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oliveoats 07-26-2013 03:38 PM

First gymkhana for me and my horse! Tips?
Hello everyone! I found out today that my stables are hosting a gymkhana tomorrow, and decided to spontaneously sign up for two classes! I'm going to do poles and barrels. Sawyer and I have participated in two clinics to learn the patterns for both of these and have actually practiced each about four times.

I don't plan on going out there to win ANYTHING. I am doing this because my horse has been under saddle a little over a year and gets nervous in large groups. I've participated in clinics to get him around groups of horses, and he has shown improvement, but he has never been in a large group of people. My horse is currently working on his arena cantering skills, getting his canter under control and working on picking up correct leads. Due to the fact that he is only about 70% on picking up leads, and is not relaxed cantering in the arena, I plan on doing my two classes in his running walk (TWH). I am nervous that if I do canter him and he gets too excited and bucks, that I won't be able to properly reprimand him while I'm on the timer and he may pick up bad habits.

I just was wondering if anyone had advice to help my horse relax. He is a bit of a high strung boy in new situations, and I don't want this to be a petrifying horrible experience for him. Thank you in advanced, I will try to post some photos of our fun day!

CandyCanes 07-26-2013 03:46 PM

Yah! First gymkhana.
First of all, when you arrive, get him out of the box straight away, and walk him about everywhere so he sees everything! Once he's totally calm, you can mount and start working him in. Loads and loads of transitions, until he's really listening to you.
When your class(es) is about to start, keep him calm.
For the weaving, just take your time. As you said yourself, your not bothered about winning.
Its better to come last, and have achieved something, than first with a ruined horse.
For barrels, again the same thing. Take it slow. Keep him calm, and don't excite him.
Good luck, and do post pictures!

oliveoats 07-26-2013 03:50 PM

Thank you for your advice, glad to know I'm on the right track :)

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