Aim to look professional, tidy and workmanlike.
Footwear – Adults long leather boots. (leather short boots and gaiters may be permitted, check rules of class). Adults cannot show in short boots only. Children under 12, short boots with jod clips. Children over 12, as per adults. Have your groom wipe your boots before you go in!
- Using cold water
You wouldn’t wash your own hair in cold water! Using warm water will allow your shampoos and products to lather much better. It also feels more pleasant for the horse. Mix your shampoo into warm water in a bucket and lather up and apply with a sponge or soft cloth
Confession time – I am a grooming product junkie and I have grooming OCD. If I brush my own hair once a day it is a miracle but if a horse has one plait skew ways I start twitching. I get excited by new sprays and lotions and potions. I have a special love for old style wood and bristle brushes. While spending €50 – 70 on some grooming brushes might seem madness to some, well that’s how I feel about others spending it on heels or Jaeger bombs. I believe in the French concept of cost per use / wear and try to embrace that when buying quality products.
It is almost time for the annual riding clubs festival. Times have been issued, weather apps are being consulted, child of prague statues are being plonked out on doorsteps, plans are being made and lists are being written.
You can check out what I learned at last year’s festival here. In the meantime, considering I have been going to the festival for a long as I have been in riding club I figured it made sense to compile a list of survival tips for newbies and first timers…..
- Past years would suggest that the weather will always be either scorching hot or lashing rain. This means you should be optimistic and pack shorts, suncream and sunglasses, lots of water and fly repellent. This also means you should be realistic and pack water proof trousers, a change of clothing, a waterproof sheet for your horse, wellies and anything waterproof you own.
How make up is never really ‘stay all day’ or ‘budge proof’ unless it doesn’t rub off your forehead after wearing a hat and can withstand twelve hours of mud, wind and lashing rain. Extra marks if it stays on after you get a branch to the face on a hunt.
Having no sympathy for someone who broke a nail or got a paper cut. Sure that’s nothing compared to landing head first into a pole or ditch or being lifted off the ground by an animal several times your size. Suck it up.
Being reasonably sober after many generous slugs of god knows what from several hip flasks yet absolutely hammered after one bottle of beer.
“Ah sure one horse is more than enough for me”
“I was too busy cleaning the house to go up to the horse”
“Why would I need more than one habit I can only wear one at a time anyway”
It really only dawned on me the other day. I’d been told the horse had been shod and had just nodded my head in acknowledgemnt that it had to be paid for (for the sake of not giving the non-horsey readers a heart attack I won’t say how much horse shoes cost but lets just say if you paid this much for your own shoes and had to throw them away after 6-8 weeks of wear – you would be p*ssed). Yet here I was in Penneys almost doing cartwheels at finding a pair of flats for €9 that would stay within budget and might make me look like an expensive lady for all of five minutes. If the horses loses a shoe – it is replaced and paid for no questions asked. If I lose a shoe – well actually thanks to the government practically taxing breathing the tragedy is I can no longer afford to go out and get drunk enough to lose a shoe anywhere. It has dawned on me – if this was Downton Abbey the horse would be the lady of the manor and I would be the upper class British equivalent of Cinderella.
-The quickest way to get a horse to roll is to wash him
-There is no easy way to wash a horse’s mane without ending up with more water and shampoo on yourself than on the horse