Standing in line for showmanship
I do 4h, and lately I have been having trouble in showmanship. My patterns are usually okay, but my horse always does some weird stuff while standing in line that he never does at home. Like he moves a lot to itch himself in weird places, or yawns a lot and moves sideways into other horses. Yes I do flyspray him a lot, and I've started practicing standing still for long periods of time at home, but he's usual fine. It might just be show jitters or something, but any advice helps :)
They love to make liars out of us. During the class look to see if the judge is watching and if not give the horse a little bump with the lead just to get his attention.
Or you can try working him a bit before the class so that he doesn't have as much energy :P
Try working at home with a friend. Make sure that you desensitize him to everything you can think of, be sure that none of those things frighten him, than have your friend wave things around him, while you sit on him. If he moves one foot, immediately back him up, make him do small circles, side passes, ANYTHING that "rewards" his one movement by doing hard work. Really "punish" him for not behaving. He will not only learn to stand really still for you, but he'll be softer and more responsive.
AGAIN, make sure that anything your friend uses, like a plastic bag, or a trash can, or waving a blanket, are things that you have used on the ground with him and you ABSOLUTELY KNOW on the ground, do not really frighten him. Just plan ahead and have about 3-4 items preselected to use. (Should your friend get heady and grab some other items, dismount and politely say, "No, we won't use those.") Might not be a bad idea to have an adult as your helper.
My three horses have 4 acres of summer turnout and they LLOOOOOOOVVVVVEEEEE to run from things that they are not afraid of, just for the joy of running. Your horse has gotten used to moving off immediately and feels justified in behaving this way in the show ring. I think this extra training should do the trick. =D
I love Corporal and Saddlebag's suggestions.
If all else fails, you could do what we did with the mules when I rode them for NASMA.
They knew when they were showing and when they werent. When they were showing, they would be complete butts when riding Western. Trying to drag us into the center of the ring, slowing waaaayyyyy down, turning left and right, getting on top of horses, etc.
They only did this because they knew that we were showing, and wouldn't get after them. Obvoiusly, they would never do these things at home because they would be punished for it, and they knew that.
What we ended up doing was taking them to a very small show, that wasn't recognized or anything. A schooling show. We got in the ring, and they exhibited these bad behaviors. Because we weren't worried about going for high point or placement, we corrected them and stomped their little behinds for being so naughty! We didn't place in any of the classes, but we went home with a valuable lesson. From that day on, they never screwed up in the ring. When they did, we would make sure the judge wasn't looking, and check them as best we could. We did very well afterwords.
That is kind of a last-ditch method, but it does work. Sometimes they just know when they can get away with it, and when they can't.
Try to get his attention while the judge isn't looking and get him back into proper set up.
Do you practice at home with other horses? If not I would suggest having a couple of friends do a mock showmanship class. And practice standing in line with other horses around him. It could be the other horses making him nervous.
To be honest the thing that taught my horse to stand politely in working hunter classes was going out mock hunting, he soon learnt that standing was a good time to rest. I don't know if that would be any good for you though? Other thing is just LOADS of practice, stick with lots of little shows and eventually the penny should drop!
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