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Preparing for a competition.

By Jade | February 14, 2022
  1. Horse Management

Preparing for a competition

In this article we will discuss all about preparing for a competition and why preparation is key in all aspects of the equestrian community. This blog should help give you an idea of what Team Saddle Bank think are the best ways to prepare for all types of competitions!

If you are still a bit confused about  any saddle related product or saddle is best for you why not get in touch with our friendly customer support team. Via phone on 0345 030 4916 or email info@thesaddlebank.com. Our lovely team are always happy to help as much as they can and provide you with the information you need to make the best decision for you and your horse.

Entries, tack and everything in between!

Everyone who competes in this sport knows how hard it is, for the 3 minutes we are in the ring (Show jumping), a 5-minute dressage test, or perhaps you’re lucky enough to get in the ring THREE times (lucky eventers).

However, as people always say, fail to prepare, prepare to fail. So today we are giving you all our top tips to be able to walk into the ring (no matter what discipline you do) relaxed and focused!

Firstly, the dreaded packing. LISTS are your BEST FRIENDS. Day shows or stay away shows, all require packing and organising. Practice makes perfect!

Tack, boots, anything, and everything needs regular checks. If you are using your tack for more than one horse, then be aware things do wear down. It is so important not to get caught out, after all we wouldn’t want a big fat E (Elimination) on our records because we have had to stop because tack has fallen apart!

Top tip of the day, it is getting increasingly important to plan your year. Don’t be afraid to get a show plan together at the beginning of the year with your aims and aspirations! With COVID still hanging around and the shows filling up quicker than ever it’s so important to get those entries in. Some shows fill up within hours, so make sure you are aware of the dates the shows open and keep those evenings free!


Show gear

  • Tack! At The Saddle Bank we do a wide range of fancy bridles of different styles. Their show gear is great to use in the ring to stand out from the crowd! It is a great idea to have a separate bridle for at home and at shows. One of Team Saddle Banks particular favourite is the GFS PS Flash Bridle it's in stock here!
  • Boots to give your horse extra protection. Be aware of the rulings for back boots if you are a show jumping rider though!
  • At The Saddle Bank we have a fab selection of GFS Bridles, are you wondering what type of bridles are used and why? Check out this blog 
Another fun fact, The Saddle Bank dispatch deliveries on the same day if ordered before 11:00AM. If you are a little disorganised don’t panic, we have got you!
  • Tack cleaner, we hate to sound like your old pony club instructor, but tack should be cleaned every day. Tack cleaning products are so important, this is what keeps our tack alive! Here we do a wide range of tack cleaner, and don’t think you can get away with not cleaning your tack if you have a Wintec saddle, we stock cleaner for this too!

Tack cleaner is used for protection and maintenance. We store a wide range of tack cleaner here

  • Spare leathers, we all know the saying we need them when we don’t have them. Spare reins, bridle parts, stirrup leathers. If you are eventing and use the same saddle for all three disciplines having stirrup leathers for each discipline is a great time-saver. For those of you riding at your local riding school, are you fed up with changing your leathers every day on their wonky and stiff leathers? You can take your own stirrup leathers with you, designed for you so you know what length you are riding at! Check out the accessories including a wide range of stirrup leathers here that we stock
  • Take any spare bits you think you might need in case you need bit changes at the show,
  • Horses passports, you should always take your passports with you, it is a legal requirement!


Stay away shows:

With more fun comes more responsibility. If you are going to a stay away show, we would recommend starting to pack a week before the show. Here is a general list for these stay away shows:

  • Forage (hay/haylage)
  • Buckets galore; Water buckets, Feed buckets, extra buckets to do the horse off with, top up buckets for the water,
  • Bedding (If you haven’t pre-purchased this at the show)
  • Studs if you are competing on grass,
  • Wheelbarrow and all your tools, forks, brooms,
  • Feed and supplements. Bran is always a good idea to have stored in your lorry, although lets hope we don’t need it! Extra supplements for energy in case your horse feels a little fatigued, but remember to introduce these slowly, a little goes a long way!

For eventing, you need to be extra organised when preparing for a competition because you have a lot more stuff to pack and clean. At least it’s worth it to have a good gallop around at the end of the day and let off some steam!



To plait or not to plait

Why do people plait? Obviously, it is the smarter option, instead of allowing your horses hair to go free-range. Plaiting is also the ultimate optical illusion which highlights your horses’ strengths. For those dressage divas out there get those plaiting bands out because it could mean you get extra points, and points mean prizes! Ideally it is best to plait in the morning of the show, leaving plaits in overnight might mean your plaits aren’t looking how you left them, thanks to our messy friends!

If you want to save time, you can bunch over the mane the night before, so your sections are all divided up for you when it comes to the next morning.




Even travelling should be planned out when preparing for a competition! If you are going to an away show, often you can get to the show the day before. Settling the horse in early and getting everything organised for the next day has many advantages. At a local day show, things are a bit harder. Traffic, Entries, ‘Life Testers’ (as I call them) happen but you can prevent them as much as you can by planning.

The one positive with COVID is that you can get your specific times, which makes things a little easier to plan around, particularly for those jumping friends! You don’t want your horse to be stood at the show for hours and hours before you compete if they don’t need to, so plan your route. Be aware of rush hour times and plan accordingly! Another thing to bear in mind is if you are travelling in a lorry. Get yourself a lorry sat-nav, getting lost in a tall, wide vehicle is not fun (and don’t even get me started on low bridges).

Learn more about how saddles should fit….

If you are a horse owner or rider and would like to learn more about saddle fitting. As well as how the saddle can impact your horses performance and welfare, click on the link below:


Thank you!

Thank you for reading this article! We hope you found it useful!
Please do check out our YouTube channel and subscribe for loads of videos, tips and tricks!

We would also love you to join our community of horse lovers on Instagram and Facebook!


The Saddle Bank Team x

Banner to learn more about recognising saddle fit issues

Thank you!

Thank you for reading this article! We hope you found it useful!

Please do check out our YouTube channel and subscribe for loads of videos, tips and tricks!

We would also love you to join our community of horse lovers on Instagram and Facebook!

The Saddle Bank Team x

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