headset at home.. no headset at the show. HELP.

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headset at home.. no headset at the show. HELP.

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    08-08-2008, 10:47 PM
headset at home.. no headset at the show. HELP.

My 10 year old quarter horse mare has a wonderful headset... at home. She is very soft on her mouth, and at most shows she keeps her head at a comfortable place.. but she does not want to cooperate and put it level (the traditional western pleasure headset) which she does at home! I use the same equipment at home as I do at shows, and I just can't figure it out. HELP!!
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    08-08-2008, 11:24 PM
Green Broke
Your horse is more confertable at home, and so are you. Horses feed of what your feeling, I know a horse that is perfect with headseat outside the ring and even inside when its just practice, but when it comes to show show time. Its head goes straight up because the girl is nervous. Maybe just cool your nerves and don't sweat it. It might help
    08-09-2008, 01:29 AM
My thoughts are it isn't the horse that's the problem, it's the rider. When you're practicing at home, you're more relaxed and not really worried about a judge and what gait they're going to call next and if the judge is looking at you, etc. You're most likely more focused on making your horse work properly.

In a show ring, my guess is you're trying to get your horse looking correct, yourself good, keeping an eye on the judge, watching the horses close to you for steering purposes, etc. So in general, you're less focused and more tense. Your horse can feel even the slightest change in your position, so if you tense up nervously they're going to feel it. With a lot of horses, they'll be distracted too.

I suggest that when you get into a show ring, kind of forget about the judge and the fact that you are showing. Ride your horse like you do when you're practicing. If he/she acts up or isn't listening, FIX IT. Because if they learn that 'oh when I get in the show ring I can do whatever I feel like because the person on my back won't do crap in here' your horse is learning the wrong thing and it'll only get worse. If you need to throw away a class to get your horse to do its job, do it. I've had to do it a couple of times with my horse. I was trying to do that western riding pattern (the second one since I started one-handed on him) and he was just all of the place, wouldn't get his leads and finally I got pissed. I went two handed, forced his head down, made him pick up his leads and back up, and then all was good. I got DQed I'm sure but even the judge said to me 'sometimes you gotta just throw one away' and he was laughing. I definitely agree with him.

So anyway. Ride in the show ring like you ride practicing. Don't forget about the judge all together, but try not to worry too much about them either. All it is (at small open shows, which I'm assuming you're talking about) is a $5 opinion. :)
    08-09-2008, 09:20 AM
I agree with the advise you were given but there is more to consider. How much experience does your horse have at a show? Sometimes it is all the commotion and noise that makes her want to look around and take it all in.

Try taking her to a show just to be there. Ride her around the grounds and hang out at the arena fence. Let her have some experience.

Another thing I might try is to enter a small show as a training tool. If she has a good deal of show experience then she may be smart enough to know that you will not correct her in the arena during her class. At a small show, you may want to throw away the class and correct her in the ring. Be very mindful of the other contestants so as not to interfere in any way with their performance.

Just some thoughts.

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