How and when to start basic training

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How and when to start basic training

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    03-13-2010, 03:27 PM
How and when to start basic training

Nita got me brain storming for this so I'll be starting up a couple threads revolving around the basics. So here it goes, lots of questions.

At what age can you start teaching the basics for showmanship? (once the foal is born, when is it appropriate). I know a foal should be worked with early on, halter broke, handled etc-but actual showmanship handling should be started at what age?

Also what do you do first, and how do you start up a horse to get them ready for Showmanship? (I know Nita had already started this a little bit in a different thread).

What have you all done when starting your mares, geldings, stallions and youngsters? What techniques, methods?

Would love to hear as many experiences as possible. I know we have a lot of halter showers in here, whether it be seasoned or not, please make sure to come post your experience, maybe even pics.

Thanks everyone!
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    03-13-2010, 07:03 PM
Haha, here I come, the showmanship addict!

It depends on the individual horse and how much handling they've had. I usually start my weanlings on it at about 6 months, but that's just because I've had them and built up their trust and confidence already for about 2 months, and they are super smart. They love to learn, so it's easy. The younger they are, the easier, it seems. The thing is, when they're young, you can't expect perfection like you do when the horse is older, because young horses don't have the attention span and they will just get frustrated. I like teaching them younger because it's easier and then it's more natural for them as they get older. My young ones that I start on it usually do very well in the show ring, but the older ones take twice as much work and then I dunno, it's just hard.

I start with a little of everything. Like for 15 mins I'll work on leading by me. That's usually the very first thing. They have to lead by your shoulder. With young horses, don't overcorrect them. They'll want to drag behind, so you might have to swing the rope at them a little to bring them up. So then they'll run ahead of you, but don't correct that immediately because technically, they did what you asked and they wouldn't see what you wanted if you pulled them back. Just bring them back slowly and then walk by them a bit. When they're doing it right, quit. Praise them and then stop working with them for a minute. Then they'll associate the rest with doing the right thing. Then I usually go to backing, then trotting, then pivoting, and last, squaring up. And of course, the quarter system, but that goes with squaring up.

Mares... haha. My mare just took lots and lots of repetition, but since we're defending Grand Champs for 4 years, I guess it paid off!

My babies that I've started have been SUPER easy. Just easier the younger they are I think. Grand champs at fair, reserve champs at state horse show. =) I have another one now, and I think she's going to be the hardest youngster I've done. She's just got the attention span of a squirrel with ADD after drinking 7 cups of espresso though, lol.

Geldings... The two I've taught have been easier than the mares, but harder than the babies. They're more willing, but once they're older, they're kind of set in their ways and it takes just lots of time.

Here's some pics!

Hmm. It seems that my computer is being stupid and will only add one. Oh well. Haha.
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    03-13-2010, 10:33 PM
Great info! Great pic as well!
    03-13-2010, 11:03 PM
My dad halter breaks as foals, then once they are weaned he works on getting them responsive to leading. This means walking when asked, walking at an appopriate pace, and stopping when asked. Then he will asked for trotting/jogging. He really just wants the horse to listen and respond. After that he will introduce backing, pivots and squaring up. I've never actually trained a horse for showmanship, but I know it takes my Dad quite a long time to do it. He says the key is repetition, reward and variation.
    03-13-2010, 11:11 PM
Really for draft its a matter of the handler. It is def. Essential to have the horse listen to you but that kind of develops when you do halter. Like my gelding LOVES to show, which helps out a lot because he does what I want him to do without me having to ask too much. I started really working with him once we got our two geldings. Daisey still needs a bit of work with keeping her head up.
For the most part this is what you do in showmanship for draft. You are to run the horse down and back like in halter. However always make sure you are running slightly sideways so that you are always looking at your horse's feet/speed and looking back at the judge. If they are not picking up the feet high enough you want to pick up the pace. You run down, come to a walk do something like a keyhole and start walking back to the judge in the same line you came down and you finish by trotting/running the horse back. Though I do believe you run with the show stick slightly out in front of their face (if I remember correctly) You stop and set up for the judge. Ideally the horse should set up quickly. This whole time you want to look at the judge.
When you set up you want the front feet slightly apart and the horse to be squared up. Some will lean down to make the horse look taller(that's the object) and if there is a slope in the groud you are to set the horse up facing up the slope again to make them look taller. Then you go back in line up and wait for the rest to finish. Its not essential to have the horse completely set up but to behave. However ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS look at the judge. I was told to basicly stare him down. They do look for that. You need to make it REALLY obvious. Once everyone has gone and is back in the line up that is when you want to get the horse squared up and if the mane is slightly flipped over that's the time to make sure it's all on one side (though on geldings they are to be mane rolled with mane flowers and females are to have their foretops braided both will have tails). The head it always to be up. Never quit showing until the ribbons have been awarded. I've seen people switched places because of this. Sometimes they may ask you questions but i've only ever had this happen once.
It is over all more about how well the person can show that horse and less about what the horse does. They don't ask for pivots or anything else. I find it pretty easy to some extent but then again handling those 1000lb animals going at those speeds def. Takes some talent (at least i'd like to think so)

I hope that helps and didn't bore anyone. : P
    03-13-2010, 11:28 PM
Actually that was really interesting! I didn't know that in draft they tried to make them look taller, though I guess that makes sense lol. Yeah, I've always been told never quit showing until you're out of the ring. And always look at the judge. I used to never do that. I hate staring them down, but I just had to if I wanted to do well. Oh well haha. They always give us a pattern for showmanship. I've never done halter though, my horses have not perfect confo lol. Anyway, I found that interesting!
    03-13-2010, 11:43 PM
You would love draft! They don't judge the horse on confo, just if the person handling it can make the horse look good. : ] I didn't know in other showmanships that they judge on confo... I learned something new as well : D
    03-13-2010, 11:50 PM
Oh, they usually don't, sorry, that was confusing. Some do, it just depends on the show. I thought you were talking about halter as well as showmanship. In draft showmanship, does the height of the horse make a difference?
    03-13-2010, 11:56 PM
It really shouldn't but I think it does to some extent. Like when it comes down to it who made their horse look the tallest. I usually show haffies and the bigger drafts usually win. But if you show the best then you should win. I need to see if I can find the one pic of my haffie and then everyone with drafts around me lol!
    03-14-2010, 12:07 AM
Oh really? Yeah, sometimes at the bigger shows, it becomes kind of political and it pisses me off. You know? Like the ones who really shouldn't have won are winning because they're so obviously the ones with money or the ones whose parents are paying the judge. Seen that one too many times. Oh well though, it makes us better riders in the end.

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