I am thinking about taking my green OTTB to an upcoming show to just hang out and watch. I am not planning on showing him, as he really isn't ready and I anticipate that he will be a little too fresh to focus when I take him off the trailer. He has only been off the farm twice since I got him last year (once to hack at a friend's as a little field trip and the second time was when i moved him from the first farm to his new home.)
I was thinking about giving him something like perfect prep or calm and cool to help make his first experience a good one. He ships great, but when I take him off the trailer he is...well.. very BIG... I mean he seems to grow a whole hand! I want to encourage a relaxing day.
I know that this has been drilled to death and I will get responses like, "hard work," "put your time in," "don't supplement your horse to make him quiet" so on and so forth...So if you want to respond like that, feel free.
BUT for those of you who use perfect prep, is there a difference in the formulas? Do you really see a difference when you use it and when you don't?
Last edited by myalter1; Nov. 7, 2011 at 09:47 AM.
I don't medicate mine when I take them places. Isn't the reason you are going and NOT showing so that he can get used to strange places and events? Then why would you care if he is a bit fresh? I don't understand the need for meds in this case. And I only have OTTBs so do I understand their kind of freshness!
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You are right, moonriver.. i am going just to give him experience. This guy was spooky and fresh to just ride in the outdoor at the old farm. (we often rode inside b/c he could NOT focus outside.) Just wondering if it will give him a relaxing experience. I have never used this stuff before and it's been years since I have had an OTTB. Just want to give him a good time. Maybe I should medicate MYSELF so I'm the one who is relaxed... LOL
ETA- I have changed his grain since then, so it might just be that he was WILD from getting so much grain...
I've never medicated and never plan to. I think medicating counters what you are trying to achive. When you take a horse you know will be fresh to a show just to look around - what you are doing is showing him that "hey, there really is no reason to get worked up." If he is drugged and calmed artificially the first time you go to show him and (hopefully) don't drug him it will be a completely different experience and he will act fresh.
My advice: Trailer him anywhere and everywhere as often as possible. With and without buddies. Really that is the only way to really do it right. Try to avoid areas that give him a reason to get worked up at first. When he is calm in calm enviorments, start introducing him to more scary and exciting things.
And yes, you may want to medicate yourself! I've seen so many times when a horse is acting up was mostly because of the human attached to the other end of the lead
I think I'm just going to go for it...without anything. I'm not even really planning on hacking him at the show. just getting on and walking around. If he's good, and relaxes, maybe a little hack. I imagine the show is going to be pretty small, which is what i want. He's great to trailer alone, so not worried about that, AND the show is about 8 minutes from the barn...I'll bring my sporty spray in case he decides to do any theatrics! Thanks guys
he's on neighlox daily as it is...that's what i am planning. just hanging out watching. he is getting to be the kind of horse that if you sit on his back and have a conversation with someone, he will fall asleep. This is a huge improvement. When I got him, he'd never been in a ring with other horses and lost his mind. For the first month I had him, i would ride alone, but when i knew other horses would be coming in the ring later. Then, when i was finished, i would stand in the middle, or in a corner, while they rode around so he could get the "picture"...now, he's funny. Sometimes, when i jump him and want to halt in the corner, you can almost hear him say, "NO MOMMY, that's not how the OTHER horses do it!" One time, he did this, i sat down and half halted and he did the most perfect lead change, so his reward was to canter through the turn and circle...his idea? drag me towards the 3'6 vertical on the diagonal. lol
My 4 year old mare has been to 3 shows in her short career. The first 2 were last year as a 3 year old, and she was "up" for only a few minutes, then was more interested in finding grass or her haybag. Those first 2 shows, I lunged for a total of about 10 minutes tops before getting on, just to make sure she wasn't too fresh. The rest of the time was spent handwalking or just riding around on a loose rein, checking things out. We wound up doing one small walk trot class at both of her first shows, taking 2nd in each.
Her 3rd show was a year later just last month~ just haven't had the time to get her out. She was so relaxed coming off the trailer she immediately started grazing. She did her first canter division and got reserve champ. I've been incredibly lucky with her~ she has a good mind and common sense.
Right now, she is at my friend's barn spending the nite, her first sleepover, LOL! She is doing the greenie section of Gary Young's clinic tomorrow, with one of my friend's students. She needed a horse to ride & is paying for everything, and with me being unemployed right now, I can't be forking out money for both clinics *and* shows. This worked out perfectly. I took her over today so they could get a ride in, which went well, other than her greenie weeble wobbles. And I get to audit tomorrow and actually see someone else ride her under a great trainer's instruction. Should make for a positive experience, and I will get some feedback on what we need to work on.
I wouldn't give your guy anything. Just be patient, take him for a walk kind of away from the activity at first, let him settle & watch. If he's really up, find a quiet place to lunge and let him get the sillies out until he's focused more on you. A haybag at the trailer, if he'll stay tied, is good~ he can watch and munch at the same time. Lots of patience, and a pocketful of his favorite cookies is a good start.
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Bring lots of treats and just make him enjoy it as best he can. If possible bring a buddy that's well seasoned. Horses are herd animals, taking them alone AND to a new place is just double the stress. They love to feed of each other's emotions.
Our barn uses OmegaAplha Chill for really spooky horses. Takes the edge off.
Absolutely medicate the first time if there is any chance he's not going to have a positive experience. You're not showing, so you can skip the supplements and use something that is actually going to be effective. Remember that you cannot control the rest of the environment, but you do have control over how your horse meets it. Plan for the unexpected loose pony, loose dog, runaway plastic bag. It only takes one bad experience at the beginning to create a lasting problem. You want to teach him that he can relax when he gets to a show, not start the pattern of him being up and needing to be worked down. Lunging a young horse at its first horse show experience is difficult and stressful, for everyone involved. "Riding through" whatever comes along is counter-productive, as it is both allowing them to act up under tack, which should be avoided if at all possible, and isn't making a horse show a pleasant experience for them. Plus, it's disturbing to people who are actually trying to show or school. Worse case scenario, you end up with a loose scared horse.
If this horse is really off the track, he must have been off the farm more than twice in his life. In my experience most of the ones off the track are pretty blase about the whole experience of shipping and going to horse shows, once they figure out they aren't there to race.
Thumbs-up to medicating yourself!!! I freaked out before taking my horse to her first show, and she'd never been off the farm!
When we took my girl to the show, we were also delivering a racemare back TO the track after a short break. We pulled her off the trailer and showed her in one of the in-hand classes, too, before she went to the track. She was fine in the ring, a little thinking of "Where's the tack? And where's the track?" but not bad. She really did think she was going to race, though.
My suggestion (coming from a racing person, NOT a showperson) is to bridle him and walk him around there. If you feel comfortable, take him back to the stall or whatever and saddle him up then walk him some more.
Chanda and Anne, that's what i was thinking...does perfect prep really work?
I know the horse has been places..he started 16 times and ships like a pro. He doesn't buck, rear, or act too silly when he's wild...although he will spook and wheel...I want to give him a good experience and not give anyone else a bad one...
I wouldn't medicate.
I did the same thing with my then-3 year old OTTB a year and a half ago. My only goal was to get him off the trailer and back on to get home.
He ended up being calm enough that I felt brave enough to get on and just walk him around. We ended up just standing by the jumper in-gate for an hour pretending that we were waiting to show. He was a little cracked, I won't lie, but it was more of a hyper-alert, occasional whinny kind of cracked. Nothing dangerous in the least.
I would make sure he has been turned out and I would ride him in the morning before you ship over. Make sure you use a lead with a chain over the nose just in case he gets worked up while you are leading him. Since the show facility is so close, is there any way you can take him there on a non-show day and tour the grounds or school him?
Medicate if it makes you feel better. He will likely be on his toes because he will think he is going to run, as others have mentioned. Walk him around for a while and don't make a beeline for the ring - let him get used to the atmosphere before you go to the most exciting area.
Also, has he ever seen little ponies running and jumping before? For some reason this phenomenon is fascinating/horrifying for many greenies - I thought it was just mine but others have told me theirs had the same reaction...so just beware
Spooks ha ha re: little ponies running around. He's been around other horses jumping/schooling at home (and my daughter's pony trotting up behind him when we ride together). When I first got him, he had NO idea what the ring was all about. When i rode him for the first time with others in the ring, he spun around and then tried to run. I spent many hours just standing still in the ring while others rode. Now, he's fine (actually better with others in the ring than alone.)
I actually thought about riding him at home first, letting him chill in his stall for a little bit, then loading up and shipping over. I can't take him to the show grounds on a non-show day, as they lock the grounds.
Well, the show that i was going to take him to got snowed out, but I was able to take him to a very quiet schooling show this past weekend. He was exactly as I expected. Shipped over great, a little unhappy to be alone when we got there (DD had a catch ride in the mini stirrup) - so I unloaded him and a friend helped me by holding him. He was a bit fresh, but not naughty at all. I ended up tacking up by the trailer (a first for us!) and got on. Didn't work him (he was too distracted and tense) but hung out and walked around. Waited, hoping there would be a quiet schooling break so we could get into the indoor. Most of the time, he chilled out by the door, just watching. A little tense, but not too bad. When we did finally get into the indoor (pleasure schooling break) He had about had enough. Started jigging, and got really tense. So, i didn't want to ruin the pleasure riders' pleasurable time. We called it a day... (Oh, and i gave him nothing, well b/c i didn't have anything to give him..no perfect prep..nothing.)
Just for future reference and if anyone else is curious, I took my 3 y/o Dutch filly to hang out at a schooling show this past summer, she too is very big and forgets her manners when she is upset.
I bought So Kalm after the advice of a fellow COTH'er, I gave her one ounce about an hour before trailering to help her nerves and keep her safer.
She was a doll all day long! She was better than she is at home, we even w/t/c in the warmup ring.
I definetly recommend this product to those who want to be a bit safer for themselves and their horse and did not have the priveledge of taking them off the farm when they were smaller.
Last edited by pryme_thyme; Nov. 7, 2011 at 03:37 PM.
Reason: Product Info- Powder not the gel.
where did you get so Kalm? Regular tack store? I may try something like this next time, given my horse's response to the stimuli... outside where it was quiet, he was great, hanging out standing and relaxed. As soon as we went into the indoor, he was a different horse.