Caring for Your Horse at Horse Shows and Trail Rides

— Written By and last updated by wrapping a horse leg

Horse showing and trail riding can be hard strenuous work for your equine companion. That is why you must take every precaution to protect them during hard long days of showing or riding. 

Be sure to feed your horse the morning of the event so they have enough time for their food to digest. The last thing you want is for your horse to colic at a show or on the trail. Allow yourself plenty of time to get your horse ready if you are showing. By doing this you and your horse will remain calm and not rushed.

After showing or trail riding, start by cooling your horse out, especially on hot days. After your horse is cooled off, a good hosing off to remove sweat and arena or trail dust is a good measure to take. On cooler days make sure your horse has some sort of fleece or wool cooler when cooling out to keep the cool air off of them. 

When your horse has had a hard day of showing or trail riding another good measure to take is to brace their legs with a poultice or liniment before wrapping with leg quilts and standing wraps. Make sure you know how to wrap a leg properly. When wrapping the left legs you should wrap counterclockwise and the right side you should wrap clockwise. Always take the time to clean hoofs. Some arenas have dirt that can pack causing pressure to the soul of the hoof, or a stone could be lodged in the hoof.

When showing and trail riding, always make sure you offer clean fresh water to keep your horse hydrated. When the show runs late in the afternoon and night be sure to schedule a light feeding or offer hay. Horses burn lots of calories showing on long days. After the show or trail ride has ended and your horse is all cleaned up and munching hay, stick around or come back and check to make sure your horse is resting comfortably. Again, the last thing you need is your horse to tie up or colic. Good luck and Happy Trails.

For more information about this and other NC 4-H Horse programs and activities contact Tom Harrell at 252-232-2262 or email tpharrel@ncsu.edu.