All the varieties of show horse, be they hunter, hack, or harness animals, require a similarity of treatment in order to prepare them for competition in the show-ring. It is, of course, evident that each variety must require a little different schooling, but all are fed and managed on the same lines, the object of the owners of each being to send their animals in before the judges in as blooming condition as possible, not so fat as to lather and blow, but quite fat enough to conceal their faults, and as fit and fresh as is possible for them to be. High feeding is consequently a must important feature of the preparation of a show horse, save of course in the case of the deep-ribbed, gross animals, which, if over-fed, let down too much about the belly, and these must be treated to plenty of judicious work, and be only fed upon sound, hard grain, with a little chaff and hay.
Should the animal be brought up from grass, it is a good plan to give him a dose of aloes (about 5 drachms for a big horse, and less in proportion for smaller ones), preceded by two or three bran mashes, and after that the less physic he gets the better. In the case of a short-ribbed horse, a good deal of time must be spent in endeavouring to get his belly to drop, and thereby take away the tucked-up appearance which disfigures so many movers. If this end is finally accomplished it will generally be through the assistance of a system of feeding which, though it does not commend itself to a man who requires his horses for work, is absolutely essential to the purpose of a stud-groom who is in charge of a naturally short-ribbed, narrow-middled animal. Great care should be exercised in the cleansing and washing out of his manger after every feed, and the removal of every particle he has not consumed. It is best to mix all his grain with chopped stuff well damped or even scalded, as the moisture assists in dropping the body and thereby concealing the shortness of rib. The eternal question of exercise depends, as it does in the race-horse and trotter (which see), upon the discretion of the trainer, as not only do constitutions vary in horses, but in the case of high-movers the feet will be much less tried by the lofty action of some than will be the case in others. There is not, however, any great necessity to give the majority of show horses very severe work, though in the case of the hunter, which should appear muscular, it is desirable that he should be ridden regularly and supplied with plenty of hard food. As the amount of exercise is therefore somewhat limited, and the feeding light, a periodical dose, perhaps once a month or so, of an alterative medicine should be administered, and this, with the addition of some carrots to the diet, will usually succeed in keeping the blood in order.