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Issue 3 Competitive Edge

De-sensitizing your horse h


Stephanie Jensen

Safe Trailering Tips




Contents 03

In the Loop




On the Go


Center Stage

Current & Interesting News from the Equine Industry.

Tammy Freeburn & Montea, Sarah Freeburn Photography

Your guide to safe horse trailering.

Elite Canadian Dressage Rider Stephanie Jensen


Fear Factor


Practice Makes Perfect


The Library

Quick tips to help desensitize your horse.

Horse show essentials for every level.

Hoofprints of Warriors

Editor’s Desk


appy 2013 to all our readers (new and returning). We’re back with our first full issue of the new year! Its been a bit of wait, but hopefully you enjoyed our November Special on The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. Show season can be a stressful time. Ensuring you and your horse are prepared is essential to increasing your odds of success in the ring. Whether it’s remembering to pack everything you need, or ensuring your trailer is road ready and horse safe, this issue is jam packed with tons of information to help you prepare for show season. If you’re a show professional, or new on the scene, we’ve got some great tips and tricks to ensure you’re prepared and safe in all of your horse show endeavours. This issue will also be the first to introduce our new section, Center Stage, where we get the inside scoop from some great riders and industry professionals. Our inaugural interview is with Stephanie Jensen, a Canadian Dressage rider, who you might have read about in our RAWF Special Edition feature on the 2012 Lit Dressage Quadrille. So sit back and enjoy, and don’t let those winter woes get you down! Summer is just around the corner. Thanks for reading!


Eloquent Equine Issue 3

Editor Krista Rivet Creative Director Samantha Wild

Contributors Krista Rivet, Tammy Freeburn, Sarah Freeburn, Stephanie Jensen Advertising, Submissions, & General Inquiries

Online Website: Email: Facebook: /TheEloquentEquine Twitter: @EloquentEquine

Subscriptions Free!

On the Cover A quiet moment between Tammy Freeburn and her horse Montea.

Photo: Sarah Freeburn The Eloquent Equine is a quarterly publication, producing four issues a year Reproduction of any material from this issue in whole or part is strictly prohibited The Eloquent Equine welcomes all submissions and suggestions. Please feel free to email us.

In the Loop Local News & Events

What’s coming up in the Equestrian World Anky Van Grunsven Clinic May 3-5th 2013 Iron Horse Equestrian in Burlington, ON (CAN) is hosting a 3 day clinic with Anky Van Grunsven to riders of all levels. Auditor seats are also available. For more information about the clinic in general email Dressage Symposium @ RCRA Ontario Has Talent has just announced their Dressage Symposium at The Royal Canadian Riding Academy (RCRA) on April 27-28th, 2013. The symposium will feature Olympian Ashley Holzer and FEI Judge Lorraine MacDonald. Registration is now open for Riders and Auditors. More information can be found on their website: Ontario Has Talent Ontario Has Talent also offers a wide range of clinics for Dressage riders of various levels. They will be hosting a clinic in February (24th-25th) with Olympian Belinda Trussel and Elite Rider Julie Watchorn. As well as another in March (16th-17th), with Olympian Cindy Ishoy and Elite Rider Jon Costin. All clinics take place at Stirling Hill Farm in Schomberg, ON OUEA Finals @ RCRA Ontario University Equestrian Association recently announced that they will be holding their finals atThe Royal Canadian Riding Academy (RCRA) on March 23rd. If you are interested in contributing or volunteering your time, you can find more information on their website: OUEA

Have an upcoming equestrian event or clinic, have some club news to share? Send us an email & see your news featured in the next In The Loop.

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In Warmer Climes In Other News ... NFACC Equine Code of Practice The National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC), alongside Equine Canada (EC) has been undergoing a revision of the Equine code of practice. The revision was initiated in June 2011, and the new draft code was open for public commentary from 03 December 2012 to 14 February 2013. The estimated release date for the revised code of practice is June of this year. The Codes of Practice are guidelines, developed nationally, for the care and handling of a diversity of farm animals. The code covers a wide range of topics, intended to promote the sound care and welfare of the different species. Welfare issues like housing, handling, feeding, and training, and other issues are all covered. You can find more information about the Equine Code of Practice by visiting the NFACC website. Or you can check out the EC Press Release. Racing will Continue in Ontario, for Now At the end of January, the Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG), owners of the Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto and the Mohawk Racecourse in Campbellville, came to an agreement with the Ontario Government that will allow racing to continue in 2013 and 2014. The deal will allow WEG to host thoroughbred and standarbred races at both tracks while more long term plans are negotiated. Though the future of horse racing in Ontario is still uncertain, as a result of the Government’s decision to end the Slots at Racetracks program (SARP). On January 23rd, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) issued a press release stating that it had reached lease agreements (in principle for its slots operations) with at least 10 provincial tracks. To view an official copy of the Press Release, click HERE. For more information on the Ontario Horse Racing Industry, SARP, and the proposed OMAFRA Sustainability Mode, please visit the OHRIA website, found HERE.

News from Wellington

2013 World Dressage Masters Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfven (SWE) and Don Auriello took the prize at the 2013 World Dressage Masters (WDM) CDI5* Palm Beach Championship on Saturday January 26th. Tinne’s electrifying freestyle garnered her a score of 84.075%. Patrik Kittel of Sweden and Watermill Scandic H B C came second, with a score of 82.525%, with Steffen Peters and Legolas 92 coming third with 80.175%. Canada’s David Marcus (aboard Chrevi’s Capital) placed sixth. Full results can be found HERE. Video of all the WDM riders and their freestyle performances are available online. $25,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic Ben Maher, aboard Quiet Easy 4, took first place in the 1.50m Suncast Championship Jumper classic. The event took place during the fifth week of the 2013 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF), sponsored by Adequan®. Max Amaya (aboard Cartier) was took second place, while Beezie Madden (aboard Mademoiselle) was third. The course was designed by Bob Ellis, from Britain. Forty two horse and rider combinations competed, with only four advancing into the jump off. FTI WEF runs from January to March 2013 Dressage Summit From February 09-11, 2013 the first annual Dressage Summit was held at The Stadium at Palm Beach International Equestrian Centre in Wellington. The Summit boasted an impressive line up of trainers, including Walter Zettl, Charles de Kunffy, Christoph Hess, Colleen Kelly and Linda & Pat Parelli. More information on the Summit can be found HERE.

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Sarah Freeburn Photography


Featured in this Issue’s Spotlight Gallery is the lovely Tammy Freeburn and her 12 year old Paint horse Montea. All images were photographed by Sarah Freeburn of Sarah Freeburn Photography, based out of Ontario (CAN).

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On the Go

Your Guide to Safe Trailering


egardless of the distance you are travelling or the type of trailer you are hauling, ensuring your trip is safe and stress free is essential to making sure you get the most out of your trip off property. While we as riders and owners are always concerned and aware of the safety of our horses during transport, being aware of your trailer is necessary to ensure there are no unnecessary accidents on the road. By taking the time to ensure your trailer is properly serviced, and in proper working order, you can not only avoid some potential headaches when it comes time to travel, but can avoid some very serious accidents that could have devastating results.

Minimizing Transport Stress For some horses, trailering can be a stressful time. To make sure both you and your horse enjoy your travels, spend some time before your scheduled trip/show training your horse to load calmly, and help acquaint him to regular trailer travel. By desensitizing your horse to any anxiety he/she may have with loading and riding in a trailer, traveling with your horse will a far more enjoyable experience for both of you. Even if you have no plans to travel with your horse in the near future, make a plan to train your horse to load calmly. Spending a few days practicing over the course of the year will be beneficial, in case you need to load your horse in an emergency. With a few simple steps and careful planning you can make transporting your horse far less stressful, which will make the trip easier and far more enjoyable for everyone involved.

Seasonal Preparations While you are most likely to be consistently using your trailer during show season that does not mean you should neglect your trailer over the winter months. As all horse owners know, accidents do happen, and during an emergency you may need that trusting towing tool to get your horse to the vet. It is vital that you ensure your trailer is maintained and ready for driving in any potential inclement weather, especially the kind that winter

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Minimizing Transport Stress Here are some quick tips to help minimize the stress your horse feels when you leave the farm: • Keep your truck and trailer clean, and in good repair. This will make for a smoother ride, which is far more comfortable for your horse, and means far less potential breakdowns for you. • Be aware of your horse when you are driving, accelerate and decelerate slowly, not only is this responsible driving, but you will be far less likely to jostle your horse, which causes discomfort and potential injury. • Provide your horse some hay and water for the trip to keep himself occupied • Tie your horse so that he has some room to move his head, this makes it easier for him to relax, move around, and will help ensure he is able to keep his airways open brings. If you are travelling between cold and warm climates, ensuring you regularly check your tire pressure is especially important, as changing climate will affect the pressure levels in your tires. In cold weather settings it is also important to pay attention to your battery; if your battery is going to fail it will likely do so during the cold winter months. The last thing you want in an emergency, in the dead of winter, is dead battery! Depending on your location and the amount of snow and sleet you typically get, you may also want to consider equipping your vehicles with winter or traction tires. These tires are better equipped to handle potentially slick and snow covered roadways.

Trailer Inspection & Safety Checklist Before heading out on the road, take some time to complete a thorough inspection of your trailer for any potential safety hazards, as well as regular wear and tear. Checking in advance could save you time and money, keep your horse from injuring himself, and minimize your chances of a roadside breakdown. Here are some things you should look out for when inspecting your trailer:


deterioration or damage to the tread surfaces, Make sure that you inspect the floor of your valves, or sidewalls could cause a potential problem down the road. Also make sure to trailer thoroughly. If there is matting covering regularly check the pressure in every one of the base of your trailer, ensure that you lift the your tires, on both your truck and trailer. Make matting up and check the floor for any weak sure you are carrying a spare tire and the spots, rust, or potential holes. Having a solid necessary tools to change that tire should you and safe floor will prevent some potentially run into problems on the road. If your truck or disastrous injuries to your horse. Make sure to give the undercarriage of your trailer a quick look trailer is a dually, make sure you don’t forget to over as well, to ensure no cracks or breaks in the inspect the interior tires. supports.



Before loading your horse, take a brief walk through of the interior of your trailer. Having a secure and non-slip footing on the Make sure all windows and vents are properly floor of your trailer will not only provide your adjusted to maximize airflow and keep your horse with a more comfortable ride, but will help ensure he does not slip and injure his legs. horse comfortable, but make sure your horse Rubber matting is a great option to use for trailer is not able to stick his head through any open windows during travel. Also ensure that there matting, but make sure that it fits snuggly and are no potential hazards inside such as old feed will not move around. You can also add some or grain, damaged partitions, manure/urine, bedding, like shavings, to add further comfort on long trailer rides. Make sure that the interior or fraying padding. Check that everything is of your trailer is clean before using it, urine and secured in the interior of the trailer and any tack manure can become slippery, posing a potential rooms or living quarters, as loose or banging objects can fall during travel and injure your hazard. horse or cause loud noises that may spook him.


Brakes are essential for a safe drive. You would never drive your truck or car without them, so why would you run the risk of a brake failure on your trailer? Make sure before leaving you thoroughly inspect your trailers brakes, as well as the brake control box. You need to ensure that your trailer’s brakes are properly activating, and are adjusted to the weight of the cargo you are carrying.


Take a walk around your trailer and check for any visible wear and tear on your tires. Any

Secure Everything

Make sure all stall dividers and partitions, as well as all relevant butt bars are properly secured and fastened. If you tie your horse in the trailer, make sure that he is tied with a quick release knot, or that all your tie straps have quick release snaps in case of emergency. Don’t forget to check your hook up as well; ensure that your hitch is secured and that it is the right size for your trailer and load, check that your safety chains are attached, your lights have been plugged in, and your emergency breakaway cable is secured.

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Final Check Once everything, and everyone, is loaded up and ready to go, make sure you take one final walk around your trailer to ensure everything is locked up tight and ready for travel. Once you are confident your horse is well secured and all your trailer doors and windows are latched, you are ready to hit the road!

Remember, having a safe trailer that is clean and in good repair will not only save you time and money, but make your travels far less stressful. Which will give you a chance to enjoy your time with your horse, whether you are on an off property trail ride or at a show.

Your trailer should be ready for travel in all seasons, you never know when an emergency may arise

To Blanket or Not To Blanket That is the question indeed. When traveling in cooler temperatures the decision to blanket your horse can be a difficult one. You always want your horse to be comfortable while traveling, but being unable to consistently monitor your horse’s temperature while you are on the road can make deciding just how to clothe your equine friend increasingly difficult. Ensuring your trailer is well ventilated will allow help to keep your horse comfortable. Circulating air will not only remove dust and other toxins from the air, but will allow cooler air to enter the trailer and remove warmer air that has been heated by your horse’s body. If you horse sports a thick winter coat you may not need to blanket him during travel, but for a clipped horse, a blanket or two is probably a good idea. If your horse does become warm during travel, having access to water will help him stay cool while also replenishing the fluid he may lose through perspiration. For long distance travel across multiple potential climates, you will have to be prepared for the need to blanket and un-blanket your horse depending on regional weather conditions.

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The Dark Horse - Canadian Retailer for Trailer Eyes -

Center Stage with Stephanie


Elite Canadian Dressage Rider and Coach

For Stephanie Jensen, the riding bug took hold at a very young age. An accomplished FEI Dressage Rider and certified Level 2 Dressage Coach, she currently operates her own business, Jensen Equestrian, in Blackstock ON (Canada). We sat down with her for a few minutes to find out what she’s up to, what she looks for in a horse, and what inspires her to continue riding.

Photo: Stephanie Jensen and her current Grand Prix

mount, SJE Addiction

How did your riding career begin? Have you always ridden Dressage? SJ: I began riding when I was a small child. My mother had a pony when she was a teenager, and I grew up with them on our family farm. Horses were always around. When I was two years old I was put on a pony for the first time, and I guess that’s when the horse “bug” truly took hold. When I was 7 or 8 I started in Pony Club, participating in Prince Philip Games (PPG) and D Rally events. Eventually, around twelve, I started to take an interest in Dressage, and made the decision to start riding with a Dressage coach. My Dressage training commenced with Harleigh, my half Arabian, who was my first horse (after I graduated up from ponies). From there it just blossomed, and I stuck with Dressage through the years.

What do you consider your career highlights (or greatest achievements) in your career so far? SJ: In 1996 & 1997 I was part of the young rider team for Dressage, and went to the North American Young Rider Championships as part of the Ontario Team. The first year I did okay, and in the second year, Marzano and I were super strong and competitive and we were ranked fourth individually in North America. This launched me into the FEI levels, and in 1999 I tried out for the Pan American games with my Young Rider horse Marzano. In 2003 I debuted in the Grand Prix with Marzano. He was my first big Dressage horse after Harleigh, my half Arabian. I trained Marzano up from 3rd level into the Young Riders and then the Grand Prix. Marzano was truly a

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Stephanie & a young SJE Addiction

Opposite Centre:

Stephanie & SJE Addiction out for a ride at home in Blackstock, ON

Opposite Left:

Highlights of Stephanie’s riding career, and some of the horses she has ridden along the way

special horse to me, as he was the one who really helped launch me into the International scene. In the 2011 Pan Am tryouts I was ranked in the top twenty, in Canada, with SJE Addiction. We achieved great scores and became listed on the Dressage Canada Identifying List. SJE Addiction is my current Grand Prix

horse, and he is definitely a highlight for me, as I bred him myself and have trained him since he was foal, which is something I am very proud of.

What do you have planned for the upcoming year (and the future) in the horse world? SJ: This year, 2013, I plan to show in CDI level competitions with SJE Addiction, in the Grand Prix level. I will also be training my young horses, with plans to show them too.

What inspires/helps you work through those tough riding moments that can sometimes seem unsurpassable? SJ: I’m self-motivated; doing this is in my blood. Even when times are rough, I just remember that I have all these wonderful horses to work with and ride.

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At the end of the day, they still always make me smile.

You’re a horse breeder as well as a rider, what do you look for when choosing (or breeding) a horse? SJ: When I am choosing a horse for breeding, I choose for temperament first and foremost. If you don’t have a good brain, you won’t have a good partner. It’s important to try to breed horses that have willing attitudes, so that you can work with them in sport and get them to achieve the things you want them to achieve. I also look for good feet, correct conformation and good movement, as well as bloodlines. Through selective breeding you can remove a lot of wasted time; this is because the horses are bred to do the job. Training is much easier with a horse that is bred for a specific task/discipline. I find it’s much easier to train horses to the upper levels if it is in their blood; it just makes for happier horses, and thus happier riders and trainers. But saying that, I have worked with and trained many different types of horses and at the end of the day, a good horse, is a good horse.

What is your advice to aspiring riders looking to make their mark in the Dressage community? SJ: My advice is to keep going, persevere. Don’t stop when times get tough; surround yourself with the right people and help and keep moving forward. If your heart is truly in it, you will find a way to get to where you need to go.

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Stephanie & SJE Addiction

You can learn more about Stephanie and her business by visiting her website: Jensen Equestrian

The Essentials

Training, Simplified

Fear Factor

Desensitizing your Horse


orses are flight animals; this is something every equestrian knows and has likely experienced. As a result, every horse person has owned, or known, a horse that balks at their own shadow, runs from waving flags, or shudders to the halt at a decorative jump. While some horses can be far more prone to flight behaviour than others, all horses have the potential to spook. Having a focused and responsive horse is every rider’s dream, and with strong groundwork training and some desensitization work this outcome is entirely achievable. Taking the time to expose your horse to potentially terrifying stimulus at home, in a safe and planned manner, can save time, injury, and stress in future riding situations, whether you are out on the trail or in the show ring. Understanding why your horse reacts as it does, and how to cope with this behaviour, requires some knowledge of basic equine behaviour. Having a sense of how your horse sees the world, how he thinks and operates, can help you cope with episodes of spookiness in a way that is safe and beneficial to horse and rider. Desensitization is a process of behaviour modification that seeks to weaken a specific fear response to a given object or stimulus. The goal of desensitization is bring the fear response, towards specific objects, to a point of extinction. The desensitization process must occur slowly, or there is the risk that the fearful response will return or there will an increase in attempts at evasion. Habituation often occurs when horses are frequently exposed to a potentially frightening stimulus but become accepting of it over time. With habituation your horse’s response to a scary object will wane as a result of constant exposure to the object. For a horse to become fully habituated to an object, it must continually be exposed to it over an extended period of time. If the scary object is removed prematurely, the original fear response may resurface. Horses learn through habituation, throughout their lives. It is how they filter out which information is important, and which is not. For example, horses used to seeing dogs run around the

Photo: Horses will often habituate themselves to scary objects

they are regularly exposed to at pasture. Such as flapping flags on a flag post, like that seen in the photo (top right corner).

property will eventually learn that the dogs are not an object to fear and will learn to ignore them. Habituation plays a role in desensitization training, but can also happen on its own when your horse is alone in his stall or paddock. When attempting to desensitize your horse you want to avoid the process of flooding. Flooding involves over exposing a horse to the scary object until the horse ceases to respond. While at first this approach may seem useful, and much faster than desensitization training, flooding can cause unnecessary stress to your horse and may cause learned helplessness. As a result your horse’s fear may not be fully removed, and he may become even more fearful and responsive to the stimuli, or anything similar. An example of flooding can been seen in traditional forms of horse breaking, such as when a saddle is strapped to a green horse, and then said

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horse is allowed to buck and run until it ultimately gives up. This approach is more aggressive and will not instil confidence in your horse to overcome its fears. With desensitization training you will help your horse learn to overcome its fear of unknown objects, which will boost his confidence and help him adapt and react more calmly in future situations that may present scary objects for him to cope with. The best way to start a desensitization training program with your horse is to have a plan, know what you want to achieve and how you plan to do it. Remember, you need to be attentive to your horse and what he can take, so watch your pace and be patient. Like all forms of training, desensitization takes time, and overwhelming your horse may result in creating a more sensitized horse with heightened flight/fear responses. Also, remember to put safety first, do not put yourself into a situation where you or your horse can get hurt.

Pressure and Release Pressure and release is essential when it comes to desensitization training. In desensitization training, pressure and release manifests itself in the practice of advance and retreat. You want to move your horse slowly towards the scary object, when he stands quietly (even for a moment) by the object, he is instantly rewarded by being allowed to move away. By using this tactic your horse will slowly gain confidence and you will be able to increase the time that your horse remains by the scary object, until eventually he relaxes entirely and is able to stand by and approach the object without fear.

Start Small Start small with your training, try to get a sense of how tolerant your horse is to stressful stimulus and then move forward from there. It often helps to have a friend or helper nearby in case your horse panics. Start by outfitting your horse with a well-fitting halter and an extra-long lead rope (14 – 22 feet long). Make sure you work with your horse in a safe environment, an enclosed area with good footing and fencing works best. Like a round pen or an arena. Make sure you work with your horse a few times a week or more, horses learn from repetition, and consistent training will improve your chances of success. Try to take advantage of your horse’s curiosity. Let your horse investigate the scary object

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from the ground, if he wants, let him sniff the object and assess it. If he seems calm, push him to move closer to the object (or step onto it if possible).

Where to Begin You can assess your horse’s sensitivity by initially exposing him a small amount of stimulus and assessing what response it evokes. Try rubbing your lead rope along your horse’s body, and then slowly flick it over and along his back, then around his back legs/hindquarters. Watch for any movement and response. If he stands calmly, you can move onto something that may prove scarier. You can also try this exercise with a lunge line, or long whip with a short string attached. Rub the whip along your horse’s body, and then casually flip the string over his back and sides. You want to reward your horse for standing calmly and not reacting to the object. If your horse tries to walk away, move with him and keep the rope moving until he calms down and stands still, then release the pressure by removing the rope. Never force your horse to stay near an object he fears, this may lead to an explosive reaction that could get someone hurt. If your horse tries to run from the object, remove the object of stress. Once your horse is comfortable with an object on the ground, increase the exposure level by rubbing the object all over the horse. For larger stationary objects like tarps or wooden platforms, you can try to ride your horse over them as well.

Things to keep in mind Stay calm; you are trying to give your horse confidence to overcome his fear. If you react when he does, you are only reinforcing the fear behaviour. If your horse gets nervous or reacts, redirect his attention. Do not let him focus on the object of fear. Move your horse around, move his feet, talk to him calmly. When he finally calms down and shows signs of relaxation, slowly begin to approach the scary object once again.

Tr y This! Plastic Tarps

Tarps are a great multipurpose tool when attempting to de-spook your horse. They are lightweight, colourful, and make a lot of noise. You can ask your horse to first step onto, and walk over the tarp. You can also drape the tarp over your horse, hang it up over some jump standards and make your horse walk through it, or flap it around to get your horse used to the sound.

Bags, of all Sorts

Plastic bags, like those you get in the grocery store, are something you are likely to come across if you ride your horse outside. They get caught up in the wind, and can be found in ditches and caught in trees. The sound they make can terrify some horses. You can expose your horse to plastic bags by putting one on the ground and letting your horse sniff it, by rubbing it on your horse, and by flapping it near your horse to desensitize them to the sound. You can also tie a plastic bag to the end of your lunge whip. Large plastic garbage bags can also be used.


The sight and sound of flags flapping in the wind can disconcert many horses who are not used to them. There are various ways to desensitize your horse to the sight and sound of flags. Some horses may become habituated to flags if they are pastured near a flag hanging up outside (on a flag post or on a wall). You can also desensitize your horse to flags in the same way you do many other objects, by exposing it to them during groundwork. Flap it around or rub it on your horse. Get a small flag on a stick and flap it around, or stick it into the ground and make the horse walk around it.

Loud Noises

If you plan to show your horse, desensitizing him to loud sounds can make a big difference. Clapping and banging can be sounds that could startle your horse in a show setting, and by exposing him to these sounds at home can make for a safer show outing. You can do this yourself, or get some friends to help you. Or even use a recording of clapping and cheering.


If you are going to be riding your horse near road ways, or in places where traffic may be present (like fair grounds), getting your horse accustomed to the sounds of vehicles can save a lot of stress and expended energy. Tractors, ATVs, and cars/trucks are all common vehicles that horses should be exposed and used to.

Get Inventive

When you have exposed and desensitized your horse to a variety of individual objects, why not create a series of obstacles to test your four legged friend. Collect bags, pool toys, cans, balloons, and tarps, anything you can think of, and build a homemade obstacle course. First try walking through the course, and when you can successfully navigate it from the ground, why not try riding your horse through it!

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Practice Makes Perfect Horse Show Essentials for every level

scrubbing any white marks your horse may sport. To ensure your horse’s coat comes out nice and shiny, ensure that all the soap is rinsed thoroughly with clean water, and that he has adequate time to dry. Once he is dry, you can cover your horse with a sheet or blanket to protect his coat from dirt before the show. Pay close attention to your horse’s mane and tail. Having a strong detangler and conditioner on hand can help keep your horse’s mane full and shiny, and tangle free. Not only will this help your horse looks good, but it will make braiding much easier. A tangle free mane also means you will be less likely to pull out hair when you are brushing. For a great looking tail, start brushing from how season can be an exciting time the ends of the tail and work your way up. of year, but it can also be a stressful That way you slowly work the knots out, and one. Making sure you have everything minimize the chance of pulling hairs out of you need and are well prepared can be a your horse’s tail. This will lead to a thicker, lot of work. We’ve got some tips and tricks healthier looking tail overall. to help ensure you’ll look your best and For a clean cut look, take your clippers be confident when you step into the show and trim the hairs around the fetlock of your ring. From tips for perfect turnout to tips horse, as well as his muzzle and ears. Clipping for planning your time in the days leading a bridle path will also help create a strong up to the show, we’ve got some essentials profile and clean cut appearance. Clipping that you can help you feel confident in your your horse often adds definition, which show experience! improves your presentation. While the judge is looking primarily at your performance in Perfect Presentation the show ring, having a good presentation shows your dedication to the sport and that Presentation in the show ring is you are willing to make an effort to present a important. Not only will it help you and clean and professional image. your horse stand out, but it will help boost After your horse has been fluffed and your confidence and help you shine. If you buffed it is time to decide what to do with look the part, you’ll feel it too. Regardless your horse’s hair. The discipline you will be of your discipline or riding level, there are riding in will ultimately affect the way you some essential tips and tricks to help you style the mane and tail. Many disciplines, like and your horse shine in the show ring. Hunter, Jumper and Dressage, go with a basic Start by giving your horse a thorough button braid style in the mane. Braiding is bathing. Make sure to spend time much easier if your horse’s mane is trimmed


23 The Eloquent Equine


or pulled to a shorter, more manageable Having a clean presentation will help your horse stand out in the show ring. Here Allegra, an length (around 4 inches). The decision arabian mare, relaxes before heading into the of whether to braid your horse’s tail is a show ring at Camp Ponacka (Issue 1) personal one; Hunter competitors typically braid their horse’s tail, while Eventers and Dressage riders do not. Don’t fret if you don’t know how to braid, you can ask your coach or another person at your barn to show you, or you can often hire someone to braid your horse for you at the show. Once your horse is shiny and show ready, make sure you don’t forget about yourself. Make sure your show clothes are clean and pressed, and that everything fits well. If possible, regardless of your discipline, try to pick show clothes that flatter you, with colours that match. Your show clothes should match the type of show you will be participating in, whether it is a button up shirt for a Western show, or a dark show jacket and light breeches for a Hunt seat or Hunter competition. Remember to take pride in your show presentation, but to also have fun with it. Grooming, bathing, and braiding can be a great time to spend quality time with your horse and increase your bond. It is also a event, or arriving a day ahead is not possible, great way to de-stress, and take your mind plan to be a few hours early (2-3 hours). This off of the upcoming show. will give you time to prepare for the show, warm up, and allow your horse acclimate to Have a Plan – Be Prepared his new surroundings Countdown to Competition • Groom your horse. Bathe, brush, clip, and braid your horse the night before the Before the show show. This will save you a lot of time and hassle than if you tried to do it the morning • A few days before the show make a of the show. While you may have to do some list of all the things you are going to need touch ups on show day, it will be a lot less to take with you. You don’t want to arrive work overall. Use a sheet and tail wraps to at the show and realize you’ve forgot your protect your horses clean coat and tail. bridle, or your show jacket. Being prepared • If you have a chance, try to warm your ahead of time can cut the stress you feel horse up in the arena where you will be when getting ready to ship out on show day showing. Work through some common • If your show or event will extend patterns and transitions to get your horse over a period of days, try to arrive at the used to the setting and any possible facility a day early. This will give you and distractions. This can help your horse relax your horse time to get acclimatized to the and help avoid any potential spookiness environment. If the show is a single day when its time for your class.

The Eloquent Equine 24

Before your Class • An hour to an hour and a half before your class, start getting ready. Give your horse a final grooming, tack him up, and change into your show clothes. • After tacking up your horse take a few minutes to just relax. Take some deep breathes, just hang with your horse, or listen to some music. Do something to de-stress and take your mind off the upcoming class. • Start warming up. About 45 Above minutes before your class, take some Don’t let horse shows stress you out, enjoy them time to warm up. Do this slowly, and and use them as a learning experience. Its not all focus on getting the basics down about the ribbons. perfectly. Do not introduce your horse to anything new, simply focus on the Below essentials. Try not to overwork your Grooming before the show, and even before your horse. You want to warm up your horse class can be a great chance to de-stress and unwind and take the edge off, but you do not while also bonding with your horse. want to tax your horse or wind him up too much before entering the ring. Work through the basics, and when you feel confident in your horse’s performance, reward him by taking a break before it’s your turn in the ring.

Know your Show

Rules, Regulations, Tests, Patterns etc Don’t forget to be prepared for the show itself. Make sure you take time to become acquainted with the show grounds, as well as the rules and regulations for each show you attend. Some types of tack (especially bits) as well as certain aids (whips, spurs) are tightly regulated based on discipline and level. Make sure you are also aware of any relevant test patterns (ex. Dressage), or that you are aware of and prepared for any obstacles you may encounter (ex. various types of jumps). Being prepared for your show will help avoid any potential pitfalls you may come across.

25 The Eloquent Equine

Remember to relax and be confident. Shows can be fun, and even if they don’t always go as planned, chock it up to a great learning experience. Be prepared for your show and you and your horse will be less stressed, leading to a far more enjoyable experience. Horse shows are meant to be fun!

Happy Showing!

Horse Show Essentials

Checklist Horse Essentials

Halter & Lead Rope (bring extras)

Human Essentials Paperwork Riding Boots

Directions to Grounds

Shipping Boots

Show Shirt

Class List

Polo Wraps or Boots


Rule Book


Show Jacket

Membership Card(s)

Fly Spray

Helmet or Hat

Horse Registration Papers


Hair Net/Hair Pins

Health Certificate



Proof of Ownership

Bales of Hay


Coggins Test Certification

Feed Supplies

Discipline Specific Items

Money/Credit Card/Cheques


Belt Buckle

Personal ID


Stock Pin and Tie

Emergency Numbers List



Copy of Test/Pattern

Equine First Aid Kit

Extra Clothes

Extra Pencil/Pen & Paper

Water (Large Jugs) Buckets (For Feed & Water) Clips (For Buckets, Haynets Etc)

Other Essentials Leather Hole Punch

Tack Essentials Saddle

First Aid Kit (Human)


Band Aids




Show Halter

Braiding Supplies

Cell Phone & Charger

Saddle Pad(s)

Rubber Mane Bands

Camera & Batteries


Mane Comb

Folding Chairs



Lint Roller


Hoof pick

Safety Pins

Breast Collar

Leather Soap/Cleaner

Duct Tape

Towels & Sponges

Band Aids


Spare Tire (Trailer & Truck)


Manure Fork

Sweat Scraper

Muck Bucket

Coat Polish

Extension Cord

Grooming Essentials

Spot Cleaner (For White Spots)

You can find a downloadable version of this checklist on our website! The Eloquent Equine

The Eloquent Equine 26

The Library

Creative Corner

Hoofprints of Warriors

He moves, like the translucent wind travelling across the endless plains. He runs, without care nor goal, hooves thundering against the unforgiving ground. A never ending and consistent sound, rhythmic as the ebb and flow of the ocean.

Iberian Ghost 27 The Eloquent Equine

Muscles ripple and gleam with sweat, white froth lathers, he continues on. Power. Grace. A trophy of nature. Mane and tail fly a banner of kings, proclaiming his lordliness. His pallid coat glows with the rays of the sun, movement ever so swift …weightless. He seems himself non-existent. The Iberian ghost.

Forest Child, coat of shadows reflected upon c o l d s t o n e. Those metallic shoes against the cobblestones as armour clanks upon his back. Dark eyes screech out revelations he does not fear to fight. It is in h i s b l o o d. H oo v e s t h und er he p o w e r s f o r w a r d, earth shattering below hooves. Blood of the fallen Fertilizing the fields. It is swallowed By the gossamer shine ‌ His coat

Castle Keeper

Poems & Art: K. Rivet

Like a ghost towards the masses, nothing but victory and the glory of sunrise Muscles ripple in his haunches he launches forward, above swords and spears. Decimating Capriole In battle he is king . .. The Castle Keeper

The Eloquent Equine 28

Our next issue! Due out May 2013 The theme for Issue 4 is:

The Performance Horse Can’t wait that long? Well then check out... Our next Special Edition! Due out April 2013

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The Eloquent Equine | No. 3, Competitive Edge  

The third issue of The Eloquent Equine, and the first of 2013. This Winter issue takes a look at how you can desensitize your horse to scary...

The Eloquent Equine | No. 3, Competitive Edge  

The third issue of The Eloquent Equine, and the first of 2013. This Winter issue takes a look at how you can desensitize your horse to scary...