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Show Trunk Secrets – with Reesa Pihu

Monday, 02 January 2017
Show Trunk Secrets

In the next part of our Show Trunk Secrets, we learn more about the routines of Reesa Pihu – who works as Edwina Tops-Alexander’s show groom.

Reesa has travelled the world with the Australian rider’s horses, the little but mighty Lintea Tequila being her favourite; “Tequila has such a big character, she has her ways – but we have learned to accept her as she is. And she is fantastic.” 


“I travel my horses with bandages on all four legs, and travel boots on top of the hind bandages as well as bell boots on the front legs. The travel boots over the bandages behind will help to protect the hocks.

Normally we don’t give the horses hay when we drive. Only if they have a really long trip and they need to stand all day on the lorry, they would get hay. For flying I like to keep things simple; they get food, hay and water.

We keep an eye on the horses all the time when we are travelling, to see that they are ok and to see what kind of blankets they need on – depending on the temperatures.

Some horses need a bigger space and some horses need a narrow place. Caretina and Tequila for example need a totally different kind of space when they travel. Every horse is different, so I do every horse differently. I know that some things might work on one horse but not on another; I would not treat each horse the same.

My only tip for the driving is, if I am tired I stop at a parking place and sleep – it is the only thing that really works.”

Tack and ring refinement…

“We are using the bridles from PS of Sweden, while our breastplates, saddles and boots are from our sponsor Amerigo. I think their products are really nice, and made with good leather.

For the ring, I plait the horses for the bigger classes and if I have extra time. If I need to do something else with the horses, I will do that first – for me the plaiting is the last thing I will do. Yes, they will look really nice plaited but if the horses need to go out more and move, I will do that first as I think this is more important. If some of the horses have a really thin mane and it is not enough for nice plaits, I do not plait them.

I try not to wash the horses too much. If it is really hot then I wash them, but if it is not necessary I prefer not to because too much washing takes away the natural protection of the skin. The hoofs I like to pack after jumping, but not all the horses and not every day so that they don’t get too used to it. I use oil and cream for the hoofs to keep them supple. I ice the legs after jumping and I use zinc bandages, they work really well for increasing the blood flow in the legs and taking away the strain of the jumping. I really like to use them on all the horses – not after every time of jumping, but depending on how each horse feels.”

Feeding and keeping fit…

“We feed our horses with Red Mills products. As Red Mills has a lot of various types of food, all the horses are on different diets. Some of them metabolize and digest their food differently, especially while they are traveling and obviously some of them put on weight much easier than other ones. They often lose weight with the traveling, so we like to keep an eye on this. At home we weigh them a few times a month, and keep a file so we can compare and look back to their ideal weight.

We don’t have a walker so we do a lot of hand walks. It is better for the horses to move in various and different ways, not only in a circle for hours. We try to take the horses out for grass, for lunging, riding and hacking out. The horses are ridden every day for around 45 minutes, sometimes again in the woods or on the race track. We also use a water treadmill. We don’t use the fields very much, except for Toti and Socrates.

The horses don’t jump very much at all, and every program is totally different depending on the horse. We currently have two full time dressage riders and four riders for jumping, that also involves a lot of young horses that we have. It depends on each horse, but normally they can go out about five times per day. Our horses are really well taken care of and it takes a lot of good teamwork – we are a big group of people.” 


As told to World of Showjumping by Reesa Pihu // Text and pictures © World of Showjumping by Nanna Nieminen and Jenny Abrahamsson

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