Staying dry at shows

We know that the great British weather is playing a part in cancelling shows, and causing misery to people who do attend, soaking horses, competition kit and riders before they even make it into the ring. However, there are things you can do to help keep you and your horse clean and comfortable at shows and competitions, helping you to make the best of it and have a great time, whatever the weather brings.

* Always take a lightweight turnout rug with you when you go to competitions. This can be a great way to help keep your horse and tack dry when required, can be used over a fleece or cooler rug after competition to help your horse dry off without getting soaked if it's raining, and if you're travelling in a trailer particularly, it can also help keep your horse dry in transit if it's driving rain.

* Takes spares of everything you can, this includes saddlecloths and numnahs, especially if you're riding in more than one class, and don't forget your competition clothing too. If you can double up on anything, like jodhpurs and breeches, all the better. They don't have to be your very best pair, but it may be worth making sure that they do comply with the rules of the competition you're competing in.

* Invest in overalls, waterproof or otherwise. These can be put over your competition kit to help keep it clean and dry whilst you’re getting your horse ready, or giving him a final polish before you get on board.

* Lightweight waterproof macs can be invaluable for the show rider, as not only do they help to keep your jacket dry, they can also help to protect your lower legs and saddle. Of course, you can't ride in this in the ring, but it’s great for warming up and working in.


* Take the set of non riding clothes. After your competition or class, if you're soaked to the skin, the last thing you want to do is get your horse ready to travel and travel home yourself in wet breeches and competition attire. Equally, pulling on a pair of snug breeches or jodhpurs over wet legs isn't all that pleasant, so taking a pair of comfortable trousers and a warm snug hoodie can make all the difference.

* Get a waterproof grooming box. If it's raining, trying to get your horse to look his best using wet brushes and clothes is not a great place to start from. Investing in a plastic box with secure clip fastenings can really be a valuable asset.

* Take wellingtons. When the sun is shining, it's nice to slip on a pair of clogs or some other comfortable footwear for when your class has finished, but when it's raining, or even if it has been raining, these can be far from practical. Taking a pair of wellington boots, or other waterproof footwear can really pay dividends. And don't forget to include an extra pair of warm and snug socks, to help dry out wet feet.

*If it's raining, do all the preparation you can before you leave for the event. It's much easier to use your horse's own stable to plait, groom and boot up. You might have to do so some finishing touches when you get to the show, but these should be minimal with good planning.

* Treat your track. If your leather tack does get absolute soaking, do your best to treat it quickly when you get back. Buying the right kinds of saddle soap and protective products can help guard against damage, but be careful not to dry it out too quickly or you might be lining yourself up for problems such as