October 7, 2014

Post-XC Care

A surprising number of you said you were living vicariously through the Jump Start posts because you weren't eventers or your horse wasn't ready for eventing yet, which means maybe the nuts and bolts of an event aren't as boring as I thought they were!  I thought I'd talk about post-XC care today.  More my Beginner Novice (up to 2'7) post-XC care than the upper levels - that's a whole other thing entirely.

(All pictures in this post were taken by my mom - she caught so many awesome moments that weekend!)

After we cross the finish flags, I have to bring him back down.  He's pretty full of it, so this usually takes a big circle and me just sitting up and waiting for him to get with the program.

Check out those massive trees!

As soon as he's stopped, I jump off his back, undo one billet on one side entirely, and drop the other one a hole.  I give him a quick glance over to make sure he doesn't have any scrapes or bumps, and we start the (sometimes really long) walk back to stabling.

I could ride him back at the walk, but I choose to give him this reward.  I want him to know that as soon as we cross the flags, his job is done.

Usually my trainer meets us somewhere to ask how it rode, since she can only see part of the course and listen to the announcers who will say things like "Rider 310, Castleberry's Contender and Jenifer Slabaugh, now on course," or "Overnight leaders Castleberry's Contender and Jenifer Slabaugh clear through fence 10", if they have an announcer at all.

Trainer asking how it went.

And then we start walking back to stabling together:

With one or both of my boots unzipped, because forget walking in those things.

Oh yeah, and somewhere along the way Connor usually realizes he's alone and starts screaming in my ear:


Still blowing pretty hard.  This is a much better picture of the massive nostrils I love so much.

Back at stabling, his tack is stripped, then my gear is stripped, then he gets a good curry, and then gets hosed down at the wash racks.  Rinse, scrape, rinse with sponge, scrape, rinse, scrape again.  We then go for a walk/graze so that he doesn't just go straight back to standing in his stall after exerting that much effort.
Stall guards are for suckas.
If XC was in between Dressage and SJ and he's got another night in the stall, I'll wrap him overnight for a little extra support, but at Jump Start XC was on Sunday, so he was getting on the trailer and then getting turned out for the night afterward (our barn's usual post-event care, which I LOVE), so standing wraps weren't necessary.

PS - Enter L Williams 1000th post contest!  This is only my 765th, I have a ways to go.


  1. Dude you will hit 1000 sometime next year easy. Also I think walking them unmounted is a wonderful reward, I used to do it with Carlos all the time and just talk to him the whole way back.

  2. I'm lucky. Fiction comes right down after XC and returns to his lazy dead-head stuff. Like a total personality change. I also usually dismount after riding, though I didn't at one show because I was shaking horribly and I had half a mile or more uphill to walk to the stables and was afraid I would collapse. And I'm totally with you on the walking. I walk Fiction for ages/let him graze after running XC rather than stick him back in the stall. I just feel like it helps eliminate any cramping/seizing up of muscles that might happen (that happen to me when I exercise an insane amount and then just...stop).

  3. Yep! I am ALLLLL about the hopping right off/loosening girth/walking/hand-grazing/turnout post XC, or any hard work really. I actually get off and hand walk Dino once around the ring after every single ride, and he lives out, so he gets instant turnout. It's better for them to just 'walk it off' instead of being wrapped in a stall, at least in my opinion!

  4. I love his screaming pictures :) This is pretty similar to my routine at a hunter/jumper show, except we always don't have a place to graze and I do a liniment bath pretty religiously. You take good care of your sweet boy!

  5. I've seen an endurance Arab tie up from poor after care, its so important! I like just hand-walking them around a bit after a good workout, its a relief for them, and good for human legs to stretch out too.

  6. Sounds like a great system, and I have to say that screaming picture is hilarious!!

  7. thanks for breaking this down! i'm new to the post-care scene and had some ideas of what i ought to be doing, but no real formal plan (other than keep the mare walking). this helps!!

  8. =) Great photos! I loosen the girth, but I typically stay mounted so we get back to the barn faster. Hemie tends to really strut because he's so proud of himself! And I do the same care once back at the stall, minus overnight wrapping.

  9. Miles is a princess and gets ALL THE CARE ... even though he jumps 3-4 2'6" hunter courses/day. Liniment, standing wraps, hosing, scraping, hand walking, hoof packing... etc. etc. ad nauseum.

  10. I cant STAND seeing people ride their horses back from cross - ugh! Biggest pet peeve.

    We always poultice after ever cross round - I had it ingrained into my head as a kid. I turn mine out overnight too...I think they enjoy the leg stretchies!

  11. Great post!! I've only ever been able to find info about post XC care at upper levels, and with me just aiming for BN next year I figured that would be a little excessive. I absolutely get off, loosen the girth, and walk back as well. Also, I wish my mom took pictures as well as yours does!

  12. I love hearing about the nuts and bolts of eventing. I'm hoping to get there someday!

  13. I enjoy reading about all of it! So happy for you that your parents where there with you - mom did a great job with pics!

  14. The nuts and bolts of horse care are always interesting! :)