preparation for horses first show. - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 02-05-2011, 01:12 PM Thread Starter
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preparation for horses first show.

This spring the barn i used to work at are having their annual dressage show; while i worked and rode there i entered in the intro classes on the school horses. This year i want to take my own horse along and enter him, basically to see how he handles it and see what he does. I was thinking of entering him into the intro a and b tests since his canter is still a little unbalanced.

I talked yesterday to the barn manager where i board and she's going to help me set up a small dressage arena in one of the fields so we can practice.

How can i best prepare him to leave the comfort of his own barn and go into the show ring for the first time? i know they have an outdoor arena which they will mostly likely use and that they like to set up flowers and such, plus they have a judges box which will be completely new for him. I can prepare him for flowers i think, and set up plastic chairs and get a group of the boarders to come watch me so he can get used to a crowd of people but what else can i do?

I want him to be as prepared as possible because the barn owner that is holding the show told me a few years ago that my horse way too dangerous to ride and i should get rid of him. I realize this could potentially blow up in my face but he used to live at this barn and it's familiar to him so i thought it would be the best schooling show to test him out at.
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post #2 of 11 Old 02-05-2011, 02:55 PM
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Can you take your horse to couple different, "kiddie" type, cheap shows beforehand?

That's my plan with my mare. I hope to start showing her, but she has just 1 show experience back when she was a baby. So I'm thinking about going to couple of those cheap "all types" shows (western, english, barrels, all-in-one-place), so she could see/feel for itself and get some experience.
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post #3 of 11 Old 02-05-2011, 03:44 PM Thread Starter
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Maybe, i hadn't thought of that. i could look around and see what's in the area. the reason i thought of this one is it's a schooling show and would probably cost me less than $75 to haul him there, board him overnight (the night before so he can calm down a bit) and enter the classes i was going to enter him in.

i'll definitely look into other "kiddie" type of shows though thanks.
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post #4 of 11 Old 02-15-2011, 10:54 AM
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Try just taking him to a couple different barns with arenas set up outside. Most barns either charge nothing or a low ring fee. It's worth it to practice.

There isn't any guarantee that the horse will react calmly to the old stable. You could even take him there, though.

What we used to do with a horse that was a little 'iffy' about going to new places, is take him to the show grounds (or the stable where the show will be) and board him there a couple days before the show.

Bu we also had a routine for places they'd never seen before. Haul in as soon as show mgt allows, and take the horses out and start hand grazing them all over the show area. Lots and lots and lots of EATING. Eat, eat, eat. Graze around all the rings, graze around where the classes will be, graze around the warmup areas.

Then ride in all the different rings and warmups. A little time riding in each. Ride all over the show grounds. THEN MORE EATING...LOL. AMAZING how that works, LOL!!!

An especially good place to have them eat is all around the judge's box, so they see it from all angles.

When you go into the ring to ride your test, trot around the outside of the ring for as long as you can, do a few little tiny steps of leg yield to one side or the other, if the horse needs to keep his mind occupied, move along at a determined speed and don't try to hold the horse back. Stop at the judge's box and WALK past, say 'hi' to the judge - that always makes a person relax. And immediately pick up the trot again.

Why walk past the judge's box? Well, for one, you throw less mud on the judge. For two, as said it relaxes the rider. For 3 it relaxes the horse. But instead of doing a lengthy walk, you immediately pick up the trot again so the horse's attention stays on you. Then when you go down the centerline, think of that halt as just the same thing, going to just pause a moment and then go on.
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post #5 of 11 Old 02-16-2011, 09:49 PM Thread Starter
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I hadn't actually thought about just taking him places, i didn't think barns would allow that. maybe i can convince my friend to trailer him and she can bring her mare who desperately needs to get out and go places.

I wanted to take him the day before and board him over night and ride him/walk him around to let him see the new judges booth and the set up and such. Luckily my boy loves to eat so he'd be great at that.

great advice to trot around but walk past the judge. last show i did on a school horse i walked around the outside thinking it would keep her calmer, **** mare spooked at every single thing, she even spooked out of the arena and got us disqualified.
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post #6 of 11 Old 02-16-2011, 10:09 PM
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The barn I ride at tries to school frequently at another barn during the winter to keep the horses that show more often in the summer on their game. It gives them different jumps and such to look at. We do have to pay to use the arena, but it does help.

My grandparents and I normally tried to school our Standies as well at a real track so that they would get used to the different look and see the grandstands and such.

It sounds like you have easy access to a trailer, so call multiple barns in the area to see if you would be able to go over on the weekend to school, or possibly even use their trails after a bit of arena work.

It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows. --Epictetus
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post #7 of 11 Old 02-22-2011, 08:43 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the help guys, unfortunately my tailer person has refused to take me in may due to her not wanting to miss a second of trail riding weather. I'm currently looking into other trailering options but i might have to postpone his first show until maybe october.
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post #8 of 11 Old 02-28-2011, 04:45 AM
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Thats unfortunate that you may not be able to get out to your show! I wouldn't waste that time however if you are still intent on getting out to shows this year. Even if you can't get out to different barns due to no trailers try to get your horse used to different situations and environments even if its just around your own barn. Do ground work to build trust and introduce him to new obstacles in your everyday riding. I've definitely been in your situation before where getting off the property to prepare for a show is not an option and I used to put different things under fences and around the ring to practice getting my horse focused and listening to me rather than staring down the basket of flowers that wasn't there yesterday!
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post #9 of 11 Old 02-28-2011, 08:24 AM
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Well maybe someone else can take you. There are probably a lot of people going to the show, and often all they charge is a little bit for gasoline. I bet if you nose around you'll find something.

I often had to miss shows due to work, you can still do a lot in your lessons. You could even have a 'mock show' at your own barn - ride some tests with your instructor, even have her give you a score and comments. You can print up the tests and have your own show.
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post #10 of 11 Old 02-28-2011, 10:39 AM Thread Starter
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Oh don't worry i won't waste the time, i'm waiting for the weather to improve slightly and then i'm going to find obstacles and such. i'm also going to start him hacking out, i can go through our barn and into next doors place and from there onto a quiet-ish road. I also found a barn pretty close to mine that i think with some practice my horse and i could ride too for some lessons. they also offer jumping lessons and such so that'll be something to consider.

I'm still looking around for someone who's going to the show to see if i can catch a ride, i also have 1 possibility at the barn if i can get a hold of the woman who has a trailer she might be willing to let me borrow.

I'm not giving up that easily. :)
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