My Thoroughbred hunter and I were in beautiful Birds Hill Park this past weekend for a horse show. The weather in Winnipeg was miserable, but in the park, the rain held off during my ride times and the footing on course remained safe. The show grounds in the park are owned and managed by our provincial riding organization, Manitoba Horse Council. It is an absolutely wonderful place to show a hunter – big green fields dotted with wild flowers and surrounded by mature trees. You can almost hear the horses sigh when they step off the trailer; they love the place as much as we do.
Moe and I competed in three divisions: Open 2’3″ hunters, Junior/Amateur Evergreen hunter (2’6″) and Junior/Amateur 2’9″ hunter. Each division comprises a standard hunter round, an under saddle (a hack class on the flat) and a handy hunter round. Handy hunter courses comprise bending lines, broken lines and roll backs – they’re designed to test the horse and rider’s handiness at navigating a twisty hunter course. Moe powered through a long warm-up ride on Friday, three hunter rounds on Saturday, and three under saddle classes and three handy hunter courses on Sunday. We did extremely well, earning some excellent placings against talented horses and even winning the high-point award for our 2’6″ division.
My tack trunk is flush with Dominion Vet Labs products, and I put them to good use this past weekend. I had a run in with dehydration at a schooling show in February. This time, I coaxed Moe to drink a few litres of water containing Quench Lyte after every workout. He wasn’t particularly fond of its fruit punch flavour, but if plain water wasn’t available, he would drink it without too much fuss. I read that when horses drink electrolyte water after rigorous activity, they will consume more plain water later. Sure enough, Moe drank gallons and gallons of plain water over the weekend.
I also diluted some 3-in-1 liniment in a pail of water and gave Moe a quick sponge bath on Saturday evening. The water out at the park is drawn from a well, and it’s cold enough to make even seasoned school horses throw a fit in the wash rack. I used a small sponge to apply the liniment solution to Moe’s neck, chest, back, haunches and legs – I didn’t soak him, I just dampened the hair. He didn’t fuss about the temperature of the water, and he even seemed to enjoy the sponge bath. On Sunday morning, he appeared rested and alert with no signs of muscle stiffness.
I’m back at Birds Hill Park for another Equine Canada Silver show at at the end of June. Horse shows always give me a good sense of what I need to improve, and my coach already has our lessons planned for the next four weeks. I’m already excited to get out on the hunter course in June.
Do you compete with your horse? What does your horse care routine look like when you’re on the road?