Friday’s Five – Must haves at an event cool down
As you gallop over the cross-country finish line at either a CCI of CIC a team of veterinarians will meet you to monitor your horse’s cool down. They will check your horse’s heart rate, temperature and overall condition and they will keep rechecking your horse until it is fit to go back to the stables. Your horse deserves the best care possible after running and jumping its butt off on cross-country. Your job as the rider is to provide the perfect cool down for your noble steed. Make sure you have these supplies ready at the cool down area so you can start caring for your horse the moment you dismount:
1) Four buckets, sweat scrapers and sponges: Fill up four buckets with water; place a sponge and a sweat scraper in each. Take your full buckets and space out your buckets in a rectangle just big enough to park your horse in the middle. This sets up an effective “car wash” system for sponging your horse down. Ideally, you want five people working this cool down car wash, four spongers/scrapers and one person holding the horse.
2) Wrench and magnetic tray: Odds are, you probably put studs in your horse’s shoes for your round and you are going to need to get those out in cool down. Taking your horse’s boots off is a priority and you do not want your horse to be bootless with studs because it could kick or step on itself. Taking studs out is a priority to keep your horse’s legs safe. An adjustable wrench and a magnetic tray make taking studs out a breeze.
3) Ice Horse tendon boots: Why wait to get back to the stables to start icing your horse’s legs? As soon as your horse is out of its cross-country boots and stud free, strap on some Ice Horse tendon boots. These boots are great because your horse can still walk freely while wearing them. You can easily pack them in a small cooler so they are icy ready at the finish.
4) Diapers and vet wrap: If your horse pulls a shoe on course, you do not want it walking around the cool down and back to the barn shoeless. Keep your horse comfortable and its hoof in fine form for the morning jog by making a diaper boot. Simply stretch a diaper over the bottom of your horse’s hoof and secure it on with a vet wrap bandage. This makeshift boot will protect your horse’s hoof until you can meet up with the farrier to have a real shoe nailed back on.
5) Wound dressing: If your horse overreaches, hits a leg on a jump or just ends up with a boot rub you will have an open wound that needs treatment. Even the smallest knick could get an infection and cause you to have a lame horse for the jog up. Thoroughly inspect your horse for any cuts and rubs in the cool down and coat them in your favourite wound dressing. My finish line wound dressing of choice is Wonder Dust because it’s easy to apply and does not cause any stains on white socks. Always make sure that your wound dressing does not contain any banned substances and will not cause any stains on white socks that you will not be able to clean off for the final jog up.
Pro packing tip: Invest in a Stanley storage box with wheels to make it easy to cart your stuff to the cool down area and keep it organized once it is there. You will be able to fit all your supplies in it, with the exception of the four buckets. This will also give you some extra room to haul back some of your tack to the stables!