Ok so we are gearing up to show my yearling colt on the line this year. He models easily, trots in hand like a pro, and is in generaly super easy to get along with and never fusses. But, along with his mild manner and laid back attitude, he does not 'perk up' when standing to model. I try to get his ears perked, get him to arch his neck a bit, stand a little bit taller by getting him interested in something-i see all the pros do it. whether it's tapping the crop in hand, messing with a crinkly wrapper, a noise clicker, a treat.
I have tried all of these to no avail. he looks at you like 'dude, you are ridiculous'. He might put his ears forward for a second, but nothing that grabs his attention long enough for a judge to look him over and see this great expression.
I have even resorted to swinging branches, jumping out of trees, clapping and yelling. still much of the same. The only thing that captured him for more than a few seconds was my dad's glass of scotch on the rocks. no, he didn't drink any...
I do have a professional handler lined up to show him this season but in practice I would like to have some method that worked for him.
As EM said above, being in a show environment will probably help him to be a little more "on".
However.... not every horse has "it" to be a star on the line. It doesn't mean that he isn't going to be awesome in every other way, but I do believe it takes a certain amount of "star power" and presence to make a top animal on the line -- and they either have it, or they don't.
Also, keep in mind that by practicing constantly, you are making it a very ho hum and boring routine for him.
We had a filly like THAT. I called "pathologically quiet"!! I think I got 1-2 good pictures in 2 years and destroyed about 50 aweful ones!! She was eventually sold as a broodmare, so it became a non-issue, but I tried EVERYTHING in the world to spike her interest with no success. I guess there are just some really Bomb Proof horses. Good luck...hope you find her key!!
I was going to suggest the clicker too. I don't actually do the clicker training as I am not super big on hand feeding treats to young horse. What ever you find that works, do not over do it by practicing at home with it. Being in a show environment will usually help, since there is so much stimuli going on around them. Good luck. The exposure alone is worth its weight in gold.
We definitely do not over practice, so that is not the problem. he has been to shows as a foal and his inspection and did perk up, and he definitely has the personality to show on the line. But i want to do the ammie handler classes and am just looking for some tricks.
I have seen people use mirrors or also cigarette lighters (just make the noise and spark, no flame) to help with expression but I don't know if these things are "legal" or accepted... we have the same problem with laid-back horses and taking pics for sale, etc. Some are just so hard to get a good interested look! One of our friends got a radio-controlled car and drove it around which worked well. Not for the show ring obviously...lol
My filly was a total laid back bum at home, but get her at a show surrounded by strange adult horses (she about fell over the first time she saw an all white horse--which of course was at a show) and all that chaos and she perked right up. I bet yours will too. Totally different than showing as a foal, because he had mom there.