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Stage Fright? Only Misbehaves at horse shows

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  • Stage Fright? Only Misbehaves at horse shows

    Need some ideas and always great input here. I've sort of a plan and idea, but....

    My MADE hunter who has loped around 3' a/a courses and won at Thermal/Indio, Pebble Beach, etc was off for 18 months and now back to work. I've had him 24 months.

    Fourth show together, and all of a sudden he's spooky, stops in the corner or three or so strides from the jump--loses focus after the first two stellar lines. Actually this behaviour started to show up 2nd show and 3rd show. Doesn't do any of this at home.

    He's been lunged (which I hate having to do to tire him--soundness issue-wise), has been on quieting powder. He acts like this is all new to him. Trainer got on and luckily the steward stopped that schooling session or I would have. No idea she had that beating in mind, and that made him more tense--yes I am mad.

    Sigh....part of me thinks physical problem--like pre Cushings and he has some Cortisol explosion that his brain can't stop so he freaks. Animal communicator says he gets bored loping around and looks for something to do/attitude problem.

    My grooms say lunge! and ear plugs no matter the weather. And Perfect Prep. I will admit the first show I was very strict with the quieting powder and that was a great show. But even with quieting powder other shows (more powder when given, but not every day) he's good sometimes and then horrid others--even on the days he gets quieting stuff (magnesium, B6, etc).

    Trainer yelling about selling him, but so not ready to give up in four shows.

    Ideas for quieting or problems? Tack fits, he's super sound and he's super quiet, packer at home. It's a stage fright thing, but he's got the miles.
    Ps. I know this is a reallllly generalized letter, but can add more if you need to know more.
    Thanks!
    My treasures do not chink, nor glitter. They carry me to great heights, they gleam in the sun, and they neigh in the night. That is my life, at the end of the day.

  • #2
    No suggestions about the horse, but get a new trainer YESTERDAY.

    Edited to add: what I've heard from your post, is that you've tried every easy way out: supplements/ear plugs/lunging. I think you need to a get good trainer who can school him and show him and get his confidence back to where it used to. Right now this sounds like a disaster to me (your trainer beats your horse to the point where a STEWARD has to intervene? Your grooms are the ones telling you how to prep your horse for a show?)

    Comment


    • #3
      Ran into a similar situation last summer. Horse was off for 22 months dealing with and correcting some soundness issues. First of all, get rid of that trainer! Any trainer who loses their temper and disciplines a horse to the point of a steward intervening - they don't deserve to be riding your horse!

      Next, I would ABSOLUTELY rule out any physical issues. I don't know how much money you can/want to put into this, but the owner of the aforementioned horse did a full body scan and an MRI on two specific limbs. Generally, a Steady Eddy that becomes a Wild Willy is doing so from something physical.

      I would also QUIT LUNGING. I have no problem with lunging a horse to prepare it for the ring when it's done correctly. However, a horse that's had physical problems - we generally will not put on the lunge line and find other ways to get them ready for the ring. Perfect Prep, several light hacks throughout the day, spending as much time as possible in the ring the days before he shows. It may take some figuring out, but you have to be patient and not rush the horse or immediately turn to discipline.

      Does your trainer ride this horse at home without you there, or at the shows when you're not there?

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        REL6--thanks. Salt in the wound. She has stood by us throughout the rehab, hard to just leave. But I hear you--it was embarassing.
        Have you all seen the latest "BUCK" trailer, where the owner talks about rushing the horse and scaring it? Maybe too my dreams to get back to the A/A's was just too much too soon for him.

        laughATTACK--trainer hasn't been riding him much up until schools getting ready for this past show and then in an open division at the shows. If rides are happening when I'm not there, I am not aware. I don't think so though--typically that's not part of the program unless an owner requests and pays per ride. Are you suggesting more trainer rides would be good or bad? I really think NOT GOOD.

        And ultimately, I'm gonna have to figure out how to ride him better and what works for his nerves. Another year of practice over low jumps maybe. I got him sound, I can figure out his brain too, I suppose.
        My treasures do not chink, nor glitter. They carry me to great heights, they gleam in the sun, and they neigh in the night. That is my life, at the end of the day.

        Comment


        • #5
          Ditch the trainer. Can't believe you are still there after trainer got stopped by the steward for beating your horse.

          Next, take it to the vet. Then take it to a different trainer and do some pro rides in the Lows, etc. Horse might just need some re-tuning and will be fine with a show or two with the pro.

          Third, analyze yourself -- do you get nerves at the shows? If you are riding over-passively or stiffly due to show nerves, horse might have your number and you will need a new trainer who can help you work through it. Maybe to the 2'6 for a show or two to get yourself going again, as well as the horse.

          My jumper has had significant time off as well and my lovely boy who used to lope around the Level 5s feels like he did his first year in the Hopeful Jumpers -- sometimes time off makes them revert to green and they need to back off and start over a little.

          Comment


          • #6
            Try some Ulcergaurd-just at the show...sometimes horses get too much acid going with stress (like at a show). Some of our horses go on Ulcergaurd just at the shows, and it helps them settle and with spooking. I think some horses get upset tummies and it comes out in other ways.

            No comment on the trainer.....
            Certified Spiritual Medium/ Animal Communicator
            www.heatherevebristol.com
            www.meliorastables.net

            Comment


            • #7
              I may be way off but I just may have a solid point here too

              You basically have only had this horse for 6 months! 18 months was rehab... riding time 6 months and I am sure you did not jump or do anything strenous with him right off the lay up. SO - he needs time to get back in the swing of things and you just may have to learn how to ride him. I am not saying you don't know how to ride, and ride well, I am saying he could be one of those special rides

              I am thinking you bought this made hunter cheaply of sorts with a pre-exsisting injury? What other injuries could he have lurking that is making his this way? Maybe none but it may be something to look into.

              I appalude your trainer for being there throughout your horses layup but, I, not for a second would title her as "A Trainer" if I saw her on a horse pulling acts like she did to your horse. What help did she provide you besides the good ol "Sell the Horse" BULL ?

              There may be a easy fix to this situation however, I think you need to "weed out" the bad surrounding you and your horse first before you can focus on a game plan.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by horsegurl View Post
                REL6--thanks. Salt in the wound. She has stood by us throughout the rehab, hard to just leave. But I hear you--it was embarassing.
                Have you all seen the latest "BUCK" trailer, where the owner talks about rushing the horse and scaring it? Maybe too my dreams to get back to the A/A's was just too much too soon for him.

                laughATTACK--trainer hasn't been riding him much up until schools getting ready for this past show and then in an open division at the shows. If rides are happening when I'm not there, I am not aware. I don't think so though--typically that's not part of the program unless an owner requests and pays per ride. Are you suggesting more trainer rides would be good or bad? I really think NOT GOOD.

                And ultimately, I'm gonna have to figure out how to ride him better and what works for his nerves. Another year of practice over low jumps maybe. I got him sound, I can figure out his brain too, I suppose.
                I was definitely suggesting that more trainer rides from that trainer would be bad! I was asking about how much goes on when you're not present because a trainer that treats a horse like that in public - well, it's definitely not the first time they've treated a horse like that. I was wondering if perhaps this had happened to your horse before, but it sounds like you're there whenever he/she gets on your horse.

                Rides from a trainer sound like they'd be a good idea - but with a different trainer. Find someone who isn't going to be in a rush to get the horse competing at his previous level. it sounds like he either has some confidence issues or some physical issues (which can sometimes lead to confidence issues. For example, if it hurt when they jumped, they might think it's still going to hurt.) Take him to some shows, and have a new trainer do some schooling classes. Low fence heights, and have the horse's needs first. If a circle is needed, do it. If maybe he needs to be patted and reassured, do it. Whatever it takes. Is he getting in the ring before he shows? That can make a huge difference. Get him in there and just let him hang out, and relax. Work him a little, but also just let him stroll around and get comfortable.

                Best of luck!

                Comment


                • #9
                  A trainer that needs to be stopped by the steward is a bad thing, not matter how close you are. Where are you in CA? Post or PM me, maybe we can help you find someone who is a better fit for you and your horse.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Were you off showing too?
                    Is the horse with the same trainer that it was when it was showing before the time off?
                    Basically, any time a horse takes that much time off it's going to go back through a period where showing is "new" to it. If you've also been out of the ring, you're going through the same thing yourself and probably unintentionally adding to the horse's problems. Whatever your answer is, it's definitely not stop showing. You have to show in order to practice showing.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Ditto on the Ulcergard. Start a couple of days before the show. No harm in trying, and it seemed to solve mine's issues at shows.
                      Rest in peace Claudius, we will miss you.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Can you go to some schooling shows and just hack? Don't even ask the horse to jump. Just school on the flat When he's ready, maybe bump him up to 2' or 2'3" and do a few shows. Then a few 2'6" divisions until BOTH of you are ready for bigger. Schooling shows are great because you can get cheap miles.
                        Member of the "I Ride A Chestnut Thoroughbred Mare, So You Don't Scare Me Clique"

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Multi posters----New trainer...in the works. No big schooling or shows scheduled for us, so not too worried on that for now. Gotta take a couple months and work so I can show later!

                          Two the Nines, Meliroa--Ulcerguard...forgot all about that!! Seeeee....this is why I post here! thanks thanks. Do you do a general probiotic digestive enzyme at home and then add the ulcer guard prior to and at shows, or....??

                          LockeMeadows. Yes....thought of that and part of new plan forming!! Thanks so much.
                          My treasures do not chink, nor glitter. They carry me to great heights, they gleam in the sun, and they neigh in the night. That is my life, at the end of the day.

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