Join Date: May 2009
Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
I wouldn't much change anything. I have a very hot Arab mare, and while I don't game, I spent most of my teenage years racing anybody who challanged me on her, so I get to deal with the backlash of that now. Surprisingly, she's ace at shows. I've ridden her on so many big group trail rides, and her first show was just being ridden in the warm up ring, so she's fine at shows. We actually did a gymkhana last summer and she was pro - one of the only horses who WALKED into the arena every time!
Just make sure you're doing lots of warmup, lots of schooling in the warmup ring. It's funny because there's this one girl who competes at the gymkhanas who was an amazing horse. They're always first in the warmup ring, and he schools like a pro - he rides like a top broke reiner. The first few times we saw him, we thought for sure we were toast. Nope - all that schooling was worthless because she never bothered teaching him to be a sane BARREL horse. They lost every competition except barrel racing and even then they barely placed because he was so worked up.
You know how to keep a sane barrel racer, so the trick is to keep a sane school horse as well! At the first couple of shows, if he's spazzing, TAKE THE LOSS. Use it as a schooling experience and LOPE him around the pattern - keep him calm and quiet and don't be afraid to make sacrifices to keep him sane. It may suck now, but it will only serve you well in the long run!
We just got back from Brandon and for the first time in my life, the CALMEST horse was the one who WON. I was almost in tears I was so proud - he did a nice little jig coming into the arena and WAITED for her. He had plenty of piss and vinegar but she took the time to keep him sane and he was SO calculated and methodic going into his turns, he just blew everyone out of the water. I will NEVER understand how people can believe an out of control horse is going to win.
Best of luck!
I hope God tells her to smash her computer with a sledgehammer.