How to prepare a green horse for a show - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 05-27-2010, 11:23 PM Thread Starter
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How to prepare a green horse for a show

In another thread, this topic was barely touched on, but I thought it was a little too off topic. So I started this thread.

I believe there are a lot of things you can do to prepare your horse for a show (as far as not being nervous or badly behaved).

What are some of the things you do? I like to invite a bunch of people over to ride and then sit around and make lots of noise while the horses are tied up. I like to play a loud radio every now and then, followed by hauling to all kinds of events where there are PA's. I also like to make them get used to being away from their herdmates.

Learning never stops
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post #2 of 8 Old 05-27-2010, 11:31 PM
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I usually start by making sure they are well behaved on the ground. I work with my horses on the ground all the time, from leading, tieing to different things, bathing, clipping, etc. I also like to go for trail rides where they can't know what is going to happen, I take them into the bush and also into town where they get exposed to many different and new things. The good thing about going into town is that they have to deal with the noise and traffic. I have found that once my horses have experianced this showing is nothing.

That's about it I guess, I have found that the best thing for them is to just go. You can do as much prep work as you want but you will never know for sure what your horse is going to do. If you get it out of the way early on in their training then you are ahead of the game. I take my horses to show in their 2yr old year when they are still learing to deal with new things. The good thing I have found with this is that they are still in that "I don't know what's suppost to be scary so I'm just going to take my que from you" stage. This way if I'm calm then they tend to stay calm.
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post #3 of 8 Old 05-27-2010, 11:50 PM
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I just get out and do it. I'm not a big believer in 'setting up' situations for my horses - I would rather put them in the real thing and deal with it there.

I'm lucky in that I can take my horses to PC where there are lots of horses and different things going on. I pony green horses a lot, through the city and beside an industrial area with a recycling plant that makes some horrible noises.

I've never really had any issues at a show.

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post #4 of 8 Old 05-27-2010, 11:50 PM
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I make sure that the horse I am showing is well behaved with me before I take him out. He can't be misbehaving or anything like that. I sometimes take them out into the bush depending on the weather (heat + sun = snakes). But mostly I just make sure that they are going perfectly in the arena, moving off my leg nicely and listening to all of my aides.
Then I take them to the competition, just a small one to start out with. Usually 50 horses max. Then I can pinpoint what he's scared of easier. I found out at Toby's first show that he's terrified of horsedrawn vehicles, the neighbouring garden nursery and being tied to trees.
SO... I grabbed a wheelbarrow and carted it around and around and around with feed in it, until he stopped freaking out and saw that it wasn't hurting me and that he wouldn't get feed until he could eat out of it. He's now fine with horse drawn carts and I've done similar things with his other fears. Now because he's getting used to me and getting used to completely random things, he's not spooking at everything that moves at a competition.
He's really the only spooky horse I've had - Barcoo and Joe are bombproof and excitement proof. Pretty silly, because Toby raced at Flemington racetrack in Melbourne -_-

...Every rider has that one horse that changes everything about them...
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post #5 of 8 Old 05-28-2010, 12:14 AM
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I try my very best to not change a thing a week before the show. Same routine if possible, that way everything seems a bit 'normal' to them. We practice loading and unloading, standing tied at the trailer or a tree...loud noises arent much of a problem as we have a pretty loud barn full of birds and other animals. My favorite tip came from my first horse 20 years ago. He was very picky about his water and would only drink at the farm. He would get one cup of apple juice in every bucket (a farmer suggested jack daniels but i was a wee bit too young to be buying whiskey!) I do this for all our horses that show now. The last thing you need at a horse show is a horse who will not drink!
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post #6 of 8 Old 05-28-2010, 08:14 AM
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Let him do many and more adventures. You should always try to give a healthy environment to him.
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post #7 of 8 Old 05-28-2010, 05:27 PM
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I'm with Wild Spot on this one. Sure, you can do things to help desensitize your horse, but IMO the best way to prepare your horse for a show is to just take him there. Whenever there's a free spot on the trailer I always throw in a few greenies just to get them in a new place, see new things, learn how to work in a new environment, etc. Hopefully by the time they're actually going to enter the show ring they've been a few places and it won't be as big a deal (although sometimes it still is!). Also my priority is that it's a positive experience for them so they won't dread getting back on the trailer the next time.
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post #8 of 8 Old 05-28-2010, 05:31 PM
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I can throw stones into a show park from where my horses are... so I just take them over there when a show is being hosted to get them used to the action.
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