Are you here? Because other than the 1 day in April everything you said sounds like Tucson, including the dog show in November!
If you trust your trainer I absolutely would send the horse, as well as a signed form giving him permission to make medical decisions should the goofiness result in an injury which needs immediate care and insurance info just in case something happens. I've never had a trainer I wouldn't trust to take my horse to a show, and it sounds like your horse could use the miles with a professional. (Says she who has a horse who goes berserk at the Fairgrounds, if that's where you've had problems, and currently has a trainer working with him to try to get through some of it.)
Getting out and schooling at shows away from home is very valuable, and most places will have various schooling shows for other disciplines plus dressage which will help with mileage, too.
My horse is a dressage diva so I don't have to be.
Originally Posted by katarine
If you have a fat gay horse that likes Parelli, you're really screwed
You've had overwhelmingly positive responses, so let me tell you this as food for thought. I sent my horse with my then trainer, whom I trusted implicitly, to the last show of the season one year when I could not attend. He used to be quite difficult away from home (this was several years ago now).
I still hear from other competitors about how he was lunged for hours at 0 dark 30 before the show started each day, and why did I send him when I couldn't be there?
Lesson learned. Note the "then trainer". Note the "trusted implicitly". Not that your situation may be different, and I hope it is--just be careful.
And you some how did not know this trainer had the habit of lunging every day in the morning?
Unless you are totally new to a trainer I just can not see how one would have no idea what types of things (like lunging) their trainer does at a show that they agree or do not agree with.
Sorry, I may have not been clear--I am certainly not a newbie to showing or training/trainers. This horse had occasionally been lunged at the shows--by me, and never more than 20 minutes early in the day, and only if he was so up/distracted that I felt it was safer. My trainer and I certainly had a "program" we followed with warm up, etc. and she had been present at every other show of the season and knew my routine, schooled me before classes, etc. The horse also lived on her farm. While there was no verbal "contract" per se of what would/would not happen at the show when I wasn't there, I ASSUMED (I know, I know) that it would basically be the same in my absence.
It was not. He was lunged for HOURS. He was lunged before the show even started each morning (so I have no idea to this day if that was so she could use something not "legal" or "proper" on him, etc.--she had no other horses to ride so it was not a schedule thing). When I talked to her on the phone each day she mentioned lunging him each morning (which would have been normal) and that was about it other than how the tests went. It was only afterwards that I got the true story from those who were there to witness it. People felt it was excessive and odd, which is why they sought me out to tell me (multiple folks from different "groups" at the shows, so basically several independent observations).
I am sure that most trainers would not do anything without the owner present that they wouldn't do with the owner present. I thought that too, and was wrong, so it was just a word of caution, nothing more.
From now on, ponyfixer, i'll include foot note references.
Firstly, horse WILL be going to the show
I think it will be fine, certainly won't hurt, and if he's a real pistol, he can sit in the stall all weekend (kidding, trainer will work him through whatever he needs).
Secondly, the reason I hated my horse at the show was because in all his stress, he totally acted like a different horse: his ground manners were not up to his usual standard, he reverted to his nervous nipping behavior, he turned into a stall walker and never seemed very settled. That is not like my horse and I didn't like the behaviors he exhibited. I cut him slack because he was nervous being away from home but still and all, it added to my frustrations as well. My not being there will probably help that.
Thirdly, to netg, yes, I have seen where you are located in your prior posts and we are here as well That dog show at the same time really, REALLY did not help our cause. There is also a racetrack and a shooting range within earshot of the fairgrounds so it can be very overwhelming to a horse that is used to a mostly quiet boarding barn.
And for horsehand, I am not surprised that some trainers would be different when an owner is present vs. not. I had one of those once upon a time, with this horse, but current trainer, I feel 99% sure, will not be different. She is like the dominant, boss mare that is always to be respected but fair in her treatment of others .
I'm going to see if my trainer's usual groom would be willing to work for me for the weekend. I totally trust her with my precious pony - she will be going to braid and if I offer to pay her for her weekend, she might be willing to work and help with my horse.
I will be looking forward to hearing how WONDERFUL he is this time
I would never leave a horse in total care of a trainer again. I've had terrible things happen with two horses left with trainers of good reputation. This is your horse and the care and oversight is in your hands. Don't do it.
Also, if your horse is worried and behaving badly, the liability concern is no joke.