I have a 17.2hh 6 year old Walker mare I am retraining. She has been abused and sored, so things are being taken at a snail's pace despite her protests to go just a bit faster. Her pads were taken off in early July, and I thought by this time I would still be teaching her what trees are (she has never been in a pasture before). What has sped up her recovery and training has been jumping. I have never seen a horse enjoy themselves as much as she does when she's going over a log or free longing over 6" jumps. Everything is very small, and I am increasing by about 2" a month depending on how her legs look. I have been taking her into the semi-ground cleared area of our land, letting her step over low logs and generally get used to being ridden. So far, she has done beyond my wildest dreams.
I have discovered in our rides together that she likes to chase and look for things. I have a 1 1/2 year old German Shepherd that makes it her job to hide so that my mare and I have to go find her. We will do this for hours on end, and it really builds up some good muscle in my mare while making her find her feet. She doesn't realize that she's been working because she's truly enjoying herself. Because she is incredibly ADD there are few ways to really "work" her as she becomes distracted if a squirrel runs up a tree several miles away. But when she is looking for that little dog, she stays on task and everyone says she is a bloodhound in horse form because she will put her nose to the ground and sniff now and again.
Other than hunting, are there any competitions or shows that involve this kind of thing? We have become quite good at it, and we both like it enough that I would really like to find a group that competes. I live in the south eastern US, so I would not like to venture further north than Kentucky or maybe Indiana near Louisville, west than Alabama, keeping the Carolinas and Florida in mind. A few of my friends have suggested working with her and then offering to help with something like Equisearch, but I worry about her height with doing that.