For many of us these 3DE classes result in us stabling away from home with our horses, ponies and team mates.  A large list ensues with many different requirements, from nutrition to your tack, rugs, bedding, mucking out tools and so much more. While all these items are essential to make the sleep over as comfortable as possible, the importance of your horse or pony’s nutrition must take priority.

As with us, when we book an overnight stay we can be a little unsure what we are to expect, whether the stay will live up to our expectations and when we arrive if we feel comfortable to enjoy a restful night’s sleep.  Our horses and ponies don’t have the advantage of knowing where they have booked and so the sleep over can be quite stressful, a new stable, different friends, strange smells and noises can make it hard for them to settle and as a result they may deliver a fatigued performance.

It is therefore our job to help make them feel as comfortable as possible, this can be delivered through nutrition, with options to help support the fussier feeders.


Most temporary stables are 3m x 3m which in equine terms is just short of a 10 x 10ft box, quite a few are fitted with weave bars or a “V” grill which allows the horse to look out, while some have a complete frame.

There are not many that provide buckets and it is wise to take your own and remove the ones provided.  The bucket may have been used by a horse or pony with a compromised immune system, it also may have previously contained NSAID’s that could result in a positive test – remember the BRC complies with BEFAR[1], a Clean Sport system to determine anti-doping regulation and controlled medication.  This is in force across all FEI equestrian sports and the BRC takes a firm standing to comply with these guidelines.


Basic Requirements

  • Wheelbarrow
  • Mucking out tools
  • Bedding (2 bags of shavings should be sufficient to fill a 10 x 10m)
  • Filled haynets (or bags of hay / haylage to last the duration)
  • Water bucket
  • Feed bowl
  • Hard feed
  • Supplements
  • Water (always good to take some from ‘home’)

For the Horse

  • Rugs (including a turnout rug in case of wet weather
  • Tack
  • Competition gear
  • Tack cleaning kit
  • Water
  • Shoe removal kit
  • Grooming kit
  • Plaiting kit

For the Rider

  • Competition gear
  • Overnight sustenance (food, drinks, bedding)
  • Clothing for all weathers – we all know what changeable weather can be like – take plenty of spares!


We know that nutrition is key to performance, and we have to factor in what our horse or pony becomes when they arrive at a one-day competition.

Do they get stressed?  Do they need an energy boost?  Are they more or less rideable than usual?

Then we have to include in this “normal” behaviour, what they are likely to be feeling with the overnight stay.


For the majority, most tend to be more alert than when at home, adjusting to the new stable with different smells, sights and sounds to adapt to.  For these it is important to help support them nutritionally in order for them to relax and settle into their stay, without the lack of rest hindering performance, these are “the stay awakers”.

Address the stress

NAF recommend Five Star Magic.

Magnesium and calcium have to work together to ensure correct muscle contraction and relaxation occurs.  While calcium helps muscles to tense, magnesium helps to relax the muscle, however in a moment of stress, calcium will become higher in the cells themselves and it is magnesium’s job to rebalance the cell.

Assisting magnesium there are many supporting herbs that when offered in the right combination work towards the regulation of nervous tension and help support trainability.

Settle their tummy

With irregular feeding patterns and more time spent investigating their new surroundings, the digestive system may well become compromised and impede performance.  Most horses eat for around 14 hours + a day which helps to retain a healthy digestion, adequately capable of buffering stomach acid and absorbing nutrients through feed to deliver their best performance.

NAF recommend Instant Biotics

When this routine is interrupted you can support by offering nutrients for acid build up and top up with instant biotics to help address the microbiome fast, ultimately settling their tummy.  For most of us we look to address daily gut support which is again why as with stress, a top up for their daily quota can prove beneficial.


There are some that enjoy the privilege of going away, it can mean enjoying the snack of fresh grass from the floor of their new stable, preserved forage unlike what is offered at home and lots and lots of attention and treats!  Meet, ‘the total dozers’.

Wake them up

NAF recommend EnerG Shot

Refocusing their attention on the task in hand can be a trial in itself which is why it is always worth being able to provide a little energy nutritionally.  Rather than offering a high starch offering of oats, look towards the right vitamins and trace elements, this can include electrolytes.  As essential salts are lost through sweat we must top them up to ensure correct bodily function.  The metabolism of energy itself is underpinned by the presence of copper and zinc while vitamin B complexes support the health and efficiency of red blood cells.


Keeping everything looking clean and fresh, including yourself with an overnight stay can be a daunting task. It is always useful no matter what colour you have to contend with to carry a great stain remover, one that really can get the muck off effortlessly, it may save getting the area too wet and not having the time to dry.

‘Jelly hands’ can be a sign of nerves – which is only normal, but trying to plait the morning of, can be a real challenge, some help with grip and ease of plaiting thanks to unique plaiting sprays can help you achieve plaiting genius!

For those that event, applying after cross country a cooling clay will help to support sound tight, clean legs during the overnight period. Make sure you have a clay that is as easy to apply as it is to wash off without being too abrasive. You can also enjoy a refreshing wash off with a cooling wash to support cleansing, cooling and revitalising the coat.

Finally, to help keep you both looking pristine, look for a fast acting leather cleanser and cleaner that you can simply wipe over tack and boots to give you that last minute shine!

To discuss any nutritional queries you may have about staying away and retaining that all important performance, please do not hesitate to contact NAF using our FREE Nutritional Advice Line. Call 0800 373 106 or email [email protected].

[1] BEFAR = BEF Equine Anti-Doping and Controlled Medication Rules

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