1. Tidy Hair – First impressions count for a lot and there is nothing worse than seeing someone competing with untidy flyaway hair. To me having my hair neatly put up in a bun is a really important part of my competition preparation. If my hair feels messy then I don’t feel ready. Do you ever see gymnasts with wispy hair flying everywhere…no! So why should riders get away with it!
My list of equipment for tidy hair is:
3 x hair bobbles
1 x false bun
1 x hairnet
1 x hairnet with little pearls attached
1 x top scrunchie
Lots of hairgrips
Hairspray –if no hairspray then Supreme Products Easy plait works a treat!
2. Sparkly Tails – I absolutely love it when you watch a horse trotting by in the sunshine and their tail literally sparkles as it goes by. My horses have quite a product range (far more than I do) and for that perfect sparkly tail finish I use Supreme Products High Shine Shampoo, followed by Supreme Products De-Tangle and Shine. After gently combing the tail through to ensure there are no knots hiding anywhere I finish the tail with a spray of the magic product…Supreme Products Sparkle. It really does exactly what it says on the tin! This is one of my absolute favourite products and I cannot recommend it highly enough. It makes the tail look so full and it really catches the light – ideal for sunny days or under lights.
3. Hot Oil and Spray – Over the winter I really struggled with one of my horse’s coats, I just could not get a summer coat to even think about coming through. I went to visit a local showing yard to get some advice as we all know that showing yards are the experts in prising a beautiful coat out of any horse! The answer – Hot Oil!
A bucket of very warm water (not hot enough to burn you or the horse though!), a few squirts of Supreme Products Hot Oil, one car wash bobbly sponge or mit, wring out most of the water and then rub the horse all over in a circular motion. Keep refreshing your sponge and you will see the grease and dirt that you are getting out- even if you think your horse is already clean. Once the whole body is done I then have a dilute spray of either a lavender wash, or more recently eucalyptus, mixed with water which I then spray all over the body. Brush the coat flat with a nice clean brush and the job is done!
This technique is absolutely brilliant in the winter months when it is just too cold for a full shampoo, after clipping or indeed in the summer months to keep the coat gleaming. The other added bonus is that as well as cleaning your horses you are actually giving them a bit of a massage at the same time!
4. Feet – We all know the saying no foot no horse and it is for this reason that my horses’ foot care routine is critically important on a day to day basis. On a competition day it is also nice to feel like your horses’ feet look nicely manicured and finish the competition ready ‘look’.
Without the day to day care, it would be impossible to create a nice looking hoof which is why there are two fabulous products that I recommend here. On a daily basis, I use Silverfeet Natural which I absolutely swear by. It is in my mind the best foot care balm out there. It keeps feet in tip-top condition and makes them look thoroughly nourished and healthy. My farrier also comments on the brilliant quality of the hoof as well so it is clearly doing its job. On a competition day, I like to have a ‘polished’ look so I tend to use Supreme Products Clear Hoof Paint. Unlike some other products, this does not need something that resembles varnish remover to take it off after use. It does not compromise the health of the hoof so is absolutely safe to use for competition.
5. Clean boots and spurs – I remember years ago reading a column in Horse and Hound that a judge at Badminton had written and something really stuck with me. The judge mentioned that first impression really did count and they noticed things like ‘dirty boots and spurs’. From there on in I have always had that in my mind so like to make sure that they are nice and clean….just in case it is that judge I am trotting around in front of! An old pair of tights is a very useful addition to your packing list. They are great for a final polish to get rid of the dust you have collected while warming up. A quick wipe down just before you go in makes all the difference.
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