CHS Equestrian season opens


The Concord High School Equestrian Club team will participate in its first competition Sunday, April 19, at Townsend’s Training Farm in Pembroke.
Approximately ten CHS students will compete against four or five other Capital District schools.  CHS competes in District 5 of the New Hampshire High School Equestrian Teams organization, as does Bishop Brady High School, Kearsarge Regional High School, Merrimack Valley High School, Pembroke Academy and Proctor Academy.
Riders will be doing patterns and spirit members, who help with tacking and brushing horses, will take tests on horse bone structure and other areas of equine knowledge.
Points go to the team although individual students will also rack up points toward an opportunity to compete at the state show May 31.
People who want to go and watch the riders perform should show up for a 9 a.m. start. Be prepared for mud!

Equestrian Club members are Allison Tessier, Avery Kalisz, Emily Golomb, Hannah Eliason, Samantha Lazott-Croteau, Shanna Huyck, Emily Turner and, from Bow High School, Valerie Pascetta and Emily Rescino. Kim Logan, Commons B secretary at CHS, advises the club. Heather Logan is the head coach and Kaleigh Hubbard is assistant coach.

Equestrian Club members have been getting ready for this Sunday’s competition for weeks. Some of this time is spent grooming, or trimming manes and clipping hair around the feet, nose, eyes, between the ears and in the ears. The expectation when a horse arrives on scene is that both rider and horse look clean and professional.


One must also ride every day to perfect patterns and transitions to the walk, trot and canter. A rider’s leg must be positioned back so that a judge can see a straight line from the rider’s heel to ear. This line is part of what a judge looks for during an equitation class, where the judge looks to see how correctly a rider sits and rides.
Show clothes must be prepped and cleaned. Show jackets are short, have three buttons, and are similar to a women’s suit jacket. They usually are dark colored, its against the rules to wear a jacket of a color such as red, orange, baby blue, lime green, etc. Breeches must be spotless and can’t be any color other than tan. Chaps must be without sawdust, hair, or dust from the arena. Boots must be knee height and polished mostly on the outside so that polish doesn’t end up on your saddle.
About a week before an out-of-state show, say a competition in Connecticut, I give my horse a day off every other day to build up energy for the weekend coming up. Some horses understand when they are going to a show because the stress level may rise in the barn or in their rider. Therefore the time off every other day gives the rider time to prep and get ready without as much stress on the horse, and allows time to build up energy.
I also pack medical supplies which include quilt wraps for swollen legs, polo wraps (long thin wraps that can be used for practice to support the legs when riding, or wrapped over the quilt wraps), gauze, Neosporin, vet wrap to go over gauze, and duct tape. I also pack extra blankets, fly spray, showsheen (which leaves a horse’s coat shiny and soft), my helmet, black hoof polish, brushes, saddle pads, lead ropes, extra halters, bell boots (which fit just above the hoof and over the back of the shoe, preventing the horse from tearing off the front shoes with their back feet), splint boots (which protect the legs in the front from popping a splint which are tiny bones that support the cannon bone that may be popped by inflammation in the legs), water buckets, and feed dishes.
I also clean all the tack, saddles and bridles in advance. I have to clean two bridles and two saddles, each for different disciplines, Western and English. I have to clean the tack with soap then condition the leather, then clean all the silver. (Yes, real silver. It shines in the sun). This process alone usually takes me about three hours.
I have a three horse, slant load aluminum trailer in which horses stand at a diagonal. Between each horse in a panel that gives each horse its own space. At the front of each horse is a window and a hay net to eat on the way down, . At the front of the trailer itself is a dressing room with three saddle racks and a place to hang all of the bags of clothes.
About 36 hours before a show I wash my horse, Ruben, and make sure there is no dirt in his bright brown coat. Ruben’s blonde mane and tail have to be thoroughly cleaned too. I use a shampoo that doesn’t dry out his skin and leaves his coat really shiny. On his white face I use baby shampoo because it’s tear free and if it enters his eyes it won’t sting. His face must be really white to stand out more in the ring among other spotted horse (although my horse already stands out because he only has one small spot under his belly).
I finish by banding, or making small ponytails all the way down the length of his mane so that it lays flatter when showing. Then I put a sleezie on him, or a hood that is made out of spandex like material. This goes over his head and covers from his head to right behind his front legs, keeping his mane flat and protecting it if Ruben decides to rub on the wall and try to wreck all of his bands.
Friday I work Ruben in a circle on a long line. I change his blanket and fix his mane. Then I load the back of the truck with five bales of hay, my trunk and make sure that we have seven bags of sawdust: two each for the three horses that I’ll take with me each and one extra just in case.
I trailer two of my friends with me because it’s fun to show with other people. Setting up at a show takes hours and hours of work. We go to sleep late and wake at dawn.