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Prepping green horse for first event?

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  • Prepping green horse for first event?

    ....
    Last edited by SpotznStripes; Aug. 18, 2011, 03:36 AM.

  • #2
    In answer to your questions, in order:
    No.
    Who knows? She could win the thing. You don't know.
    No.
    Proud & Permanent Student Of The Long Road
    Read me: EN (http://eventingnation.com/author/annemarch/) and HJU (http://horsejunkiesunited.com/author/holly-covey/)

    Comment


    • #3
      I'm not saying I recommend this, but this is my experience:

      I took my green, anxious OTTB to an Elementary Pipe Opener with a second horse last year. We had schooled Xcountry once and trail ridden about 7 times. He was afraid of coops and roll tops in the ring, but would jump them. I felt that he'd be fine with logs but I was unsure about the water with him and about his behavior "off campus".

      My horse was an idiot in warm up- we were sideways running into people even with a "pony horse". Since the actual jumps in the competition were the same size or lower than the warm up jumps, I skipped them and took him right in after a very short warm up.

      We had the second horse follow us on course just for company and a lead if anything went wrong. My horse was great with all of the logs. When we got to the murky pond (which was way too hard for Elementary in my opinion), I could feel him start to balk from 10 strides out. I slowed my trot and asked my follower to go first. The other horse went through the water and up the bank, and my horse followed right along. Afterwards we resumed the lead.

      After the one trip around the little Elementary course, I went a second time alone. The horse was a champ even through the pond and totally calmed down once he realized what was going on. For an anxious horse, it was good for him to just get out there and learn what his job was.

      It is hard for anyone to guess what you should do with your horse, so you'll have to think hard about that. If you want shows to be a low key thing, maybe your horse would be better just going and chilling or just doing dressage? I would think that a nervous horse would be better if it at least schooled before going to a show with so much stimulation.

      On the other hand, the jumps are low enough that you could just walk them and the horse could easily clear them. The worst thing that could happen is that the horse could have a melt down or learn that shows suck and refusing is ok. The best thing is that the horse could learn some confidence and have fun. If the horse is a forward style horse, you'd probably be ok with the jumps. If your horse is a backwards runner or balker, you would definitely want to reconsider and do a schooling instead.

      Just as an update on my horse, I have started competing my anxious OTTB in BBN this year. He's calmed down a lot, and he is happiest and calmest once I focus him on a task (such as jumping or whatever). We've gotten a 7th and a 4th so far, so we're doing ok, but not fabulously (dressage- ugh). We did a pipe opener on Saturday and did the BN course w/no problem.

      Take this with a grain of salt b/c each horse and situation are unique! But my ending suggestion would be to err on the side of caution. You can always go to more shows later, but you can never take back a bad experience.

      Comment


      • #4
        no
        bad experience; either of you could get hurt
        no

        Comment


        • #5
          posted by Right on Target:
          But my ending suggestion would be to err on the side of caution. You can always go to more shows later, but you can never take back a bad experience.
          This.

          My thought is that a horse trial is really showcasing 3 disciplines. Ideally, you go and practice the 3 phases in a show atmosphere where you can school them before you try and put it all together. The problem with most events is that if you have a bad round--you go home for the day, no getting back in the ring. With dressage shows, hunter shows--you can do multiple tests or rounds in a day. Good way to get them started IMO.

          So, for my "just turned" 4 year old, I started out by taking her to a couple schooling dressage shows in May and this past weekend. We did 2 tests each show--great for her to deal with the warm up ring and general show atmosphere. And that was enough for the first couple times out. I have also x-c schooled a couple of times (logs, coops, water, ditch, banks, etc.) My next plan is to go to a little hunter show. We can do a few (or more) rounds in a day. Then, if that goes well, we will consider a combined test (dressage and stadium) or a really relaxed, unrecognized beg novice event. I know am a wuss, but I would never take a horse to an event if they haven't been x-c schooled before.

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            I hope anyone reading this realizes I know its kind of a silly question to post as who knows what could happen...but I'll admit that I do have a reputation for being overly cautious and am just confirming whether for once I am thinking rationally. I also feel that since my background is in another discipline, my opinion on the matter won't carry as much weight if I choose to voice it.

            Comment


            • #7
              Is it YOUR horse? Then you should be listened to. If your trainer won't listen to you; you need to get a new trainer. YOU are YOUR horse's AVOCATE. YOU shoud only have done with YOUR horse what YOU are comfortable with. S A F T E Y for all is first and foremost for ALL eventers at all levels. If this is not your trainer's first rule for everything then find another trainer. Same goes for you as the rider. Fear/lack of conficence/not in your comfort zone in both horse and/or rider causes aweful things to happen especially with the stress of a show added on. Slp2 has great advice. That's how most people with young horses/begining riders start out sucessfully.

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Oh sorry, meant to post that this is not even my horse, but that doesn't mean that I don't care for the horse's well-being!

                Comment


                • #9
                  What I dont understand is why anyone would not do their best to set the horse up for success. Taking a horse to a show unprepared is not setting them up for success, its setting them up for a bad experience. A show is to showcase your training, and if you havent done any training it only showcases the holes. All horses need experience but experience is only as valuable as the quality. Taking her out when she is obviously not ready will only do damage.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    NO. Everyone always tells me that I produce nice young horses who are always so brave and confident but I believe it is because I take my time and always set them up for success. I would rarely ever make my first outing a horse show. Instead, we spend time visiting friends farms, going off the farm to trail riding, a few x-c schoolings and then a show. In the x-c schoolings, I have laid out a plan. First outing we normally do some small stuff just following someone and make the jumps small enough that I can pop over from a walk if needed. I a huge believer in teaching the horse there is no other option besides over the fences so I keep it small with young horses until I have them straight, confident and forward.

                    Some horses don't need all this prep and they are very relaxed and will be fine at a horse show. I have tb's that do their first show within a month of being off the track and some that take a year. It all depends but one thing I do know is that if the first few experiences go badly have fun fixing it because the damage is done.

                    Shows are not the place to school! Heck, I hate mass x-c schoolings so my nervous horses don't even do those for a while until I am sure I can have a positive experience.
                    http://www.benchmarksporthorses.com/

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      no no and no

                      the training has to be there for the safety of both horse and rider.

                      We are starting a four year old this year - she has been under saddle since april - we have started others in eventing, but they were already shown in harness and driven so the stress of off property was not there - we went a little faster with them.

                      We started with just a short course (dressage only). Now she is starting to go off property - first this week to a local event facility - she will do some stadium jumps this week and will walk around the cross course. She will jump some of our small logs in our course (an area that she grazes in) before we go there. After jumping she will be walked around and through the water off property.

                      Next week I hope she will do small cross jumps at her schooling.

                      We have a few contacts where my son can go and take a lesson or two off property with lots of cross jumps. She will also do another dressage bronze show in july. Hopefully in august she will go to her first event or yeh show.

                      And my son has been eventing for 3 years and has worked with a few greenies before. From what you say, you have not.

                      Take your time - set a plan and teach/enjoy the horse and both yourself.

                      That's my recommendation.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        This sounds like a bad idea all around.

                        For one, quietex is not going to do anything. Drugging the horse before sending her XC? That sounds like a good idea, right? No. Throw that idea out of your head.

                        And two, I wouldn't have a problem so much with you TAKING her to the showgrounds and walking her around, letting her see the sights, schooling in the warmup ring, etc. But if she has never been to an event, never gone XC, and has a tendency to err on the side of typical thoroughbred mare, then it is not smart or safe to compete her at this show.

                        Shame on your trainer. She should know better.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          My now 6 year old went to an event as a very early 4 year old at "baby" beginner novice (2'3"ish). He had done NOTHING before. No dressage shows, no hunter shows, not even a tagalong field trip to a show to hang out with his older, competing stable mates (a typical thing we do with our youngsters). He had not had a proper xc school...he'd popped over a couple (as in TWO) of little solid things at the farm we stayed at in Aiken for the winter and knew how to go on and off a little bank and hop over a baby ditch. The closest thing he'd come to a proper school was tagging along IN HAND (once) while the older horses schooled...he splashed in the water and over a different baby ditch and popped over little logs. He could barely canter fences at the point of the event, had never been in a proper dressage ring, never been in an indoor (sj was in a very spooky indoor). Hell, he barely spent any time in ANY ring. He won the whole thing.

                          Now, all that being said, Vernon has ALWAYS acted like he knows EVERYTHING. He was extensively trail ridden as a 3 year old fresh OTTB. He has always been very bold and brave (sometimes stupid brave). He's always been quiet, calm, and well within himself (the farm that originally had him off the track used him as a THREE YEAR OLD to babysit the older show horses on the trail. He still gets roped into that duty). Nothing has seemed hard for him and even at THAT event he learned from jump to jump to jump. He finished the scary show jumping course cantering around like a little hunter, and was pulling me to the last few fences on xc. He was a VERY good, brave, SMART baby and I had ZERO qualms about doing exactly what I did. It helps that I LOVE riding babies and feel very confident in my abilities to make them feel confident. A baby's trust in its rider can make or break a new experience.

                          Vernon is NOT how I typically go about bringing up babies...it just happened to be how it worked out for him and it worked out very, very well (he is now going prelim and trying to haul me to everything he sees on course). However, depending on the venue, I don't think it is necessarily a BAD way to do things...as long as the xc course is very low key (ie, mostly little bitty friendly things, no water, no ditches...just tiny natural things they can just scramble over), I don't think it is the END OF THE WORLD if the baby is well ridden. Not ideal (our babies usually school once or twice, do a couple of little low key CTs or jumper shows, then go out at BN or N), but as long as it is just little stuff, well, something has to be her first show.

                          Yes. Ideally, she'll have a better set up. A couple of outings, a school or two. But I HIGHLY doubt that if the horse is WELL RIDDEN by a CONFIDENT RIDER who the horse trusts that bopping around a little low key, inviting elementary xc course will do detrimental harm to her future or her confidence. If anything, she'll be the better for it.
                          Amanda

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Jleegriffith View Post
                            NO. Everyone always tells me that I produce nice young horses who are always so brave and confident but I believe it is because I take my time and always set them up for success. I would rarely ever make my first outing a horse show. Instead, we spend time visiting friends farms, going off the farm to trail riding, a few x-c schoolings and then a show. In the x-c schoolings, I have laid out a plan. First outing we normally do some small stuff just following someone and make the jumps small enough that I can pop over from a walk if needed. I a huge believer in teaching the horse there is no other option besides over the fences so I keep it small with young horses until I have them straight, confident and forward.

                            Some horses don't need all this prep and they are very relaxed and will be fine at a horse show. I have tb's that do their first show within a month of being off the track and some that take a year. It all depends but one thing I do know is that if the first few experiences go badly have fun fixing it because the damage is done.

                            Shows are not the place to school! Heck, I hate mass x-c schoolings so my nervous horses don't even do those for a while until I am sure I can have a positive experience.
                            This is how it should be done. OP, you should strongly consider finding a trainer who knows what she's doing with young/green horses, because it sure doesn't sound like your current one does.
                            Full-time bargain hunter.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I agree with jlee. The very process of getting on the trailer and going to new environments where the horse can be set up to succeed most definitely will contribute to the first competition.

                              When I was starting my then-horse Rhodes Point into competition (I got him as he turned 5, so this was when he was 6) we had spent a year hacking and traveling around town to different barns to school, etc. He'd done a few local CT's, clinics, etc., and as a result his first competition (BN) was a very good experience and he made the transition really well. He had a lovely temperament, I should say, but certainly wasn't without a few hot moments where active environment was concerned.

                              Quietex, I will tell you, worked best for me when I fed it to the horse while they were quiet. And, even then, it only worked so much. And it made my mare's eyes really red! I aborted that mission very quickly.
                              When blood is the beverage of choice, the sharpest fangs feed first.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                YB- but Vernon was an exception to the rule. Poster said a hot nervous sketchy background horse which makes me say no.

                                I have a horse that sounds like Vernon in the barn right now. He's one of those nice will do anything you ask of him types of horses when it comes to jumping. We might not have our flatwork totally there and we aren't cantering fences or really jumping that much but as a 4yr with very limited mileage he is totally chill about anything asked of him and when asked to jump scary things he is like this is cool instead of OMG. When I know a horse has this attitude I know that taking them to a show with little to no prep will not bother them.

                                I suppose I have had good luck with the Tb's that have super brains. I know I go slower than some people would be I'm okay with that. Once they get it they move on pretty quickly. The hot nervous type require a different program in my experience throwing them into the show environment without prep can cause a lot of stress for them.
                                http://www.benchmarksporthorses.com/

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I guess I'm not as quick to say no. To me it depends on the show. If it is a very LOW key sort of outing.....and the rider/trainer is a very calm and confident rider....it might not be a bad outing.

                                  I would be treating it as a SCHOOLING more than a show. Jumps that are tiny enough to walk over....a schooling atmosphere where the rider takes their time, trotting and walking. It get's them into a warm up and ring and over new jumps.


                                  But you treat the outing as just that...an outing and a schooling. It might be even more controlled than going to a xc schooling day when all hell is breaking loose.

                                  So short version....it might be just fine...but you have to be ready to bag the show if and just school if the horse tells you they are in overload.
                                  ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I'm going to come down on the 'unpopular' side a bit. I compete only OTTB's now which is a different ballpark than showing total greenies. These guys already know how to do a job and some of them have done that job very well. What they need to learn is how to do their new job. I find that, with most of them, the warmup area is going to be the biggest problem. Just being there, with horses going at all speeds in all directions and jumping, can be...well...entertaining. So I have entered horses at schooling events primarily to get them to the venue and get them acclimated to it. We don't have a dressage arena at home and this is an opportunity to ride in one - though the ride might not approximate a dressage test. And the jumps, both XC and SJ, can be jumped or gone around. Not a big deal. They also need to learn about hanging out tied to a trailer - another new experience. There's something about seeing your former stakes winner happily hanging out tied up w/ a hay net and a bucket of water. Most of them, because they've already learned to do a job, then learn a new job fairly easily.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by bornfreenowexpensive View Post
                                      I guess I'm not as quick to say no. To me it depends on the show. If it is a very LOW key sort of outing.....and the rider/trainer is a very calm and confident rider....it might not be a bad outing.

                                      I would be treating it as a SCHOOLING more than a show. Jumps that are tiny enough to walk over....a schooling atmosphere where the rider takes their time, trotting and walking. It get's them into a warm up and ring and over new jumps.


                                      But you treat the outing as just that...an outing and a schooling. It might be even more controlled than going to a xc schooling day when all hell is breaking loose.

                                      So short version....it might be just fine...but you have to be ready to bag the show if and just school if the horse tells you they are in overload.
                                      Yep. Exactly. This was kinda my point. It doesn't HAVE to be a big stressful thing...I think going to ANY show is stressful for a lot of people that they don't know HOW to treat it as just a fun, low key, SCHOOLING opportunity. If it is treated as such, it really should be a very good education (albeit at the right venue...a hectic, over crowded, nightmare of a show with a crappy, trappy course makes all this null and void).

                                      And I whole heartedly agree about the "better than a schooling day" thought. I HATE schooling days...even on made horses. One of our clients the other day said "It's just like a show!" Umm....no, it's not. A show has ONE horse on the course, not 40 going in a million different directions!

                                      And, yes, Vernon is an exceptional exception to the rule, but I still don't think that a well ridden baby ridden with schooling in mind at the right kind of venue does not immediately mean disaster. It wouldn't be the way I would do every horse, but I don't think it is the end of the world if it does happen on occasion, even with a nervous horse (as long as it is all done right).
                                      Amanda

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by yellowbritches View Post
                                        ...But I HIGHLY doubt that if the horse is WELL RIDDEN by a CONFIDENT RIDER who the horse trusts that bopping around a little low key, inviting elementary xc course will do detrimental harm to her future or her confidence. If anything, she'll be the better for it.
                                        Amen. Totally agree.

                                        But who knows if the OP has your listed requirements going on with this horse? Internet training ***can*** be ridiculous, hence MY conservative answers to her three questions.

                                        Life is short and urgent. If the horse needs schooling or experience get it in the trailer.
                                        Proud & Permanent Student Of The Long Road
                                        Read me: EN (http://eventingnation.com/author/annemarch/) and HJU (http://horsejunkiesunited.com/author/holly-covey/)

                                        Comment

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