May. 16, 2011, 06:46 PM
When is he 'Show Ready'?
Alright, just on here for some advice. I have a 4 yr old OTTB gelding. He is quite green still but we are working on giving to contact and leg pressure. He's getting rather good at yielding to my leg and taking contact/collecting in the trot. I have been working him over some ground poles lately.
I was wondering when he would be 'show ready'. I know the general rule of thumb is to show a level lower than you are schooling. Now, I'm not looking to do anything big. I would be taking him to a small fun show and put him in a 'ground pole' class. I know some of you would think that paying for a ground pole class would be rediculous but I think it would be good to trailer him, school him and let him get used to the show feel. At home we are usually in an arena by our self and everything is very low key.
So, when is he ready? Should I have him jumping first our just continue schooling him the next two(ish) months and see how things go? If we get there and it's too much, we hang out for a while till he relaxes and then go home. No biggy right?
May. 16, 2011, 06:54 PM
Keep in mind that you are only eligible for green classes for 2 years. I'm not 100% sure how this rule applies to fun shows, but I think the 2 years are supposed to start ticking away from your first show... but maybe it is your first rated show. Don't quote me on it.
May. 16, 2011, 06:56 PM
I like taking my young ones to shows very early on. Usually, we go with the idea of getting there early to ride in all the rings, hacking around the grounds and hanging out in the trailer alone and with company. If they are good, then throw them in a flat class just to see where we are, if they are really good, then maybe a schooling fence class.
If you take them with the idea that it's no big deal, they generally settle right in and learn how to behave quickly. Then next time, maybe try a few more classes or not depending on how the horse is feeling....
May. 16, 2011, 06:56 PM
It's your first rated, I do believe. I have not registered him with anyone yet. That is a good point though!
May. 16, 2011, 06:57 PM
You're only eligible for Pre Greens for two years - so classes where you're jumping 3'. The Pre Green clock starts ticking once you've jumped 3', not from the first time you go to a show
Originally Posted by OveroHunter
May. 16, 2011, 07:00 PM
May. 16, 2011, 07:17 PM
If you are able to, then definitely go! It's great to get them out and about, and used to all the chaos. Especially if you go in with the attitude that it is just a schooling/learning experience and you keep things low-key, they seem to settle quite quickly. Have fun!
May. 16, 2011, 11:41 PM
Honestly, I think it is never too early to take them on field trips. I don't think you even necessarily need to "show", but loading up and going, hacking around, hanging out, all of that is soooooo good for them! If you plan to ride him around/in the show, I would say all you need is good enough brakes and steering that you don't risk colliding with someone/thing else and be more or less confident he isn't going to kill you, himself, and take everyone else down with him in the process. Of course, I say that, and have a few veterans who occasionally act as if their going to kill me, themselves, and everyone else in the process, so that criteria is optional.
Please, please, please, if you plan on leading him around, PLEASE be sure he is well behaved and listens on the ground. I rather see a horse being a goober under saddle than one being a goober on the ground with some helpless, hopeless human being on the end of the rope being dragged all over. I just want to walk up to them with my stud chain and go "This is a chain. It is your friend" (because 9 times out of 10 they aren't using a chain). Oy vey...sorry...mini rant now over.
May. 17, 2011, 12:05 AM
As long as you can steer and stop reliably on the ground and under saddle (safely navigate a warm up ring and the grounds ), go! There's no need to be jumping a lot before you take him. Take him for a walk around the show see how he takes in the atmosphere. If he's behaving, go for a leisurely hack, no pressure.
I would be there in time for the class you'd like to do and just play it by ear. He might be a super star or he might freak out a bit. Either way it will be a great learning experience for both of you! I think you can find out a lot about a young horse by pushing the boundaries just a bit. Not enough to scare the horse of put you or others in a dangerous situation of course, but just enough to test your progress/see where you are. It will really highlight what you need to work on and also let you know what you're doing well.
The more often you can get him off property to both school and show, the less of a big deal your first jumping shows/big shows will be.
Also, if he's off track he might be pretty used to going new places. He might take things all in stride and be an pro!
May. 17, 2011, 06:44 AM
A lot of small, local, non-rated have "green" classes that are "in the first or second year of showing" . That said
, I agree with the sentiment of take him and walk him around. Maybe get on him, school him, show if he is good. We took a greenie and just let him hang. His mother hand walked him around,etc I schooled him last year. It was toouch for him so we did not show him.
This year, he went, hung out, had a minor break with reality then was second in a hack. The most important thing, to me, is a positive experience. Miles makes Manners.
Come to the dark side, we have cookies
May. 17, 2011, 07:30 AM
Anytime. Bear in mind that if he has been to the track, there is nothing at any horse show that is even a small fraction as scary as a day at the track except possibly the Ferris Wheel at Devon. And if he came off the fair circiut in CA, he's probably even seen one of those!
Consider the starting gate. Crowds. Other horses. Very confined space next to strange horses. Big noise when it opens. Yelling. Zooming away with your cohorts. All done with a strange jockey with no available leg cues.There really is nothing at any horse show that is nearly as scary as that. And I haven't even mentioned the track machinery and all the strange noisy stuff on the backstretch.
That said, I probably wouldn't bother to take him to a show until you're ready to go ahead and compete. The time and $ would be better spent practicing and learning and lessoning at home.
Just be prepared for him to look around when he hears the PA for the first time...
* What you release is what you teach * Don't be distracted by unwanted behavior* Whoever waits the longest is the teacher. Van Hargis
May. 17, 2011, 09:36 AM
Your horse is show ready when he can do what you will ask of him in a possibily crowded warm up area and show ring without causing harm or bringing disruption to you, him or any other competitor. There are many avenues to get a horse ready for these situations than disrupting someone elses competiton that they worked very hard for, EVEN if it is "just a schooling show". Take your horse to different arenas, ride with groups of horses, etc. Now obviously it is very hard to get the full effect - but do your best. Whenever I take a greenie to a show I've done all of these and also plan on taking them to a very low key event where I know the ring won't be crowded and the people will be more understanding. The local levels imo, have gotten much more competitive lately.
And in regards to him being off the track making things go smooth - please, please don't just assume he will be fine. Yes, he possibly went through a ton, but that DOESN'T mean he handled them well. Believe me, I've worked with racehorses (standardbreds) - and NOT every horse in the paddock can handle it. Some had mental break downs every night at the track - the grooms would basically pull straws on certain horses. He is also only 4, which means he prob didn't have much experience out there - and I've seen plenty of OTTBs have mental break downs at schooling shows. No prejudice. It happens to everyone (even non-OTTBs).
On a positive note....he might just be ready! Take the avenues I and the others have described and then give it a shot! Good Luck
May. 17, 2011, 12:40 PM
Whenenver my trainer is at a somewhat nearby show, even if I can't do the actual show, I'll try to trailer up there for a lesson in the evening when everyone is schooling. No ring fees and you can school over all the A show jumps! This may be slightly dishonest since I don't pay a grounds fee, but we're not there too long...
May. 17, 2011, 12:58 PM
May. 17, 2011, 01:59 PM
Big Name Trainer who I pay lots of money (at least for a recent college graduate) to ride my horse tells me to and I listen. She rides him about half the time during the schooling. That's pretty much my only defense. I know, I know.
May. 17, 2011, 02:03 PM
But that doesn't stop you from going on your own, paying the office fees/non competing horse fees and then riding. It also doesn't stop you from saying, "sorry, too busy to trailer" if you can't afford the fees. Just because BNT says it's okay, doesn't mean it's really okay!
Originally Posted by OveroHunter
May. 17, 2011, 02:11 PM
Of course a TB who's done track time will be somewhat familiar with the PA. He might get a bit excited in thinking he's in a racing environment (lots of other horses out and about and ready to do something)!
Originally Posted by Madeline
May. 17, 2011, 02:12 PM
I don't see anything wrong with doing groundpole classes. It's good experience for both of you and can make the step to showing less stressful than it would be with jumps. It will be fun for you guys and give you both a positive experience!
May. 17, 2011, 02:28 PM
I'm with YB - as soon as they have quasi-reliable manners and some ability to stop when asked, our youngsters go everytime there's a free spot on the trailer. They might do nothing more than walk around the facility (sometimes that's more than enough for them), or they might do a light flat school, or jump a few jumps in warm up or do an intro class. It's all about learning that The Same Rules Apply regardless of whether they are at home or away. What they actually do when they're out and about may depend on how jazzed they are about the experience - and we're always ready to throw them back on the trailer and take them home if it won't be positive for them - but in general, I think it's good mileage for them to have.
I second (third, fourth, underscore, emphasize) YB's point about having a stud chain and using it. Babies can be big and stupid in a new environment and you need to be able to keep both them, you, and those around you safe. Even the ones who have never given any indication of losing their cookies may surprise you in the hubbub of a show scene (and yes, my own 4 year old OTTB proved that one to me earlier this year)!
May. 17, 2011, 04:54 PM
Exactly -- I don't think you need to be jumping at home to do ground pole classes -- I suspect it's less stressful for most horses than an u/s class (especially a crowded u/s class) --
Originally Posted by PrimoAmor
If you're comfortable stopping and stearing him, I think you're ready -- It wouldn't hurt to tie a green ribbon in his tail (but don't expect everyone to keep their distance just because he's wearing a ribbon) -- If you have even one person to ride with at home, it would help to practice riding with them (passing, being passed in same direction, passing in opposite direction, ...) before the show --
I'd look for other opportunities for field trips too ... trailering to other barns, clinics, trail rides, paper chases, ...
"I never mind if an adult uses safety stirrups." GM
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