The Dublin Horse Show is fast approaching and many horses and riders are in the midst of their final preparations for the show. There is so much to try to remember in the preparations for the annual pilgrimage to Ballsbridge – so we have compiled a list of our top tips to help you make the most of your Dublin Horse Show experience.
Feeding and Supplementing
You always hear us talking about the need to keep your feed consistent. It is important to plan ahead and make sure that you have brought sufficient feed with you while at the Dublin Horse Show. A great way to do this is to use a weighing scales to calculate how much feed you are currently feeding, and from there work out how much you will need to have with you.
Try to think ahead. If you have a horse that tends to go off their feed in busy environments, you may consider using Connolly’s RED MILLS Comfort Mash. Comfort Mash is a nutritionally balanced mash that is specially formulated to support appetite, balanced nutrient intake, hydration and gut motility. It is high in easily digestible fibres and contains electrolytes alongside the RED MILLS Pro Balance Vitamin & Mineral and is a really palatable feed. Similarly, Foran Equine’s B-Complete combines B vitamins and an added Prebiotic to support your horse’s digestive health and appetite. It may help to split up their daily ration and feed little and often across the day.
If you are struggling with maintaining your horses condition in the run up to The RDS Dublin Horse Show, it may be helpful to incorporate Connolly’s RED MILLS Define & Shine into your horses diet. This is a high calorie pellet that is rich in key amino acids and omega-3 oils that is formulated to promote extra condition and muscle definition and is fed in small volumes so can help keep meal sizes small.
Forage will be available at the show, but if you have a fussy eater it can be helpful to bring some from home. Also – make sure to pack feed buckets, hay nets etc that you will need.
Make changes gradually – if your horse’s workload has increased in the run up to the Dublin Horse Show, you may need to reassess their dietary needs. Any changes to the diet should be made gradually and if adding a new supplement, this should be done well in advance of the show rather than a day or two beforehand. This allows time for the horse’s digestive system to adjust, and to allow it to take effect.
Hydration and Recovery
Bring a big water bucket for your horses stable, but also bring a smaller one so that you can top up their water regularly. Your horse will naturally be suspicious of new water sources so make sure to keep an eye on how much water they are drinking. Adding extra water to Comfort Mash can be a great way to get them to drink more water.
Travelling to the Show
Travelling can be stressful for some horses. Using a Nutri-Calm syringe before your journey may be helpful for horses who don’t travel well. The syringe may help them to stay focused and calm in the trailer, particularly important for horses travelling long distances.
If your horse is often tired after travelling, or you are travelling long distances, it may be helpful to give them a Pre-Fuel syringe prior to loading, which can help support their recovery. If your horse sweats up when travelling, a Re-Fuel Gel syringe once your horse is settled into their new environment can help to replenish lost electrolytes when given with fresh water. This is particularly important if your horse is a poor drinker when travelling or in new locations.
Supplementing at the Show
Pre-Fuel & Re-Fuel Gels are the ultimate combo for performance & recovery at competition – the Pre-Fuel Gel is a rapid energy paste with essential BCAAs to maximise athletic performance, by providing the muscles with hydrolysed protein to support maximum effort in the short term. Re-Fuel Gel is a concentrated electrolyte gel with added B-vitamins and antioxidants for optimum recovery after athletic effort and sweating. B-vitamins help to maintain appetite and vitamins C & E are powerful antioxidants to aid muscle recovery.
Nutri-Calm syringes are an ideal option for horses who are relaxed in their own environment, but who can get stressed or unfocused in big atmospheres. Nutri-Calm can help your horse to stay focused on the task at hand and keep their concentration on you, not the atmosphere around them.
Show Ring Shine
Dublin Horse Show is probably the biggest stage that many of us will ever get to compete on and correct turnout is not only essential, but will help you and your horse look and feel your best. You don’t want to be running around in a panic because your horse has gotten a stable stain on its’ one white sock or pulled out its plaits. Again, the answer to this is preparation. Make out your list of what you need and include everything – your stool for plaiting, your stud kit, clean brushes, clean sponges etc.
Make a list of the products you plan to use and ensure you have enough of each to cover the show. There are some essentials such as Carr & Day & Martin’s Dreamcoat for plaiting, quarter marks and shine, and Stainmaster for those last minute stable stains and Gallop Colour Enhancing Shampoos for *THE* final wash.
If showing, you will also have to consider what you are going to bring into the ring in your basket. Turnout in the ring for grooms is just as important and is part of the Dublin Horse Show tradition. Dress code is important. Grooms cannot wear jeans and must wear a hat. Once the first line up has been selected, grooms will be invited by the stewards to enter the ring.
Tack and Tack Room
It is important to ensure that your tack is kept safe and secure while you are at the show. Ensure that you have packed the essentials such as a padlock for your locker, spare keys in case your original keys are misplaced and a lanyard to have your keys handy at all times.
It is important to check your tack to ensure it is ready for use across the week and that everything that you plan to use for the week is cleaned, including exercise tack. Our Carr & Day & Martin Belvoir Step 1 & 2 Tack Cleaner Sprays are ideal for this, and our Carr & Day & Martin Belvoir Tack Cleaner Mitts are great for those last minute touch ups. It sounds obvious, but make sure you note which holes each element of your bridle is on, that your bit is reattached the correct way and check the stitching on all tack, especially stirrup leathers and girths. The last thing you want is to realise something is wrong at the show and have to scramble to fix it.
You will need to have your competitor number clearly displayed on both you and your horse whenever you are are out of the stable. An easy way to attach the number to your browband is, before you put the bridle on the horse, place a piece of card behind your browband, staple your number to it and trim the outline to ensure it looks neat and tidy.
Similarly, we all pray for fantastic weather for Dublin week, but the joys of the Irish summer, is that it can’t be relied upon. You want to look neat when you are entering the ring, so you really want to avoid your number becoming wet in the rain, or grubby or torn before your class. Our recommendation is that you make a copy of your number once it arrives in the post and laminate it. This means you can keep your original number fresh for the ring, and ensure the duplicate can withstand use in rain, hail and shine.