“Winning” is what all who compete focus on. We want to win. We work to win. We love to win. Even our Arabian horses enjoy winning! Let’s take a look at preparing for a winning ride and what it takes to get there.
Are You Preparing to Win?
By Leigh Meyer, October 2, 2018
“Winning” is what all who compete focus on. We want to win. We work to win. We love to win. Let’s take a look at preparing for a winning ride and what it takes to get there.
A winning program begins with good nutrition. Premium hay should be your first nutritional expense. It has been our experience that getting the best hay we can possibly afford always saves money. We feed less concentrate, need fewer supplements (if any), have better coats, better hooves and we have fewer vet bills due to colic. Make sure your horse is getting the best feed for his metabolism and job and keep sugars and carbs to a minimum.
No matter how well you and your horse perform or place in your class, you should look like you’re there to win and win big! Good grooming is essential in the Arabian show horse Arena.
1. HOOF - The grooming program here at Rhapsody in Blue starts with picking out feet. No hoof, no horse. Finding a bruise, abscess, rock or bent shoe BEFORE your ride can make all the difference in your workouts. Even though your horse may not be showing lameness, he may be uncomfortable and not performing as he should if there was a problem you didn't see because you didn't clean out his feet. And, don’t make the mistake of punishing a horse for misbehaving when he’s actually really uncomfortable…something you could have taken care of before the work.
2. BODY/LEGS/FACE – My Five Brush System:
a. RUBBER CURRY – beginning behind the ears, work toward the rear of the horse vigorously rub against the growth of the hair, typically, in a circular motion. Rough up the coat and let it be messy with all the loose debris coming to the surface. The curry loosens dirt and dead hair and also massages the skin stimulating blood flow. The skin is the largest organ of the horse’s body and good blood flow will promote a healthy, shiny coat. Using the rubber curry also gives you your first chance to inspect your horse for sore muscles and/or injuries as well as assess his attitude that day. Finding a sore place or a testy attitude can give you valuable insight in planning and evaluating your work. NOTE: When using the rubber curry, use carefully or do not use on protruding bones such as the hip bones, shoulder bones or legs. It is meant for large muscled areas. This could be very uncomfortable for the horse.
b. RICE BRUSH – starting right behind the ears, begin sweeping in short, flicking motions in the direction of hair growth. Much like sweeping a floor, you want to move as much of the dirt loosened by the rubber curry into a “pile” at the rear of the horse that can be swept off as you finish this step. This brush can be used on your horse’s legs to begin getting them clean and, again, stimulating that all important blood flow. Because the RICE brush has the largest bristles of the brushes we use, it is going to be moving the larger pieces of debris from your horse’s coat. Don’t worry about dirt being left behind. We will get all of it with our following brushes. Remember, this brush is moving the larger pieces of dirt.
c. MEDIUM (DANDY) BRUSH – The medium brush is not nearly as hard as the stiff brush, but still not soft enough to be used on tender places of the horse’s body. It can be used vigorously on the body and legs, but gently on his face and in between his legs. When you feel the bristles of the Medium brush, they should have a little more “give” than the stiff brush and each bristle will be narrower in diameter. Again, start behind the ears and work in a sweeping/flicking motion toward the rear of the horse, under his belly and down his legs. This brush will begin removing the dirt and hair the stiff brush left behind and you’ll begin to have glimpses of your coat shine.
d. SOFT BRUSH – This brush is typically made of horse or goat hair and is, typically, a final polishing brush. It can have shorter bristles and is used like the other brushes beginning behind the ears and working to the rear of the horse, under the belly and down the legs. The fine, closely woven bristles move the almost imperceptible dirt, dust and dander leaving your horse shining! This brush can be used vigorously on his face, being sure to sweep away all the dirt, hair and debris it dislodges.
e. CACTUS COTH – The cactus cloth is one of the most useful grooming tools you can keep in your groom bag. It can remove sweat marks and mud, but it also can give your horse an extra final shine after using your brushes. Starting behind the ears as before, rub your horse toward his tail polishing the last bit of debris off. (The cactus cloth is also great to use when bathing your horse. It loosens dirt and hair, but especially helps in the shampoo/conditioner.
3. MANE & TAIL – My personal preference is to use a very wide toothed comb from a hair supply store like Sally’s. Start at the end of the tail and work up toward the dock being careful to not break hairs. Once all your tangles are out, the medium brush, or a mane and tail brush, can be used on the dock to remove dirt and debris from it and stimulate the blood flow. We wash our tails once a month and keep them braided up, secured with bandaging tape such as Guard-Tex or stuffed inside a tail bag or tube sock.
There you go! Do this every time before you ride and you will look like you are ready to win in the show ring. Make sure to use at least your hoof pick and medium body brush after your ride. This gives you a post ride inspection as well as removes any sweat and/or new dirt before you put him away.
Begin preparing to win with good nutrition and be sure to groom your horse well to bring out that show ring shine!
Happy Grooming! Happy Winning!