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Acclimating the TB to the under saddle class

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  • Acclimating the TB to the under saddle class

    So, my saintly OTTB went to his first horse show today. And instead of using his show name we should have called him "shock and awe"! He was completely overwhelmed and this was a small local show. At home and even away with only one other horse in the ring he is fantastic. So sane I would put my novice husband on him. However today he just could not handle it. We arrived hours early, hand walked around for over an hour, hung out by the ring etc. We then lunged, cooled out, hung out around the trailer and then I got on him. He was definitely tense when I first got on him but he settled and was good under saddle when we hacked with just his barn mate as a companion. I was feeling good at this point. We went in the walk trot class and he just lost it. I don't know if it was the people clapping on the rail about the results of the previous class, or if it was being in a ring with other horses and ponies but he was completely undone. He is at my friends farm with only one other horse (hers) so we cant simulate an under saddle class at home. Besides going to horse show after horse show any suggestions? TIA
    "If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man." Mark Twain

  • #2
    Nah, just go to horse show after horse show.... seriously. You don't even have to show, just go hang out, hack, make it low drama and as relaxing as possible.

    Maybe hit up some dressage schooling shows, or some really small local shows, where there are only going to be a few other horses in the ring.

    Keep working hard on your flatwork at home, so you have the tools in your toolbox for those moments when he squirrels out.

    Some OTTBs never really love busy warm-up rings or hack classes. But a lot of them figure it out, eventually.

    Ear stuffies can be your friend, too!
    Last edited by FlashGordon; May. 26, 2013, 09:59 PM.
    We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.

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    • #3
      if you can take him to a few shows to hang out and relax without showing, he might get used to it a little sooner. It's a pretty big adjustment, especially if the farm where he lives is quiet. Once they go to a few shows and learn that there is no starting gate lurking anywhere, they have fewer problems with flashbacks. Usually.

      Good luck!

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      • #4
        I dont know what to suggest, but mine is the same way. He is a saint and total packer at the 3' and 3'6 hunters. He is lazy, goes in big spurs. Until you get him in the hack. If any horse comes close behind him, thats it...he leaps, squeals, bucks etc. He isnt a hack prize in good company anyway, so I just forefit

        He is fine in a busy ring, as long as the horses arent going all the same direction. I bet with more experience and off property time, yours will too.

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        • #5
          I took my OTTB to his first show it was a relatively quite local show but the warm-up ring can get crazy. I opted to do the ground pole division because it was the only walk/trot division...apparently they don't offer trotting cross rail divisions anymore, oh well. I bought warm up round tickets and schooled him/warmed him up solo in the arena. This only worked because we were the first division of the day. I was lucky and there were only two others in our flat classes and I just kept very aware to circle and keep him separate without being super noticeable. After we completed our division I walked him on a loose rein in the busy warm up ring. My second show I opted for a dressage show, since everyone has a scheduled time to show the warm-up was much quieter and of course we rode our tests alone. It made for a very easy first two shows.

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          • #6
            Mine used to get pretty worked up too - he's smart, and he figured out that after walk, trot, walk...was CANTER! And to the LEFT! WOOOOOOO!!!

            I just took him to lots of little schooling shows, and when it came time to canter to the left, I gave him a chance to be calm. If he took off on me, he got put on a circle. When he settled, I let him go large. More scooting = more circling. One day the light bulb went on, and he is now a superstar in the under saddle. Not especially fancy, but *always* well-behaved.

            At the time, I was also at a farm with only one other riding horse. I used to practice having her canter up behind me, pass closely, come head on towards me, cut close to me, etc to simulate the under saddle/warm up ring with a horse he knew.
            I've spent most of my life riding horses. The rest I've just wasted.

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            • #7
              It's often the PA System....
              Keep going to shows, he'll settle if you let him..
              madeline
              * What you release is what you teach * Don't be distracted by unwanted behavior* Whoever waits the longest is the teacher. Van Hargis

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              • #8
                Completely normal, your saintly OTTB is still a saint. This too shall pass.
                no hoof, no horse
                no head, no horseman. just wear it.

                Comment


                • #9
                  LOL, my DD could have written the exact same post last weekend. Just keep taking him. It should get a little better every time.

                  Ours had a complete meltdown and went into the full black stallion rear in the schooling ring. Next day, he schooled much better (and longer) and he did much better in his classes.
                  Lowly Farm Hand with Delusions of Barn Biddieom.
                  Witherun Farm
                  http://witherun-farm.blogspot.com/

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                  • #10
                    Mine flat ran off with me in her first flat class... as in flat out race speed gallop that I could not stop or even slow down for at least 10 minutes! (the rest of the class hung out in the center, so no one got run over) It's not like I'm some little beginner rider who doesn't know how to stop, either...

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                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      So glad I'm not alone! My plan is to take him and hang out as much as possible to the local shows shows and maybe do the small jumping classes. We will attempt the hack at a later date! Oh and the ear druggies are a good idea however however he was obviously eared to get him in the starting gate so his ears are a sensitive topic
                      "If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man." Mark Twain

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        My older TB never could handle flat classes. One of the first classes I went in he kept looking at the other horses in HIS ring. He hated sharing the spot light and so I just didn't enter flat classes, I show for fun and he was very fun and loved his over fences classes. He was perfect over fences so I did not push the issues with flat classes.

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                        • #13
                          Just keep going to shows, he'll get used to it! Taking my youngster to his first this weekend, and like yours he's a saint "at home". I'm putting my trainer on him for his first show and we'll just play it by ear. If he's unraveling, then we keep it as calm as possible and maybe even not actually go into the show ring. Young ones take time, but they will get used to it.....promise
                          Go Ahead: This is a dare, not permission. Don't Do It!

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                          • #14
                            I had the same experience as fourmares but it got better as we showed more. I used to stand him by the ring to watch classes until he was bored silly. I did stop showing for several years and our first show back was a huge OTTB flat class. He was pretty tense, quick, and high headed but no bolt or buck, thank goodness! The second show, was a much smaller flat class and he did great. You just have to keep doing it. Good luck!!!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Sometimes the horse show environment is too reminiscent of race day at the racetrack. It's a hard thought process to break in certain horses. Start by riding the horse more frequently in situations with more horses around. Sometimes I will tack up a couple of horses and leave the OTTB tied ringside while the ring is busy. Other times I will take a tacked up OTTB out to a busy ring (either at home or somewhere else) and just sit on its back and walk/stand and talk to people, etc.

                              You also need more trips off the farm with more horses around. Group lessons and clinics are wonderful for the OTTB. Work a little, wait and watch the other horses, work a little, etc. Dressage shows are great too, anything that will help you prove to him over and over again that going to a busy new place with other horses working alongside of him does NOT mean that a race is imminent.

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                              • #16
                                Went through this last year with ottb. After the first show he was really mellow... Until the last one I took him to with our pony. He got really buddy sour after she went back to the trailer and he went in the first class. After this class he was great but he had already introduced himself to the judge as a nut. Not trying to go off on a tangent about "me" but just wondering if when you say he lost it was he acting buddy bound? Like screaming for his companion? Maybe this plays in and maybe not but if you think it does then it may be a benefit to take him somewhere without his friend?

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                                • #17
                                  At home, maybe play "hunter pass" ( with the help of some willing friends) a sort of leap frog type exercise to get horses used to passing and being passed at all gaits.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    See if you can find a local show where you can do several flat classes. Get there very early. Hand graze around the ring & check everything out. Then do as many flat classes as you can. Focus on keeping him calm and staying out of others way so you don't negatively impact their show. Have a friend waiting at the in gate-with a treat on the way out no matter what happens. So he has several classes to learn that nothing exciting happens in the ring but there are definitely treats involved. My first show with my mare, we bucked the entire length of the ring at the first canter. Now we just have to make sure she doesn't take the announcers calls as voice commands-especially when they're for another ring!!!

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Play a loud radio near the arena when you ride at home!
                                      Me: In a long-winded explanation of who GM is and why he is Important to the Sport
                                      Mr EmJ: So what you're saying is GM is so Important he could get Chik-Fil-A on Sunday?

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        MILES..... and what every one has said....

                                        Don't be discouraged.. it happens as you can see.

                                        Story:

                                        It was 1973, I was an 8 year old little girl with a OTTB (appy) in a flat class; oh yes he was good at home and in lessons... well show day came in the class he TOOK OFF WITH ME. What a brat!! I was so frustrated!!!! I thought this was how it was going to be FOREVER!!!!

                                        It was at a local schooling show, and my first Hunter show ever.... judge walked up to me and said - you have a beautiful horse and are a beautiful rider; keep at it and you will be unstoppable."

                                        Then back at the barn; all kinds of nay-sayers would say "the hot of the TB and the stubborn of the Appy you will NEVER make him a good horse". But I never let go of those words the judge said at the show and used the words of the nay-sayers to inspire me; "I will show them." says a stubborn, horse-crazy little girl!

                                        This OTTB (appy) was three years old then (yes pretty brave of my parents who obviously didn't know better than to put a 8 year old kid on a OTTB three year old) But is was the 70's

                                        And over the years he got better and better. He was the best horse!!!!!!! I did 3 day with him, Hunters, Equitation, trail trials, barrel racing and he lived until he was 40 years old.......

                                        Enjoy the journey and keep at it even when it seems impossible!
                                        Live in the sunshine.
                                        Swim in the sea.
                                        Drink the wild air.

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