Taking Young Horse to Show
My sister and I have raised and trained our 1 1/2 year old since he was born. He has come a long way and I'm proud of what we have taught him so far. Since we plan on showing him in riding classes when he is older we would like to start him out showing in halter possibly as a two year old. He has been trailered a lot. He had problems at first but he's very good at it now but we've never hauled him anywhere. Should be haul him places before we take him to shows? Should we haul him alone or with another horse? I don't want him to have a panic attack at a show because he's alone but I don't want him to be dependent on other horses when we go to shows. I've had enough experience with horses being buddy sour.
In my opinion, the more places you take a young horse, the better. He should learn how to travel alone and with other horses, and continue to pay attention to his handler in any situation. If you feel you can safely trailer him, unload him, and get him reloaded, by all means do so! You can best predict your own horse - if you think he'll be better with a horsey friend the first time, bring one. My 2 year old is pretty quiet, so I expect he will travel ok solo when that time comes for us.
That said, some shows only allow horses on site who are competing. If non showing animals are allowed at your venue, you may still need to pay a grounds fee or trailer fee. Have your coggins/health papers on hand, too. Good luck!
Haul him, haul him, haul him.
I took my 2-yr-old with to every show I went. Sometimes there'd be a halter class I could show him in, but usually he just stood tied to the trailer All. Day. Long. I lead him around some too, to see the sights and sounds (if I wasn't showing him that day).
He trailers and ties like an old pro now. He put up a fit initially, but he very quickly figured out it was no big deal.
I feel that the more places you can take them when they are young, the better.
A big step before showing is to haul to other places first. Take him to other barns or to a friends place who has horses. Doing this will help gain confidence in going away, doing something, and then coming back home, it will also help you gauge his reactions to being in a new place with different horses.
I would definitely suggest hauling your yearling. It'll be good practice.
More than that, I would suggest hauling him to shows, if that is an option in your area. It will give him an idea of what to expect, and you can start to desensitize him, since show grounds are probably unlike anything he's ever seen before.
Definitely haul him to shows whether or not you are actually going to show him that day. The best thing for him, desensitize him, and if you aren't showing, then you aren't putting the pressure on yourself, and him by extension by wanting him to be "perfect" in the ring. I took my Arabian to a few shows and just rode her or led her around the grounds, to let her get used to things, when I wasn't planning on showing, so there was no pressure for anything. After the initial "what is all this madness", she settled right down, and has been great. Really helped her do well when we trailered her across the country. I would maybe find a couple friends with horses that are planning on showing to go with, so he isn't alone, but his "buddy" isn't another horse that isn't showing, and will be standing next to him all day, or his neighbor who is always there, and that will help keep him from getting too attached. Good luck!
I'll pile on here and agree with everyone to take young horses wherever you possibly can.
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Thanks everyone. Hopefully we'll get to haul him a lot next year and we may haul him to some other random places (like my trainer's place) to give him experience. It's hard to say whether he'd be better with a buddy or without. Since our horses are in a pasture with each other all day he is already a little buddy sour and I don't want him to continue that. I guess we'll have to just try it and find out!
I agree with all the above, haul him :)
I have my long yearling and a three year old colt that I will be packing round with me this year to shows and the trainers place. My long yearling is already pretty good at it. The previous owner took him to barrel races and rodeos.
My horses are all turned out together too. So I just catch one at a time bring them up to the barn, tie them up, give them a little grain, brush and pick out their feet, then leave them tied by themselves while I do stuff around the barn so they get used to being tied up alone. They might paw or make a little noise at first but mine get over it pretty quick. It might help you to do something similar for when you haul them and leave them tied to the trailer by themselves :)
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