No matter what level you are competing at, your horse will always be your number one priority.
From a local unaffiliated dressage competition to the rigours of three-day eventing, your horse (obviously) deserves nothing less than perfection when it comes to post-competition care.
Here are some of our top tips to guide you along the way.
1. Wash down
Obviously number one on the agenda as soon as you dismount at a competition is to get your horse cooled off and comfortable. If he is particularly hot and sweaty you need to be super-prompt in getting his temperature back to where it should be. The good old-fashioned way of a bucket, sponge and a sweat scraper is arguably the best.
If your horse’s respiratory rate is heightened, it is essential that you keep your horse walking while you wash him off to aid his recovery. A prompt motion of washing, followed by sweat-scraping to prevent the water you have applied to him from becoming warm and having a detrimental effect is crucial.
Once you feel like his temperature is back to where it should be, continue walking him until his respiratory rate returns to normal. It goes without saying that if it is a cold day, you will need to put a cooler rug on your horse to prevent him from becoming cold.
If your horse has competed on hard ground or has done a large amount of work on grass it may be necessary to apply a cooling gel such as arnica and witch hazel to his legs to help soothe any soreness. (You will need to make sure that there are no cuts on his legs first). Bandaging for support can also be a good idea. Other similar gels, pastes and clay will also do the trick. Whatever you decide to apply, make sure that you thoroughly wash it off the following morning to prevent any rubs or soreness.
Make sure that your horse has access to water and electrolytes. You can add electrolytes to either his water or feed which are a great way to quickly replenish lost body salts after exercise. It is also as important as always to monitor how much water your horse has drunk as this can be an early warning sign to any problems.
As well as your normal feeding routine, you could look into feeding a supplement that supports recovery. One such as Vetrofen Healthy is designed to give everyday support to comfort and mobility in active or ageing horses. Or you could try Vetrofen Intense, which also comes in syringe form, making it ideal to take on the lorry with you if you are staying away.
5. Keep it moving
Where possible, trot your horse up upon arrival back at the yard to make sure your horse is looking sound and well. Get your horse out of the stable and moving the next day to prevent the onset of stiffness, whether it is a hack or turning him out in the field.
To learn more about our Vetrofen range of products click here. You can also read more information about the other two Lifestages that are not linked to Vetrofen; Growing and Senior, which are also designed to aid your horse through the different challenges they will face through life.