Competition Accessories for your Horse
So you think you've finally got everything to go out and compete your horse in a competition. Or have you? Remember there are things that you need for your horse as well as yourself! Sorry but your horse needs some accessories too…
When you arrive at a competition, the first thing you need to do is let the organisers know that you’ve arrived or, in equestrian speak, you need to 'declare' your arrival. In return you will be allocated a ‘number’. Your number enables the judge to identify who you are. You and/or your horse must wear the number you’re given otherwise you may be eliminated.
Recently a British Dressage rule change to Rule 147 has meant that a number needs to be visible by the judge on both sides of the horse: "All horses should/ must wear numbers on both sides of their bridle or saddle cloths". There is a 2 point penalty for failure to do this. This has meant that many affiliated competition riders have had to dash out to buy another number!
For those riders that prefer their number on their bridle, Equetech do a very smart, no fuss one where the numbers are easily attached to a velcro panel. An alternative is the Equidisc Bridle Number which is available with three or four numbers and, what's more, it's approved for use in British Dressage competitions.
If you prefer the number on your saddle pad, the Equetech Saddle Cloth Competition Numbers is just what you need. These come with a Velcro panel that can be sewn, pinned or glued to your saddle cloth.
A Saddle Pad
If you’re affiliating, most riders go for a white saddle pad. However other colours like cream or discreet dark colours are permitted. As always, the quality of Shires products can be relied on to be the best and this Shires Performance SupaFleece Dressage Saddle Cloth is no exception. Half lined with luxurious SupaFleece which looks and feels like sheepskin, it protects against sores and chaffing, increases airflow and dries quickly. If you prefer something a little cheaper and thinner, HKM do a great range of dressage saddle pads.
I think it was show jumpers who first started the trend for ear bonnets! It’s now progressed in to the world of dressage. Consequently they're extremely popular. HKM have a great range with a choice of very plain like the one on the left below or something a bit fancier like the one on the right with a bit of bling!
When you’re warming up your horse, it’s acceptable to wear brushing boots as you would as if you were schooling at home. And when at a competition, most riders tend to wear white. The brushing boot of choice for many, is Woof Wear’s basic and best-selling Club Boot. If you prefer a boot that supports the tendon as well as the fetlock, the LeMieux Snug Boots fits most horses well.
If it’s a big competition and you’re feeling confident that you’re going to be in the ribbons, most horses wear bandages for the photos and the parade. If you want the best quality, choose LeMieux's luxury polo bandages or alternatively Woof Wear offer a similar bandage.
Over Reach Boots
As with bandages, many winners who expect to be in the ribbons, tend to go the whole hog and wear overreach boots as well. So make sure you too look the part and take your best overreach boots with you. It’s white, white, white all the way I’m afraid. So go with white again to match your white boots or bandages. Once again, Le Mieux have a great selection, with or without a beautiful Merino lambskin collar!
To add a finishing touch to your plaits, use the elastic mane rings consist of three rows of glittering crystals.
If money was no object, you’d probably buy all of the above! For many riders, however, like myself, this is simply not possible. So my advice is this: start with the essentials, like the saddle pad, and then perhaps ask for the other bits for birthdays and Christmas. It’ll take time but you’ll get there in the end… like most things with horses!