The story on Valor made me think of this thread. We have a school horse who loves to horse show! In lessons, he is shall we say, an obstinate schoolie. He rubber necks, he turns into the middle, he refuses to go in a straight line, in fact he refuses to go at all with anyone unless you lay down the law and most of his level of riders aren't quite there yet! Over jumps - he is better but won't give a lead change to save his life.
But...when it comes to horse show time - and we have a lot of shows with IHSA and IEA and open shows - he absolutely lays it down (and no this is not due to some medication program!). We have a routine in fact. He gets a light warm - up preferably in the show ring itself as he is his usual stubborn self in the adjacent warm-up ring. Then at the in gate, we give him half a roll of smarties and tell him to be good. If he is good we say to him, he'll get the other half a roll of smarties at the out gate. In he goes and LAYS IT DOWN. Perfect lead changes, perfect distances, bold step and forward canter - he stays out in the turns - well mostly anways. This little horse has won more classes at the modest levels of 2'6" and under than any other I think in our history of school horses! He does anticipate his reward - my whole hand has been sucked into his mouth on more than one occasion but thankfully he and I know the drill and his powerful lips search for those little smarties on my palm.
I have a TB mare who is still a good citizen at home, but very much loves shows! I joke that she's ADD, and being in the middle of the action soothes her. She'll just hang out by the ring, literally falling asleep with eyes closed and one hind cocked. I'm part-leasing her to a 13 year old boy, and she was a star for him and me, and he swears she didn't want to leave the show. She's always been this way, so just her personality. It's so nice to have zero stress about behavior issues, and just focus on the riding.
While not a hunter/jumper, I have a half-Arab mare (main ring hunter pleasure, sport horse show hack, dressage) who LOVES to show. I took her out to a show this weekend to just ride around and see how she handled in public. At home, she makes you work for EVERY single stride. I decided to stop along the rail and watch a couple classes to see how she was with standing around. One class goes out, she hears the announcement the gate is open for the next class and goes right into frame with ears pricked, picks up a trot, and aims straight for the ingate. When I pulled her up, she turned around and gave the dirtiest look. It took a LOT of effort to get her back out of the warmup area, she kept trying to head back to the ingate. Those few strides of trot were the most amazing thing to ride, though.
My horse loves to go to shows. We event, and his dressage is SO much better at shows than at home. And he loves hanging out at the trailer with his hay bag taking in all the action. I wish I had time to compete him more!
There was a horse who belonged to an Ammy rider at the barn I rode at as a junior who fits this bill. At home he was a pain to ride. I dreaded the times I had to hack him because you had to kick and kick the whole ride. My legs killed every time and you still felt like you got almost no where with your ride. But once he got to the horse show he strutted his stuff! He's won over fences and hacks in Wellington and I swear he watches for the judge just to show off an extra bit. His owner got him for free. Just goes to show it's the attitude, not the price tag, that makes a SHOW horse.
This is Lucas. He is 23. He is not fancy, but he is the world's most patient, most saintly pony and he loves a good horse show. He gets running (trotting) the fence line when he sees us coming at dawn. He once untied himself while we were loading supplies and trotted across the lawn and hopped on the open trailer himself and stood waiting for us to catch up!
My first horse was a 23 year old BTDT OTTB mare. She had done everything--hunters/jumpers/equitation/eventing/dressage--with a succession of kids. She pretty much packed me around my first couple of dressage tests, doing all the circles and halts perfectly while I just sat up there stunned. After that, she decided I had to ride.
I think her main interest in horse shows, though, was food. She would search the garbage cans at shows for good tidbits, taste the trees, etc., etc.
My current mare, although green, seems to know how to turn it on at a show.
I have a 17h greenie who at home can be pushy on the ground at times and while under saddle can be excitable at times. He sometimes ignores my aides until he works down for about 30 and rushed through the lines or gets heavy on my hand. Take him to a show and he is all business straight off the trailer. Extremely responsive, picks great spots and is much more willing to try his flying changes. It's weird but I'm not complaining!
I had a young unraced TB who was a witch to deal with at home. She'd make up stuff to spook at, pin her ears, swish her tail and make faces at the other horses in the ring. Take her to a show and she was fascinated by all the action going on around her! She was terrific to ride at a show, but terrible to show in hand (I got her as a yearling and did a few breeding classes). I think she thought everyone was there solely for her personal entertainment.
Life would be infinitely better if pinatas suddenly appeared throughout the day.
My daughter took lessons on a school horse like this. He would hang around all dull and half asleep but as soon as he stepped in the ring it was "Look at me! I am the ultimate show pony!". It was so great to see the way he turned the glamour on at the show.
Our pony LOVES to show. At home she can be a nervous Nellie, she's forward, sometimes nearly unrideable. The minute she gets to a show she is a completely different pony, she literally exhales the moment she steps into the show ring. We have to put a stick and spur on our formerly wild pony. Can be a pain, but I'd rather her happier at shows than the other way around!
Last edited by Mayaty02; May. 19, 2013 at 08:48 AM.
My first pony loved horse shows! At home and in the warm up he was always fresh and spunky, but the second he went into the ring, no matter how awful the warm up was, he would go in and be awesome! Granted, sometimes we were probably going too fast sometimes, but so long as he had a big audience I don't think he ever missed a distance or lead change. He was just the biggest show off ever
I had a former mare who loved showing. I'd trailer her everywhere all the time, to trainers, to farriers, to trail rides. She'd get off the trailer at a show and snort around. In no time at all she'd be in a lather, foamy sweat all over her. Every step would have pep, and she just enjoyed being there.
I'd show her in several classes, as she was my only horse and very fit. I'd be competing against others with a trailer full of fresh horses, and she still wouldn't stand to get her ribbon. At home, she'd stand all day for anything.
I used to curse her for it, and now she's gone, I so miss it.
I've known quite a few horses who love to go to horse shows or events.
Both my current horse and my former horse love it. My guy does have some trailer anxiety, which everyone who doesn't know him well always equates with show anxiety. Far from it, he gets to where we're going and he's all "Game face." OR sound asleep (there really is no middle gear with him ). My old horse would drag me to the trailer, and considered horse shows big parties just for him. When he went to his first overnight "party" (We event and are lucky enough to rarely need to overnight) he thought that was the best thing EVER. It was like "All Vernon, all the time."
One of my all time favorite horses LOVES LOVES LOVES showing. It doesn't necessarily mean he's going to perform fabulously (he has a wicked and devious sense of humor that tends to shine brightest at the most inappropriate times), but he loves it, nonetheless. A few years ago he was injured and not working, let alone competing. His stall was directly across from the tack room, and one day I was packing for an event. He quickly realized what I was doing and THREW A TEMPER TANTRUM because he wanted to go. And, I mean, he was like an angry toddler. Banging on his door, screaming, and, at one point threw himself on the floor of his stall. He was PISSED (this is a horse that I rode in a halter and lead rope when he broke his jaw because he was so angry and obnoxious about not being in work ). The day he finally got to go to a show again made him a very exceptionally happy pony.