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Readying Baby for Show

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  • Readying Baby for Show

    So a spin off the 3 y/o at show thread.

    What do you all do to prep your babies mind for their first show and lesson the baby crazies as I call it?

    Trails, road hacks etc? I would love to hear your ideas!

  • #2
    Haul him anywhere and everywhere. Make it a positive, but business like experience. If you are not riding yet, ground-drive him, lunge, do in-hand work.
    If you have in-hand horseshows to go to--do that.
    I have been hauling my 3 yr old, 1/2 arab-Holst youngster to anyplace I can and have been to as many sporthorse arab shows as possible. He is totally bored with the SH arab in-hand classes but he gets out and about. He is willing to go in any trailer, anywhere! He is comfortable being away from home, too.
    So riding him at different venues will be no big deal. I will get on him for 30 days in Sept, then a break until Dec.


    • Original Poster

      Awesome JC! I have never tried ground driving... I think I might do this!


      • #4
        My 3yo is under saddle. Lightly started the beginning of the year. She has been to 3 or 4 local arenas for schooling, she has been to 1 show as a non-competing horse. Tons of trail rides and this weekend we are going gathering/branding! (Hope I don't get laughed at too loud in my dressage saddle). She jumps right in the trailer everytime and isn't easily distracted anymore. The things that do startle her are very legitimate. She stands tied to the trailer quietly and as long as I let her do a big, loose rein walk for 20 mins or so, she'll settle right in.
        Do not toy with the dragon, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup!


        • #5
          Travel to many places with your baby and make it seem fun! It's only a baby...if it has trouble loading, work on that for a limited amount of time everyday, and reward him. If he is spooky, walk him past the monstrous object once, keeping your focus on going forward, and don't let him sit and stare at it, nor force him past it. Even little things at home like walking him through puddles, on trails, and past different obstacles will help his courage and confidence.

          Mix it up and make everything positive!


          • #6
            3 is easy...wait until they turn 4 and a half and have some power
            Humans don’t mind duress, in fact they thrive on it. What they mind is not feeling necessary. –Sebastian Junger


            • #7
              I did the same as jcotton with my half Arab/Oldenburg youngster. He started showing in-hand when he was 2 and went to 2-3 overnight shows each year, including our Arab Sport Horse Regional Champs, where he had to stay 5 days the first year since I was also showing another horse the last two days of the show. He learned that 'home is where the hay net is" and after two years of that, when he was finally started u/s, his first outings were very calm non-eventful.

              If you have no in-hand shows to go to, take him to shows as a 'non-compete' to get him acclimated to the show atmosphere- walk him around, let him look at everything. Make it FUN for him to go new places. When I took my guy to his first show i made it a point to get him out a LOT and not make him stand in a stall 12 hours a day. I also fed him many small meals throughout the day so he would be less bored and also associate going places with something he LIKED to do - EAT! LOL. Even now, at shows, he gets fed more and more often than he does at home.

              I ground drove my guy too (I ground drive all my youngsters) but I did not do it at shows - just no enclosed place and I did not want to risk him getting away from me. We went for lots of walks and did lots of hand grazing. The only time I really lunged him was during the 5-day show when he was 2 - just to let him let off some steam.

              As a comparison, his half sister, who is the same age, and hardly got off the farm, (I was too busy carting the other one to shows! LOL!) was a lunatic at her first few shows. Starting her under saddle was a complete non-event compared to taking her to her first few shows! She's great now - but she gave me a few more gray hairs!
              Donerail Farm