Looking to Windsor and Preparing for Overnight ShowsMay 3, 2019 2:11 pm
Posted in Jayne Ross
With Royal Windsor Horse Show this year taking place from 8th – 12th May, Jayne Ross and her team have been flat out preparing for their first multiple day event of the 2019 season. Here, Jayne explains how best to prepare for larger shows and the measures you should take to ensure a secure, safe and successful event for you and your horses.
“Royal Windsor is our first big outdoor show and whilst every event – no matter how large or small – is important, this one marks the start of our main campaign for the season. Before moving yards in October last year, Royal Windsor was my ‘local’ show and I will always think of it with affection. Given it is held in the Queen’s grounds and Her Majesty is the show’s Patron, it does of course hold a unique atmosphere and is therefore treated with much respect.
Using smaller events throughout March and April to iron out any problems we have encountered, has been our tried and tested method for many years and a practice that is invaluable for the young horses to prepare for the bigger shows. Due to the sheer number of classes we will compete in, we ensure that exercise and maintenance routines are planned around each horse’s entered class,. Royal Windsor is an event where horses are likely encounter a variety of strange sights, such as carriages and military displays that can be very spooky. It is a good idea to leave plenty of time to get from the horse boxes to the rings so that you can take avoiding action if needed, and so that you have time to settle your horse before you go in the ring. Despite the scale of Windsor, it has a unique garden party feel to it and I’m sure the horses know that they are in the presence of royalty when competing here! It has a really magical feel to it.
I prefer to travel early and do shows in a day if possible, often returning each day when necessary, but sometimes this is not practical. So when it comes to staying away, a great amount of planning and detail is needed and no stone should be left unturned. Feeling confident that you have done everything you can to prepare before a larger show can take the worry out of such events and make the difference between triumph or misfortune. If you’re staying overnight for the first time, there are some essentials to remember when embarking on your trip. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, fail to prepare, prepare to fail, and no matter how much or little experience you have with overnight events, this rule applies to all. Ensure you compile a checklist of everything both you and your horses will need for the duration of your stay, ticking items off as you pack the lorry. It sounds obvious, but don’t forget your horses’ passports. It is illegal to travel without them and given the current focus on biosecurity measures, ensure all documentation and injections are up-to-date. As always, remember to have six-month booster jabs and make sure these are done a week or more in advance of your show.
In this respect, I do not believe in such a thing as being over-cautious, and its far better to be safe, than sorry. When staying in ‘unfamiliar’ surroundings and busy environments, take necessary steps to provide a safe, clean space for your horse. Always take your own water and feed buckets, plus hay managers or nets, along with your own hay and feed. Aside from the hygiene side of things, you do not want to alter your horse’s feeding programme using a different brand or substitute. Never use equipment provided by shows as no matter how clean they may appear, you can never guarantee what they have come into contact with before your horse does. If the stables are permanent structures, rather than temporary ones built for that specific event, remember to wipe down fixed mangers and bars with disinfectant.
Check if bedding is provided if you have booked stabling at your show – and if you are required to use shavings or straw. However, if you have the space to allow, I would well-advise to take your own, for two reasons. Firstly, to avoid cross-contamination and secondly, to avoid costly prices by buying on-site. Temporary stables are often erected on uneven or stony ground, so we always give the horses a generous bed in order that they are comfortable and crucially, don’t hurt themselves. If your horse is prone to getting cast, remember to take your anti-cast roller as it is even more likely to happen when staying away and therefore you must check them regularly. You will also need to provide your own mucking out equipment and an old-fashioned muck sheet instead of a wheelbarrow will save valuable lorry space. Always pack spares if space allows. Take extra rugs as you never know what the weather is going to do, and spare turnout rugs as some temporary stables can be leaky. With that in mind, it’s always a good idea to check the forecast ahead of the show.
Preparing as fully as you can for your first big event of the season is critical to ensure your days run as effortlessly and effectively as possible. You are in the presence of her Majesty after all!
Jayne’s Overnight Show Essentials
Horseman’s One Step is perfect for maintaining beautiful tack whilst at shows and is perfect for storing on the lorry due to its size. We always keep several pots on board.
It goes without saying that ShowSheen Hair Polish and Detangler is an absolute essential whilst away at shows. It helps with our grooming routine as it repels dust and shavings from their coats, manes and tails and helps to add that extra dazzle before we go into the ring. It’s very good for applying precise quarter marks too.