Sousa was in his first show yesterday. It has been exactly six months since I picked him up off the backstretch of the racetrack. It was a local schooling show and we wanted to see how he would do. (and how I would do for that matter ) I am pleased to report that we pinned 5th in low hunter and 6th in pleasure hunter flat class. But it wasnt an easy day, as he was pretty tense in the ring at certain times. I would appreciate some training tips/advice on the following issues:
- So he would trot along nicely then suddenly rear up and whinny with excitement. Not sure if this is a "track flashback" but it rattled me. I would immediately ask him to circle and bring his attention back. He would be fine for a while and then do it again. I never fell or anything, but it was very unsettling;
- of course him getting tense didnt help me either. I am sure that my nervousness over his occasional spazz attacks made it worse. Whats the best way to convey "fearless leader" when you are panicked?
- We cantered in front of the judge beautifully, and as soon as he passed the viewing stand he heard a pony galloping up behind him and took off! I think he was back to the races. His back end kicked up a bit and it took some work to settle him. I was just panicked about cantering again after that. He felt like a timebomb ready to explore.
In all, we completed 6 classes and pinned in 2. He even jumped crossrails in one! My trainer thinks that we need to begin taking him to more shows, even if he isnt entered, to get him used to the environment. We also think we should lunge him before each show to "get the kicks out".
He was a handsome and flashy boy in the ring and came off very well, even if a bit unruly.
At home this guy is so calm you can't believe it. So his behavior threw me off a bit. I am worried that now I am scared to show, but I know I'll get over it. Any tips on getting the jitters out before an event? Is this something that practice will help resolve over time?