Hannah was a happy pony after receiving what I now call her “magic staple.”

Photo: Alexandra Beckstett

At horse shows, it’s not unusual for our horses’ care to differ from that of their daily routine. The workload, stall confinement, and foreign environment all require us to take additional steps to keep our horses healthy.

When my barn goes to a horse show, for instance, we strategically time farrier and chiropractor appointments to maximize their effects either pre- or post-competition. We apply alcohol or liniment to and bandage our horses’ legs nightly. Depending on the footing we might pack their feet at night, as well. Easily stressed horses or those with a history of gastric upset will receive an ulcer medication while at the show. We feed more hay since the horses will be stalled all day, rather than turned out on grass. We take biosecurity steps that we might not at home. We give real bubble baths instead of just quick rinses post-ride.

All these things and more have become ingrained into my horse show care routine. After last weekend’s show, however, I might be adding a new item to that list.

Upon setting up shop at the Kentucky Horse Park the day before the show and taking Hannah out for a schooling ride, my trainer and I both noted how feisty and marish (that might not have been the exact word I used…) Hannah seemed. A chestnu