My OTTB's First Show Was Yesterday! - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 27 Old 10-04-2010, 05:31 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Washington DC
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So we had our first lesson after our show debut yesterday. He was such a good, calm, easy boy. Worked on things I need to do better getting into a real working trot. My trainer said I was trotting too slow at certain times in the hunter show ring. We practiced "surging" for three strides, slowing down, surging again, so he and I get better and adjusting our speed. THEN, we cantered an entire course for the first time! He took some tight turns, which months ago he NEVER could have done well due to balance issues. Its so fun to see him (and my progress).

I just cant believe how easy he is cantering fences. He measures himself, all I have to do is steer. I can almost feel him concentrating on where to take off. When I used to ride certain school horses, I had to help them figure out their strides or they would take a "stutter step". My OTTB just knows when to jump and all I have to do is look forward to the next fence to help him know his lead. Its remarkable, and underscores his intelligence.

He didnt act spazzy like he did a few times at the show. So, this weekend we are taking him to a dressage show with my trainer just to school and watch. (he's a hunter, so we dont compete dressage). Its just to get him more experience in a show environment. Appreciate all your great advice!
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post #12 of 27 Old 10-04-2010, 05:42 PM
Green Broke
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Well done on your achievements! It is always a bit of a gamble taking an OTTB to their first show as they almost always think they are back at the track and it gets the adrenilin pumping, resulting in a rather exciteable horse! I think you did great, and to place in a couple of events, that really is the icing on the cake hey?

Good idea taking him out again just for experience, that way the association with competitions and being back at the track can have a chance to fade away in his memory. Good luck with him!

All horses deserve, at least once in their lives, to be loved by a little girl.
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post #13 of 27 Old 10-05-2010, 01:32 AM
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Good job taking hi out!!

Unfortunately this is often the case with ottb's, at the races they're so hyped up, they know they're going to gallop flat out in a bunch of other horses so it's expected that they'll be quite a handful at their few few outings.
The best thing for him will be to take him to as many outings as you possible can. Trail rides, take him to a friends house for a ride with them, shows etc. Anything!! Just get him out as much as you can to give him exposure. Eventually he'll come to the realisation that he's not going to have to run, and will start to settle.

I prefer to just take mine to a few led shows before getting into the ridden ones. This avoids what you had problems with, horse gets tense, then you get tense and it's a vicious circle which results in an overall tense outing for the horse. If you enter some led classes, or even just take him along to the comp ground for the day that will be of enormous benefit to both of you. Get him off the float, walk him around the grounds, do as much in hand/ground work as you can to get his brain focussed and back between his ears, then go back to the float, tie him up with a hay bag and sit and watch the show. Give him a few hours to settle at the float, and if he seems content with being there, and your nerves have gone, saddle him up, take him out to a quiet corner of the grounds, ground work him again to get his focus and then hop on and go for a nice sedate walk letting him take in all the sights and sounds.

That's my routine for at least the first few outings, it does depend on the horse, others settle quicker than some, but I won't enter a ridden comp until the horse is settled going out.
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post #14 of 27 Old 10-07-2010, 11:47 AM Thread Starter
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It turns out that there is a dressage show at the SAME PLACE our first show was two weeks ago. I dont show dressage, but I am taking my OTTB along with the team so he can do exactly what you suggest, Kayty. I will just hack him and let him watch and settle.

The great thing is that the next hunter show, in the same place, is two weeks later! So, it will be his 3rd time there when we compete again. Hopefully by then he's feeling like this show thing is "old hat".
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post #15 of 27 Old 10-07-2010, 11:20 PM
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My mare was the same way for a while around other horses. I just rode her through it.

The only thing that will help him get over his excitement is just going and being exposed to the show setting; whether you ride, or exhibition ride, or just hang out on the grounds and ride around a bit. He will soon figure out that this is just like home, just with a few more horses. Focus on keeping his attention rather than winning, or placing in classes; do what you have to (within reason), to keep him focused on you.

"The ideal horseman has the courage of a lion, the patience of a saint, and the hands of a woman..."
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post #16 of 27 Old 10-12-2010, 03:58 PM Thread Starter
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We have decided to take him back to the same show location on October 24th. That will be exactly one month since he was last there, with one off-site schooling at another barn in between. The show will have all the same classes, basically a repeat.

My trainer suggested we get to the showgrounds, lunge him, then walk him around the schooling ring during the warm up. She also suggested that she could get on him and work him for a while if I prefer. I like the idea! If he has jitters, she is more experienced, and it will keep me from tensing up.

Is there any down side to this idea?
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post #17 of 27 Old 10-14-2010, 03:49 PM
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The first time I took my OTTB to a show it took me 40 min to get on him he was so hyped up. It took exposure to get him calmed down, he was also very lazy at home. I lunged him for the first couple of shows and took him for a walk and it helped. Now he just walks off the trailer and goes to work. Good luck to you guys, the more you get out there the calmer it will be!
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post #18 of 27 Old 10-17-2010, 09:28 PM
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Let us know how the shows went! I love to hear about OTTB's progress :)
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post #19 of 27 Old 10-19-2010, 12:12 PM
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About having your trainer get on at the show - that can be a great idea!! Having more experience will make her calmer, and you can watch and see how she works through everything from the ground. Conversely- if possible you could ride a more experienced horse, so that all you have to worry about is yourself.

Its normal to be nervous at shows. What helps me is getting into a routine dressing and tacking up, that I do every time. There is calm in ritual, and that starts to get your mind ready. I also practice everything scarier at home than at a show. You can jump bigger, and if possible, practice riding with lots of horses in the ring so when you get to the show everything looks easy and small!

My last advice is fake it 'til you make it! A couple deep breaths, and a big smile go a long way!

P.S. I have an OTTB also! She is two so we are a ways from show - but hopefully we see you on the show circuit some day!!
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post #20 of 27 Old 10-19-2010, 01:31 PM Thread Starter
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Sousa's second show is this coming sunday, Oct 24th! Last Sunday my trainer took us to a farm he's never visited to school. She had her friend, who owns the place, watch the lesson. She dragged her lawn chair out, opened it while we were trotting, picked up rocks and put them in a bucket, called her dog, and walked her horse by us while working. All of this, of course, is to get some show practice and get him ready for all that entails. He was very "looky"...ears perked and looking all around, but didnt spook or rear once! To get him to pay attention, when he would get distracted, I would lightly jiggle the inside rein and add some leg. I could feel him refocus back on what we were doing. We trotted a crossrail course, then cantered it! His canter is getting better....but still the same problem: he doesnt KEEP doing it until I ask him to stop. I feel like I've run a marathon after circling three times. I tapped him with the crop and he cow-kicked, so I kicked him with my inside leg forward. he just doesnt feel like cantering much, lazy boy. Its funny because he loves to canter a course of fences, his pace is perfect and no "pumping" him to go.

So, we are going to enter WT pleasure hunter/low hunter/equitation. Three WT classes. One cross rail hunter class. And my trainer may show him in the WTC class that day.

Will keep you posted!
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