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Having a newly washed, braided or newly groomed horse with a shiny coat that enhances the results of grooming makes a great contribution to a feeling that you are ready to compete. There is a lot of equipment to choose from, but don't forget to check the competition rules for horse, rider and equipment.
Saddle blankets are available in a wide range of colours and styles giving you plenty to pick and choose from. In show-jumping you can even match the saddle cloth with an attractive hood in the same colour as these are allowed in show-jumping competitions. When it comes to dressage, a fly hood may be permitted with special dispensation from the head judge or chair of judges.
The brow band can improve the impression the horse gives and its appearance. For those who want to be a little discreet, there are brow bands that are completely made of leather, it's possible for the leather to be varnished for increased sheen. There are brow bands that have various attractive metal links and, for those who love bling, brow bands with glittering Swarovski crystals; they are available in a multitude of different colours. Brow bands with beads are now increasingly common. The brow band options are endless, change as it takes your fancy to get a completely "new bridle".
Leg boots vary depending on the discipline you are competing in. For show-jumping, tendon boots and fetlock boots are used predominantly. There are a number of important regulations to keep in mind, particularly if you are riding a young horse. When competing in dressage, the horse should not have any boots on its legs when inside the arena, but it is a good idea to use leg boots or bandage the legs when warming up. Check the competition rules to see what applies.
The horse must always wear its competition number when you are riding or leading it in the competition area. There are various models of competition number that are complemented with the digits 1–9 in three positions so that you can easily display the number your horse has been assigned. If you have a separate bridle when you are out and leading the horse, it is a good idea to have two sets of competition numbers, one that you can put on the bridle you use when you are out and leading the horse and one that you can have on, for example, the bridle or saddle cloth that you use when competing – this means there is no chance of you forgetting to change.
Auxiliary reins may not be used in dressage competitions, either in the arena or when warming up. Martingales may be used in show-jumping, both in the arena and when warming up. This applies to both ponies and horses. The use of other auxiliary reins during the warm up is approved for horses, but not for ponies.
Quarter sheets may be used when warming up for all disciplines.
It is a good idea to place a rug made of a material that can wick moisture on the horse to prevent it cooling down too much before and after it has competed.
It is really important that you are aware of the competition rules for the discipline that you will be competing in; changes and amendments can be made so you need to keep up to date.