I took my horse, Finley, to his first multi-day dressage show mid-October. We spent four days surrounded by beautiful fall foliage in Connecticut.
This show was nice in that it had a schooling show on Friday with the recognized competition on Saturday and Sunday, so Finley had plenty of time to get used to the show grounds and the atmosphere.
Because this was Finley’s first extended adventure away from home, I was a little unsure how he was going to handle the whole experience. Happily, he was amazing! Not only was he very relaxed but he performed like a champ! In addition to winning three of our classes and getting second in the other one, my two friends and I won the Adult Amateur Team Championships that weekend!
When packing for this trip I really wanted to make sure Finley felt as home as possible at the show. Here are a few things I made sure to bring with us for the weekend:
1. SmartShip & Show Paste: I was sure to give Finley a tube of SmartShip & Show Paste the day we left for the show and on the last day before we headed back home. Finley has been trailered a bunch of times this summer to local shows, but heading to Connecticut would be his longest journey so far. I wanted to do everything I could to help him best handle the stress of traveling. SmartShip & Paste was the perfect way to provide extra support because it provides probiotics and prebiotics for digestive health, plus electrolytes and antioxidants.
2. Small Hole Hay Net: Finley loves his small hole hay net at home so how could I not bring it with us?! The small holes help to imitate the “trickle feeding” that is similar to horses’ natural tendencies. It also helped to distract him when his neighbors left the stabling to be ridden, keeping his stress level a lot lower.
3. Loop-de-loos and Stall Guard: Finley is a social guy and loves to be able to look out his stall and see what’s up. Because of this, if we’re in the stabling area and I can keep an eye on him, I like to be able to hang up a stall guard so he can stick his head out. The Loop-de-loos make it so easy to hang up the stall guard! They work as a great replacement for pretty much everything I used to use hay string for: hanging water and grain buckets, small fans and more! You can adjust their length by wrapping them more or fewer times around the stall bars and you will be good to go!
4. Supplements: I ALWAYS make sure to bring Finley’s usual supplements along when we go anywhere overnight. One of the great things about the SmartPaks system is how easy it is to just grab exactly the number of strips you need while you’re away. You don’t have to worry about measuring out supplements into baggies and labeling them or worse, toting around buckets of supplements that eat up limited space in your trailer or the stabling area.
5. Treats: I would be remiss if I didn’t include Finley’s #1 must-have – horse treats! In addition to bringing a bag of carrots, I like to bring a bag of his current favorite treats. These days he’s loving the Mint Enjoy Yums. What I love most about Enjoy Yums are their simple, recognizable ingredients. Finley loves to gobble them up!
What are your must-haves to keep your horse happy during your adventures away from home?