Have you ever used earplugs on a horse at a show? What is you opinion on them?
You first have to check the rules of the show and see if they are even allowed. Then you have to make sure that your horse will tolerate them. The earplugs may not resolve the issue you're trying to address.
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I personally have not, I know several people who do though. I always wanted mine to be exposed to the sounds and loudness so that I wouldn't have to bother with it, but some horses never quite adapt to that and need them. Personally they're a last attempt from me, I'd much rather get a horse used to the sounds and cope with it than have to remember the earplugs and worry about bringing them along and all that. I'd probably forget to take them out too! lol Also be sure to check with the show and make sure that your horse honestly needs them and it isn't just a case of desensitizing him to the environment.
I haven't, and I don't think I ever would.
I like my horses to hear everything that is going on around them and still listen and pay attention to me. I need him to get used to all the sounds around because it can help with all the other unexpected noises on the trail or a quite ride alone, etc.
At this last fair when I showed my horse, Brisco, he was one of the best horses out there. (I'm not trying to brag, but he was.)
There were rodeo cows being unloaded just a few yards away from the arena, A car alarm went off suddenly in one of the quietest times, and the wind was making some of the horses nervous with all the sounds around just moving with the wind.
Almost all the horses got away from their handlers when the car alarm went off - it went off and three horses darted forward and started freaking out. A few behind me freaked out still, but not as bad. And I am not kidding you, my horse was asleep the entire showing time, I'm pretty sure he was sleeping when I was riding him too!
But my horse didn't care about anything that was going on around him, because I have taken him plenty of places and and done many things with him that involve sudden loud sounds, sounds right next to him, sounds far away, etc.
So unless like was Incitatus32 said with the horse needing some, then I would say to not use them. But that is just my opinion.
Well I see what you all are saying- I want him to be used to show sounds- but I've been showing him for 2 years and he still gets distracted. It's not really the sounds of people, cars, announcer's booth, etc, but the other horses nickering that bothers him. He thinks it's my sister's horse that trailers with him and he wants to look and nicker back. There really is no long term solution because we almost always show together and I don't think this will go away. Anyway, I don't really know if I want to use earplugs but I was just wondering if they help.
I've used them on young horses at horse shows. They do not completely block out all of the noise, but have helped a lot when a horse is distracted by all that is going on. If your horse tolerates them, I don't think it would hurt to try them while you work with him. But that is just my opinion based on my experience.
I have used them to teach horses to tolerate gun sounds. However, they are illegal to use in eventing and dressage shows. I don't do hunters, so cannot advise on that discipline.
Be sure to check the rules of the show before you do anything else.
If you do decide to purchase them, make sure to get them in your horse's coat color. You'll want them as unnoticeable as possible.
I'm not sure that you said which discipline you show in... But, in regards to Hunters, the whole point is to exhibit a conformationally correct horse that is amicable and a pleasure to ride. Ear plugs allude to the fact that your horse is 'less than a pleasure' to ride, and that he is either easily distracted or spooky.
Some of the jumpers where I used to lesson would use ear plugs, particularly during the winter when snow would be falling from the roof of the indoor arena, and make loud scary noises. I don't think any of them used them at shows, though.
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