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How does your horse cope with long show days?

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  • How does your horse cope with long show days?

    Went to small local show this Saturday, it was exceptionally well run and I definitely plan to make it a regular on my schedule. Critter was great in the morning, she jumped everything quietly and calmly. The first division went pretty well for us, one line was quick and I we chipped the out on the last line of the second course. But we got lead changes so I was happy (they've been a tough concept for Critter). Then we waited... about an hour and a half for the next division. She seemed quite relaxed and just hung out with loose saddle and a bucket of water. I got back on before the second division, cantered around the warm up ring. She was a little hot, but seemed ok about the whole thing. Go in for our first course of second division and she lost it half way through. The first single and line were pretty good... even got the changes, but after the second line she started throwing her head up, waaaaay up, past point of control. She's never done this before, hence she wasn't in a martingale. At that point I figured what the heck and cantered a circle before proceeding to the next fence. She came right back to me cantered softly and quietly to the fence then flipped her head again. In the process of coming back though she tripped and we both went down. Nothing worse than a skinned knee for her and a jammed shoulder for me.

    Long story for short question: how do you teach your horse that s/he has to go back to work? I work full time so it's not like I can ride horse in morning then again in the afternoon. Next week my strategy will be to untack and tie on the trailer rather than wait around tacked up. Also plan to pick up a standing martingale to avoid the head above control point. How do you help your horses cope with the long day? I see a lot of horses at these shows that just keep going all day long, but what kind of work is prepping the horse during the week? Thanks in advance
    "Beware the hobby that eats."
    Benjamin Franklin

  • #2
    My horses don't have to come out for a second division if they are good. They learn that if they do there job they are done. My horse now goes in 2 classes a day. 3 if there is a flat. He has learned that if he is good at his job he doesn't do a warm-up trip or any other classes and his job is easy.

    Save the money on the extra divisions and classes and take them out again to another show. They are show horses they are supposed to put on a performance. You can't expect them to put on a spectacular performance if they are dull.
    www.patchworkfarmga.com

    "The harder you train, the luckier you get!"

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Van Gogh View Post
      My horses don't have to come out for a second division if they are good. They learn that if they do there job they are done. My horse now goes in 2 classes a day. 3 if there is a flat. He has learned that if he is good at his job he doesn't do a warm-up trip or any other classes and his job is easy.

      Save the money on the extra divisions and classes and take them out again to another show. They are show horses they are supposed to put on a performance. You can't expect them to put on a spectacular performance if they are dull.
      Okay, then, Van Gogh, what if her only division had been the second one. Lets say the horse was PERFECT for schooling in the morning and then had to wait around for a division later in the day. Would you have any advice then, or would you recommend that she not school the horse in the morning?

      OP, I've not had this problem because I usually have a stall. Sometimes there will be a big gap if the younger adults go first, then the middle and olders go before the second classic round. My horse goes back to the stall and hangs out until it's time to get back on. Or if I go early in a big division and then have to come back out 2 hours later for the hack.

      (See Van Gogh, there are reasons to teach your horse to deal with it even if you DO only go in one division.)

      I think that untacking would be a good idea. I think, though, that it's just gonna take a few shows for the horse to figure it out. It's one of the things that "show horses" learn to deal with. Is there a pro that could do her in a division later in the day? Just to make sure the horse is getting the most positive ride possible and so you don't get frustrated with the horse?

      I think it's just going to take a few shows. Can you make a box stall in the trailer and let that be her stall while you wait?
      Originally posted by tidy rabbit
      Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community.

      Comment


      • #4
        I would not recommend schooling in the morning if they are a "one shot" kinda horse.

        I do understand that you sometimes have to come back ( a classic or a hack class). I'm not saying that I would never bring my horse back out of the stall. I just think that once they understand that there job is easy a once in a while "come back out and work again" won't bother them. I think if they are not treated like a show you can't expect them to give a show performance.

        I would definitely take the advice of untacking and giving them a break. Get a stall or make your trailer into a stall where they can eat and drink and relax. Make your horses job something they enjoy and they will give you more of there "best"
        www.patchworkfarmga.com

        "The harder you train, the luckier you get!"

        Comment


        • #5
          Hmmm, interesting, I've never thought of making my trailer into a stall for a 1 day show. But hanging on to a green horse all day is not my idea of fun either so I mignt try it. Any tips/pros/cons of the trailer stall issue?

          Comment


          • #6
            I usually just do 2 classes a day (I'm in jumpers) and if my 2nd class is longer than an hour after my first, I will let my mare go back to her stall, take her tack off & just chill for a while. She's usually then good to go for the 2nd class. If I'm at a show where I'm just there for the day & thus have no stall, I let her stand & chill by taking off her saddle & martingale & having a bucket of water nearby for her. My mare has just learnt over the years that it's easier to stand & snooze than to make a fuss!
            Go Ahead: This is a dare, not permission. Don't Do It!

            Comment


            • #7
              How long do you ride at home?
              How many fences do you jump?
              What does the horse do after? Tied to a fence/trailer with a bucket of water or back to their stall?

              We actually set their internal "time clocks" by what we do at home. You ride an average of 40 minutes to an hour? Jump, maybe, 30 fences? Then they get a nice shower and go back to the stall or pasture?

              Then you go to a show. You ride an hour and jump 30 fences then get off? The get on again and expect to ride another hour and jump another 30 fences? NOT. Not in the contract, they are calling their agent and filing a grievance.

              Just think about it. They learn by repetition and doubling or tripleing their workload and hours at work is going to result in either a disobedient horse that has had enough or one worked to exhaustion-neither is what you want.

              OP needs to rethink her prep and, maybe, ride twice a day a few times so horsey learns that the tack off does not mean rest of day off.

              OP needs to consider the horse is really not that comfortable tied up-can't roll and many will NOT pee when tied. Get a stall or take the divider out of the trailer to give the horse a nice, private, quiet place to stand out of the sun, wind and rain.

              That's what I did and still do when I did multiple divisions or had to wait around all day, Make sure the horse understood the concept of working more then 40 minutes once a day and had an appropriate place to hang they were real comfortable with.
              When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

              The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

              Comment


              • #8
                A "luxury problem"

                Going twice in one day. Oh, the Humanity!

                Like findeight's animals, by horse belongs to a well organized union with certain stipulations for Labor (him) that Management (me) must not violate. He doesn't appreciate his job security or bennies.

                Yes, horses need to be taught to go more than once a day. Yes, it's just too damned bad that they don't think this is a necessary skill.

                Ways around it. Weekends at home, ride more than once if you can. A light hack am and then perhaps a short jumping school pm. Give her a chance at home to make the mistake she did at the show so you can correct it.

                Also, other posters are right about making your horse comfortable. You don't want to make a show harder than life at home, but easier. Make your rig into a box stall. Bring shavings for her to pee on. Pony up for a stall if you can. I do this at one-day shows and I often won't go if that can't be arranged. This is a concession I make to my horse because I want my sport to be easy for him as I can. This wasn't his idea, after all.

                I think you and your mare can meet in the middle somewhere...without both sides bringing their respective attorneys!
                The armchair saddler
                Politically Pro-Cat

                Comment


                • #9
                  I agree w/ what the others have said here. I would like to add, since I am also a working adult with limited time, one of the tricks I've used with green horses in the past to 'train their brains' when you have limited time is to hack/school horse like you normally would at home. After you've cooled out and untacked, take the horse back out for a 5-10 minute lunge or work on some ground work where the horse has to stand still, back, side pass, etc. Something that engages their brains. This teaches the horse that just because you get off and untack, they are not necessarily done for the day.

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    She's been quite comfy tieing after being done with two divisions before. Those two were back to back though, so there was much less waiting around. I did like this show and the gap between her divisions is a good thing for her to get accustomed to anyway. I'll have to debate about the stall, maybe try the trailer next time around then a stall the time after to see what the difference in comfort/attitude is for the horse.

                    I do like the suggestion to do our regular evening's workout, cool out, put up then do some lunge/ground work. I will have to try that today. It just may be enough to get her brain re-engaged and still give me time to devote to family.

                    I'm stuck riding in the "open" divisions since I teach a couple kids a week. Even though I haven't brought them with me to this show I don't feel right pulling the shammy trick, so having another pro ride knocks me out of a division. Yep, selfish... but I want to ride my own horse.
                    "Beware the hobby that eats."
                    Benjamin Franklin

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I try very hard not to make Her Highness wait around ringside for long. She is miserable to deal with (won't stand, etc.) at shows if she has to stand too long. If it looks like there is going to be more than about a 45 minute wait, I will put her back into her stall to chill. It doesn't take that long to throw a saddle back on when the time comes.
                      A proud friend of bar.ka.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        At the bigger shows we get a stall. That way I can put the big-boy in his stall and he can relax. He will eat his hay, drink water, and snooze. He gets real cranky if I use him as easy chair on the ring side.

                        At the smaller shows I untack him and load him on the trailer with all the windows open, and the side load open. He gets LOTS of air, and can watch it all. I also don't have to hold him. He snoozes and I snooze.
                        OTTB - Hurricane Denton - Kane - the big dog!
                        Tuggy - RIP 9/12/2016 - Wait for me at the bridge
                        Foster LolaMaria AKA LolaBean (Boxer)

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I would try taking group lessons at home. My mare would go ballistic waiting her turn to jump and would paw, bolt, snort, and be a pain in the ass. Then when it was our turn she would act like a lunatic. We spent months spending the entire lesson time moving her butt until she figured it out. Then she was more then happy to wait patiently and then go jump a bit then wait patiently. So by the time we showed she go the concept of jump a bit, wait a bit, jump a bit.

                          What didn't work so well was that she got pretty herdbound so then we started having to take lessons by waiting outside the ring alone, going in alone, going back out to her friends, going back in. It was a pain but she eventually figured out that she was not going to die alone and I wasn't going to let up.
                          http://weanieeventer.blogspot.com/

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Two full divisions in a day sounds like a recipe for burnout to me. If it's just that your one division is split and runs with a break in the middle- I agree with the suggestion of long group lessons to get your horse accustomed to breaks.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by JumpWithPanache View Post
                              Went to small local show this Saturday, it was exceptionally well run and I definitely plan to make it a regular on my schedule. Critter was great in the morning, she jumped everything quietly and calmly. The first division went pretty well for us, one line was quick and I we chipped the out on the last line of the second course. But we got lead changes so I was happy (they've been a tough concept for Critter). Then we waited... about an hour and a half for the next division. She seemed quite relaxed and just hung out with loose saddle and a bucket of water. I got back on before the second division, cantered around the warm up ring. She was a little hot, but seemed ok about the whole thing. Go in for our first course of second division and she lost it half way through. The first single and line were pretty good... even got the changes, but after the second line she started throwing her head up, waaaaay up, past point of control. She's never done this before, hence she wasn't in a martingale. At that point I figured what the heck and cantered a circle before proceeding to the next fence. She came right back to me cantered softly and quietly to the fence then flipped her head again. In the process of coming back though she tripped and we both went down. Nothing worse than a skinned knee for her and a jammed shoulder for me.

                              Long story for short question: how do you teach your horse that s/he has to go back to work? I work full time so it's not like I can ride horse in morning then again in the afternoon. Next week my strategy will be to untack and tie on the trailer rather than wait around tacked up. Also plan to pick up a standing martingale to avoid the head above control point. How do you help your horses cope with the long day? I see a lot of horses at these shows that just keep going all day long, but what kind of work is prepping the horse during the week? Thanks in advance
                              If this only happened once... are we maybe jumping the gun?

                              If she's flipping her head... perhaps she got dirt... or a bug up her nose... in her eye... etc? I've had plenty of my prima-donnas have a near coronary on course bc of a freak fly attack.... footing to the face... etc. IT happens... sometimes they roll with it... sometimes, they don't. Much like people... sometimes a gnat is just a gnat... sometimes it's the end of the world (or at least, a necessary "eyewash" situation).

                              Could it be a temper tantrum? Sure. But maybe it was also a freak event, I wouldn't go over the top until I knew it was a really an issue.

                              Also, if she's a sensitive mare, I'd strip the saddle off and maybe carry a halter down to the ring area and pull off her tack in the interim. If there's no shot of her having a stall and she's not when left on a trailer, then making her as comfortable as possible should help.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                another idea. Ride at home, then halt, and stand in the middle of the ring, or on the rail - wherever. Let her fall asleep, completely relax etc. Then ask her to get to work again. Do this several times in one session... she'll quickly learn work is work!

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  OP, i give my pony a tube of electrolyte stuff which is good for hot days, a morning of a show, or something. it doesn't make him hot or anything, just gives him a little more will to "go". on the other hand, i always try and make sure i am only doing classes that are one right after the other so i dont' have to come back later. however it's hard to avoid coming back later sometimes, like if i'm at an A show and sometimes you have to come back for another round of the classic or medal--which may be hours later, if eliminations are made because it's a large group of riders.

                                  however, i have much more problems with just riding late in general. the past 2 shows ive gone to have been local, and at one in february i allowed my pony to stay on the trailer to munch because it was crowded in the indoor and there was nowhere to walk him (it was dark and freezing and windy outside). we didn't end up riding til 7 ish. so he was stiff from staying on the trailer, but there wasn't much i could do. our trailer couldn't bring him in later and closer to when we were riding because they'd lose their spot or something. so then at another recent show, about two weeks ago, i made sure the trailer got there much later and i made sure my pony only sat on the trailer for an hour or two before i took him off to graze and walk around so he wouldn't get stiff. we ended up riding around 8 and didnt finish til 930. it was a long day. my pony didnt really want to go. icant blame him, i wasnt all that motivated either. it gets to that point where you want to scratch but you cant because itll be a huge waste of money and time, and you might as well get it over with. this is why i love A shows. I can put him in a stall and i can hang out and know what time i'll be riding. i don't have to wait anxiously all day. my pony doesnt have to get anxious either. he can eat and be normal in a stall and then ill take him out when i'm ready. but, i don't do A shows in the winter, so, very soon it'll be NO MORE LOCALS for a lONG time! woo
                                  (|--Sarah--|)

                                  Blitz <3 & Leap of Faith <3

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    I am going to try taking lessons again. I have to ship out though (hopefully to the farm running this show) so we'll see if that helps with the getting used to things. I'm at a very small private barn with a small lesson program that's usually done by the time I get off work.

                                    Two divisions shouldn't be enough to burnout a horse that's been prepared, which is why I'm asking how others prepare and cope with the long days. Plenty of the horses on the local circuit will do between two and four divisions in one day, not to mention the critters I hunted for three or more hours, three days a week.

                                    Maybe it was a temper tantrum and/or diva moment, certainly has been known to happen. lol. Thanks for the suggestions folks. Hopefully Critter will decide next time around that it's not so bad after all. Will definitely be untacking between divisions.
                                    "Beware the hobby that eats."
                                    Benjamin Franklin

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I'll mention this again...will she pee?

                                      You know, you ride to warm up and then ride a division-that's over an hour. Then you go tie them up someplace where they will not pee. Wait awhile and then go get on again and repeat. Talking about 4 hours or so total there. It's not at all rare to have one that won't go with anybody or anything within 50 yards, won't go on hard ground (splashes on the legs), won't go in the trailer without 2' of shavings, don't feel they have room to stretch out or are not on level ground so won't stretch out. Or there is simply too much going on and they won't relax enough to go.

                                      A horse that has to pee and feels they have no place to do so is not going to be a pleasant ride. At all.

                                      I went from one that would go any time any place, including in the line up to a prissy mare that will not go in public. I learned to get a stall or suffer the consequences.

                                      Anyway, I think you have something like this or the twice a day sabotaging you right now, not an equipment fix.
                                      When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                                      The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        My guy is not shy about peeing at all. He doesn't care who is looking. He doesn't like me to be on him when he does it either. He will tell me VERY clearly that he has to be. Basically not standing still and acting like a toddler.
                                        OTTB - Hurricane Denton - Kane - the big dog!
                                        Tuggy - RIP 9/12/2016 - Wait for me at the bridge
                                        Foster LolaMaria AKA LolaBean (Boxer)

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