Showjumping tests the accuracy and athletic ability of both horse and rider. Competitions take place indoors and outdoors and the sport is enjoyed all year round. Whether you are directly involved with the action or just close to it, showjumping is an exhilarating and exciting sport! But as much as it is fun to jump, carefully managing the horse is vital to allow them to continue a long happy career.
Firstly, a variety of work, hacking, gallops, schooling, a little xc and limited jumping at home, to keep them fit and supple, especially for an older horse. They don’t need to be over-jumped, especially at home. The horse should enjoy their job rather than it being a ‘chore for them’. Doing a good warm up stretch before getting into the full on jumping action, helps them to become supple and warms the muscles, joints and tendons up before asking for a big effort, which is key to preventing them from becoming sore and stiff after work. And of course, a proper cool down is vital. If they’ve worked hard, and they go straight into the stable the lactic acid build up can cause them to become stiff. Its vital to never over-jump horses at shows, keep to classes which the horse is comfortable within and only start to jump bigger courses once the horse is consistent. If pushed too much it can knock their confidence and make them not want to do the job. Remember, equestrian sport is supposed to be fun, even at the very top levels.
Horses bodies are under a lot of strain showjumping so should always be looked after the same as human athletes. Regular physio treatment is important, keeping on top of issues and generally giving them an MOT. Correct shoeing is incredibly important with the amount of pressure which goes through the horses feet when showjumping. Standard shoes sometimes just aren’t good enough, so it is important to choose a farrier who understands the specific demands of showjumping and your own horses conformation and action so they can choose and fit appropriate shoes. Giving the horse as much turnout as possible no matter what the weather is, will help to keep their joints supple and their heads calm. When horses are shut in the stable all day they are not using the muscles and naturally stretching, they will be more likely come out stiff and most likely very fresh. Appropriate fitness must be maintained, not just jumping schooling but flatwork, canter work and hacking. Sometimes other options such as swimming and water treadmills can be beneficial. A diet that is high in fibre and slow release energy is also vital and these need to be individualised to the horses body type, work levels and temperament.
Choose the right supplements for your horse as many can such a huge impact on the horses performance. Supplements that focus primarily on treating the joints can benefit the horse by helping to maintain the joint integrity. Riders can notice an increased range of movement and willingness to work when the horses are on a suitable supplement. There is a huge range of supplements on the market, but it’s important to be vigilant when it comes to the ingredients as many of these ingredients may be banned when competing at National/International events. Epiitalis® Forte gel is an oral supplement that can be given by oral syringe or added directly on to the feed. The supplement consists of the active ingredient Epiitalis® in a soya oil gel suspension with some apple flavouring. It is very palatable, with no known side effects and has undergone trials showing it to be safe for long-term use. It is a very small, once daily dose having minimal impact on your routine and pocket. It is currently sold in 238gm tubes which equates to approximately 2 month supply. Although we do recommend a loading dose of 8gms for the first two weeks, meaning the initial tube will last around 6 weeks. Epiitalis® should be considered as valid option to help keep your valuable partner fit and sound for the season. It is endorsed by many leading vet hospitals here and abroad and the feedback of riders right up to the pinnacle of the sport has been outstanding with most reporting a rideable difference in the first week. It is backed by years of research and has international patents so you can be assured of its efficacy and safety. Read the testimonials on this website for examples of happy customers.