leather can break at the most inopportune moments, potentially putting you and your horse in a dangerous situation. Smart horsemen will pay as much attention to the condition of tack and equipment as to the health and well being of their equine partners.

Read the rest of this entry »