Horse Wear for Eventing
Anyone who has ever owned a horse will know that they always end up with a wardrobe at least twice the size of their owner’s with rugs for every possible weather condition and enough saddlecloths to wear a different one each day for about a month, but what specific items do they need for going Eventing? True to form, it’s rather a long list….
Equipment for travelling your horse
You should have a selection of rugs so you can pick the most suitable one dependent on the weather conditions and temperature. In winter (or even sometimes in spring or summer!) you will need a good thick rug but ideally one that also wicks away sweat so that your horse does not get a chill. For slightly warmer days a lighter rug, e.g. a fleece, will be ideal so long as you pick one that is breathable. On very hot days, a thin anti-sweat rug will be enough just to offer light protection but without over-heating the horse in the lorry.
Protection for the horse’s legs during transport is down to personal preference – either bare legs, bandages or boots. I use the Mark Todd Travel Boots although on very hot days I might choose to leave the legs bare to prevent overheating.
My essential item for travelling though is a tail guard which has a bag attached to it. The Woof Wear Tail Bag is a firm favourite of mine and great value. The beauty about a tail guard with a bag is that it will ensure the whole tail is covered and protected from getting messy from any droppings, plus it’s also quicker to put on and remove than a tail bandage. It’s normally the first thing I put on in the morning when getting ready to leave and the last thing to come off before the horse comes off the lorry.
A leather headcollar is another essential; nylon ones won’t break as easily if the horse gets caught on anything which can cause serious injury.
Horse wear for warming up and competing
For warming up and competing protection is obviously key and because the protection required for each discipline is different, different boots are required for dressage, cross country and showjumping. Having said that I don’t always wear boots to warm up for the dressage at a One Day Event simply because I don’t always have someone to take them off for me! So before putting any boots on for warming up in the dressage, ensure someone’s around to take them off or even better is around to remind you that they need to be taken off as you’ll be ‘in the zone’. I do wear boots for warming up for the dressage at a Three Day Event. I particularly like the Equilibrium Tri Zone Brushing Boots which are lightweight and breathable so they don’t heat the horse’s legs.
I normally use LeMieux Lambskin Wrap Round Over Reach Boots as well – in white of course to channel my inner Charlotte Dujardin!! For showjumping I use the Woof Wear Smart Tendon Boot and Woof Wear Smart Fetlock Boot which have vents to allow airflow and help prevent heating up the legs Can you spot the theme developing yet?!. I team them with Equilibrium Tri Zone Over Reach Boots which I like for jumping as they are short and therefore it is less likely that the horse will catch the back of them which could cause a fall. I use these for the cross-country phase as well but swap my tendon and fetlock boots for the Woof Wear Smart Event Boot Front Boots. These boots are great as they are lightweight but offer great protection and don’t hold water, so they don’t get heavy after splashing through the water jump which can cause them to slip. For added protection I secure my boots with bandage tape – in blue of course to match my colours – and add grease to the legs to help them slide over any fences in case a leg gets ‘left behind’ at any jump.
For competing I like to use the LeMieux ProSport Close Contact Numnahs or Mark Todd Saddle Pads which are smart, durable and shaped to fit my monoflap saddles perfectly. For a nice finishing touch and to keep the flies away, I use an ear bonnet. I have an HKM Ear Bonnet in navy with gold piping to match my tail coat and then I have one with silver piping to match my showjumping jacket.
Another item which is handy to have in the lorry due to the unpredictability of the British weather is an exercise sheet, for example the Mark Todd Waterproof Exercise Sheet which is fastened in front of the saddle by Velcro so can easily be removed.
In Between Phases
Again, a selection of horse rugs is essential! Your horse’s comfort is paramount so be prepared for every eventuality. Layers are the best idea as you can always double up with rugs if it is particularly cold – just make sure they are breathable. If you have lots of time between phases then you might decide to hand walk your horse for some grass – a lunge line can be a useful item for excitable horses!
Back at the Lorry and Travelling Home
On completion of the cross-country phase it is important to get your horse cooled down as quickly as possible – this means getting the tack and boots off straight away and washing down with sponges then scraping the water off and repeating again if necessary. As soon as possible I like to apply ‘cool boots’ to the legs – these are special boots which have been soaked in cold water (and ice if it is particularly hot) to activate them. They should be left on for 20 minutes to help rapidly cool the tendons. Woof Wear Ice Therapy Boots are ideal. After removal of the cool boots I apply bandages for the journey home. The Mark Todd Leg Wraps are ideal for use under bandages, and I prefer to the LeMieux Luxury Polo Bandages.
Again, pick the most suitable rug for the weather conditions. I normally use the wick-dri cooler with another wicking rug on top if necessary. Remember to change to a dry rug for travelling home if required.
One last essential item – Polo mints! Regardless of how the event goes, always keep a supply of polo mints to hand to reward your horse for his/her efforts at the end of the day.