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Discussion Starter #1
This is to all the competitors of the horse forum, whether you ride western or english, this is a thread for anyone and everyone who competes on a horse.

We all have a certain time of year that we call our show season. Depending on what you do then your show season might be different to someone else.

What I want to know is since most of us give our horses time off work after our show season, how do you get your horse back to the peak of his/her fitness and ready to be out there competing again?

Just wondering to get to know how different people get different horses ready to compete in different competitions and different levels of competition.
 

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I never give my horse time off after show season so he is always improving!
 

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I usually don't give my horse "time off" per se, either. We don't attend shows, but we're still working just as hard!
 

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Yeah I dont really give any horse I show time off, maybea day but then what I have learned from judges marks and scores and such I work on improving that so I will be even better prepared and ready and riding better with my horse asa team. If if is a huge show like 3 days and its in the summer i would tend to give the horsea few days off but aybe still some light lounging. same with in the iwnter i guess. To me shows are all aout learning on what you can improve and having fun with horse horsie partner and friends, who cares about the ribbion, they are jus clored things that say someone was better then you when really everyone rides differenta nd each horse is diferent. that just me tho
 

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Yeah I suppose you all are right what I mean is that my show season is from February to October. We do showjumping. My mare then gets a break from showjumping and we do some hunts and hunter trials but she is not mentally fit for showjumping after hunting so we do nice flatwork exercises and extra groundwork to relax her down after the excitement of hunting :D
 

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We don't have a 'show season' per say here for dressage, there are always one or two competitions at least every month. The bigger championship events are generally around April-May, then the interstate Championships are towards October-December.

I ALWAYS give my horses time off during the year. Just like I love to have a couple of weeks off work to unwind, I do the same for my horses. They go out in the paddock with a friend or two, no rugs, and just let them be a horse for at least a week. I find they are so much happier and far more willing and relaxed when they come back in. I usually do this a few times a year, trying to correspond it with big weeks at work where I will not have time, or big weeks at uni such as exams or major asignments.

To bring them back in, the TB's are easy, they seem to maintain their level of fitness reasonably well. I just pop them on the lunge for a day or two, mainly to get their mind back into work mode and too see if I'm going to get bucked off when I get on haha!
the WB's are ******s though, they seem to drop fitness off within a few days. So with them, lunge for a day or two, then I'll walk, walk, walk for a week with maybe a little bit of light trotting in the mix. The walk, I will demand a forward, marching, clear 4 beat walk, not a dawdl, mixing it up between a long rein walk, a medim walk and depending on the horses level, some extended and collected walk for short bursts, along with leg yield, shoulder in and half pass. All in walk, just having a play not expecting great things.
It loosens them up, gets their mind back to being active, and builds up fitness.
 

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I ride dressage, and winter up here is 'imrovement season' and teh summer is show season, all winter we work hard to improve and work hard to do even better in the next show season!
 

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I show Western Pleasure and we have a few shows in January and Febuary but they really start up from March-October, we may go to one every weekend during that time and then there are a few in November and December.
So to answer your question, November-Febuary would be what I consider "Off Season" even though we still may go to shows during that time, its not busy like it would be in other months.
 

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I'm in the same boat as samstox. I have someone I'm giving lessons to at the moment, but she's a beginner and has never shown. At least she had the sense to start early!
 

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Our eventing season here is September to November and then February through until about May. November through til February there are still plenty of shows (flat, show jumping etc) but the ground is too hard to jump on.
My boys come in early August to start preparing for events in October. From December to February they are in light work, mainly hacking to keep up fitness etc and then February they begin eventing again until the end of May where we spend a few weeks winding them down til they are turned out for winter.
Our horses work VERY hard and need a break to get them ready for the next season.
 

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I compete most of the year, but summer is the main time. From June-August is the busiest for gaming and reining, where Team Penning goes from November -December.

Transitions are hard sometimes. To get my horse in shape for the summer I do extended trots for distances, and then lunging as often as possible at the trot. However I am careful not to overwork them. I also do a lot of practice with transitions frm the lope to the gallop, or the trot to the lope. I do lots of half circles on the haunches and collecting and releasing.

As for the cow related events, I have someone (Usually Mom or Dad) play cow for me and I'll work on cutting that way.

And I always refresh the vocal commands. Tey "Hey hey!" for turning, hen "Ssh ssh." for running and so on. I also like to work on tight turns by loping ten feet around the barrel and slowly decreasing that distance throughout the workout.

But I really encourage tons of flexing and stretching to loosen out all stiffness ^^
 

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Show season is May to September and training season is all year round. Because in dressage we don't train to show, we show to train, there is no time off! We are constantly building, teaching and molding the horse. He will get 1-2 days off after every show and after a large transport will get time off but that's it!
After any time off I always start with tons of hand walking and only walk under saddle for the first bit. Walk is so good for them.
 

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Our show season runs from April-October. Annie generally gets the winter off, save for a few trail rides here and there. There is too much ice and snow and hard ground to really work her. I normally start her conditioning in early March, and ride as much as the weather permits me to, which is usually about 3x per week, sometimes more, sometimes less. I switch back and forth between leisurely trail rides, conditioning trail rides(mostly long trotting) and ring work. She is getting this next year off of showing so I can concentrate on my youngster, so she is mainly going to be a trail horse. Chopper I will start conditioning as soon as the ground is good enough for a few lunge sessions.
 

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I agree with Samstox. My show season is pretty long. Only a few months off. And in that time, while I may not work as hard, I still ride as much as I can and keep them in good shape. I teach them new things, work on problems they had during the past show season that I couldn't get completely get fixed during show season, and I work a lot on smoothing out the gaits and perfecting them as much as I can. I always try to improve something in the off-season, even if its only one thing. Atty's first year back was last year, so while we won most of the shows, it wasn't up to par for me knowing what she's capable of. We've spent a lot of time working on the gaits. she's a TWH, so mostly show walk, b/c everything stems from that one gait. So they usually get a day or two off after shows. And they get Sundays off always. Unless there's a show. lol....Sorry this was so long.
 

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Winter is for clearing out the cobwebs. Ring is usually frozen solid, so we put the snow shoes on and spend a few months in the woods trail riding. He loves it, and it's great for keeping the muscle on him. If we get to an open enough space, I through in some circles and lateral work to remind him that he's only on vacation and not retired!
 
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