how to get more "horse" when showing...? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 24 Old 08-10-2013, 10:07 PM Thread Starter
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how to get more "horse" when showing...?

A barn mate of mine and myself, shared my horse this past weekend at a horse show. Mainly I did it because I'm a chicken, and I wanted him to go out and jump the big stuff with someone. I did the 2 foot baby jumpers and an ammy class that was about 2'6". My barn mate did the 3 foot and a 3'3" class. Mind you, this is all jumpers on the grass. By his last class, she had no horse left. Which is strange. My horse is pretty hot by nature, and has always been in training, so he's really quite fit. I would love to know what ya'll do to keep your horses energized at a show? Barrel racers, jumpers, dressage, whatever it is... i'd like to know what i can do to get him fit enough to make it through a whole show without burning out.
I will attach a video of his 3 foot round. It's not me riding... however my barn mate is an incredible rider, and significantly more brave than myself.



I was even debating feeding him some higher energy food... maybe alfalfa? A few days before the show. He's currently on Bermuda because he gets so darn spooky, hot, and reactive off of just about everything he eats!!

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post #2 of 24 Old 08-10-2013, 11:19 PM
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Was he actually winded, or just feeling sluggish? He sure looked like he was all there in that video! How much conditioning work do you do? How long can he do a brisk canter before running out of gas? Was it unusually hot or humid at the show? I know the humidity has been sneaking up on a lot of people this year. I do lots of hacking and canter sets to keep him in condition, but I'm usually the one running out of gas, not him. He's got those TB lungs.

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post #3 of 24 Old 08-11-2013, 02:27 AM
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It has been a while since I was active in shows and doing multiple classes a show, but what is your workout routine at home for him?-- How often is he ridden, how long do you ride, do you work almost constantly or do you take a lot of walk breaks? Do you jump a lot at home or focus more on flat work?
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post #4 of 24 Old 08-11-2013, 03:21 AM Thread Starter
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MyBoyPuck - he was just kinda' sluggish and started to pull rails. Which he never does at home. After his last class i hosed him and hand walked him out for a couple hours... when i tied him to the trailer to clean up and get him wrapped, he was literally falling asleep on his feet. And yes, it was both hot and humid. We're in California and it's been in the 80's most of the summer.
In the arena we usually do about 3 canter laps both ways. I do more trot work than anything else.

Dragonfly - He is ridden every day. He has to be. He's stalled 24/7 so even if he gets a turn out for an hour or so, I still ride. He'd be Bonkers if he went an entire day just sitting in his stall. I normally ride about an hour a day, incorporating transitions, circling, and bending. He's pretty stupid on the flat. He's the type of horse that literally searches for things to spook at... so I have to keep him focused and moving forward. We jump about twice a week. Usually pretty small (nothing more than 2'9"), working on jumper type exercises such as roll backs, tight turns, and weird angles.

I was just so surprised at how tired he was by the end. Do ya'll suppose that more cantering will help with some of this?

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post #5 of 24 Old 08-11-2013, 03:35 AM
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I remember reading once that trotting builds strength/endurance and cantering burns calories, but maybe some more cantering will help your guy since you do canter courses and not trot them. ;)
Maybe throw in some stretches of gallop too.

Lots of figure eights, turns, circles, going the diagonal, etc. helps keep them busy and focused.

Weather can also play a part as well. My other TB always got so calm and pleasant when it was hot out, haha! My current OTTB doesn't seem effected by the heat that much though.
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post #6 of 24 Old 08-11-2013, 03:11 PM
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Actually trotting and walking burn more calories than cantering, cantering is a cardio exercise, it winds them. I am not much help, but maybe include gallop sets in your work? If that isn't possible, canter sets and trot sets. Make up a conditioning schedule for him (search them Online) and see if that helps.

He might just be mentally tired, can you take him for a trail ride every week so? Or maybe more turnout - or just hand walking or grazing if there is some grass at your stable if more turnout isn't possible. I too live in Caly, it sucks how little turnout there can be. Does he live in a box stall or a mare motel type thing? How often is he fed? He might be happier with free choice hay (in a slowfeeder- small mesh hay net), especially if he is only fed twice a day.

After watching the video, he looks like he might be doing something funny with his hind end. Drifting out a bit in the corners and not reaching under him much, just doesn't quite look right over the jumps. Obviously you would know him much better than I, this just could be his way of doing things.

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Last edited by caseymyhorserocks; 08-11-2013 at 03:18 PM.
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post #7 of 24 Old 08-11-2013, 05:54 PM
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He just looks tired to me. 4 classes so a possible 8 rounds was too much for him, especially on a hot day.

What were you doing with him between rounds? Did he have access to water?

I am not sure hand walking for a couple of hours after such a long day, was the best idea. Just hand walk to cool off.
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post #8 of 24 Old 08-11-2013, 06:04 PM
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I think it's a lot to ask a horse to do four rounds in a day, not necessarily "too much" but I wouldn't be that surprised he was tired. He only gets an hour of exercise a day, and on the show day you did four rounds, plus probably at least two warm ups. In addition to the work, it will be a much more mentally stimulating and stressful environment. Jumping a course is different to jumping singles at home, and four courses is a lot.

I've also been told by people that because of the constant muscle adjusting/balancing floating (trailering) a horse often produces similar "fatigue" effects to the equivalent time trotting.

So I think if you put it all together, trailering him out there, him being constantly alert, then a warm up with one rider, two full courses, probably a warm up with a different rider and two more full courses, a fair bit bigger than he normally jumps, I'm not surprised he got tired.
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post #9 of 24 Old 08-11-2013, 06:40 PM
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Well how would you feel after doing 8 jumper rounds on a grass ring away from home on a hot day? And he gets no turn out? Of course he got tired and sluggish.

I don't believe in doing more then 4 over fences classes in a day(that is including jump offs), and even that is pushing it.

An entire day showing on the flat is tiring enough. An entire day showing over fences is hard as heck on them. Considering he had two riders, each had to do a warm up plus the jumper rounds... well id be wiped out too.
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Last edited by NBEventer; 08-11-2013 at 06:42 PM.
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post #10 of 24 Old 08-11-2013, 09:41 PM Thread Starter
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he did have access to fresh water all day, along with Timothy hay as well. He had a nasty bout of Lymphangitis about 5 months ago... so i walk him out for significantly longer than i probably should, for fear he will swell up again. Unfortunately we have no trail in our area. This is a big reason that I like to take him off property as much as possible. Otherwise, the poor guy would be doing arena work day in and day out.
Our next show is the end of September, and it is a 2 day. My barn mate will ride Saturday, and I will ride Sunday. Most likely only a couple classes a piece. My trainer and I spoke about the show and how tired he was by the end. It's not something I think I will be doing again.
Casey, his way of going could very well be due to his bout of Lymphangitis. I have employed 2 separate vets, and nearly 3 grand in vet bills, to finally come to a clean bill of health. But i wouldn't doubt that it might have made him a little funny behind.

Life seems mighty precious when there's less of it to waste.
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