We asked readers what their go to competition tips are. Do you have a tip you’d like to share? Email us!

  1. Preparation shouldn’t start the day or week before a show. It should start months and months in advance. Make sure you have a top feeding regime, and train, train, train. Arriving at the show grounds half an hour before you need to mount isn’t enough. Be the first one on the grounds so yourself and your horse the time to settle in. Have plans in place for every minute. Prepare, prepare, prepare – Leigh Jones, North Canterbury.
  2. Make sure all your gear (make up kit etc) is clean and organised so you can find it in a hurry and always have baby wipes on hand! You can use them for everything- wiping boots, tack or horse make up here it shouldn’t be. Less is more in my opinion, depending on what class you’re in- Kayla Churcher, Whanganui.
  3. I always use Sunsilk shampoo and conditioner to clean my horse’s tail, it’s excellent for getting any knots out- Judy Sandford, Rolleston.
  4. If you are asked to do a ridden workout, keep your horse walking around to keep him or her warm and loose, don’t just stand still. It takes a few moments to shake off the cobwebs! – Yvette Morrissey, Christchurch.
  5. I think what blows things for so many riders is being stressed on the day, so some destressing techniques would be my biggest tip as stress just flows straight into most horses which causes the rider to get more stressed. I used to get one of my girls to sing quietly as she warmed up. If you have time in the morning add a few drops of lavender to a hot bath- Sue Holmes, Palmerston North.
  6. Always smile at the judges! Rochelle Speirs, Palmerston North
  7. School or jump one level higher than what you compete. That way you can compete with confidence even when you get nervous or distracted- Anna Larsen, Queenstown.
  8. Black and white boot polish is very cheap and can be used for a range of things- from last minute shining of your boots to whitening a sock or blackening a leg. Just dab it on, wait for it to dry, and then brush until blended- Liana Mikaera, Feilding.
  9. To keep horses hooves shiny rub a raw onion on the hoof. It works great, and doesn’t collect dust the way the oils do. It’s totally natural and doesn’t give that “I used hoof varnish” look- Hayley Grant, Christchurch.
  10. Take rescue remedy before your first class/event and always enter the ring and acknowledge the judge by smiling or saying hello. I have a few friends who are judges and they hate seeing sour people in the ring- April Cox, Konini.

Photo: Kaylee Mcbeth Kibblewhite

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