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"conditioning" for yearling classes

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  • "conditioning" for yearling classes

    So, going to take my yearling filly out for some shows this spring (I'm in FL and that is when they are) just for the experience.

    We are going to the Hunter Breeding and FEH stuff, not the Dressage Sport Horse stuff. I want her to learn to stand quietlly, etc and honestly she doesn't have dressage movement!

    we won't be competative, she is event bred, not uber fancy warmblood looking, but I'd like to not be embarrassed!

    So my question is, for those that show on the line, what is your conditioning program for your yearlings? I hate using that term "conditioning" as I don't plan on going out and putting her through workouts, but

    1) How can you build a nice topline with a baby?
    2) Do you do walking sets? how long/far? how far out from the competitions do you start?
    3) Do you do any walking over poles or cavalettis?
    4) teach them to longe this early?

    Just looking on how I can get her in show condition without wear and tear. I'm positive that long walks, etc. will not hurt her but I'd like to hear from those with proven programs.

    Thanks!

  • #2
    Just plain turnout and lots of it, as well as grooming for a good coat, has been sufficient to build a good topline on mine. Our filly at 3 was FEH Nat'l Res. Ch. the year it was introduced in '07, and her brother was Nat'l Yearling Ch the next year. In 09, our two year old filly was Nat'l FEH 2 yr Filly Ch.. The judges were, at that time, looking for dressage movement on the triangle at trot so practice the trot on a lead. Both of the above also did well in hunter breeding but we've shown others since in hunter breeding and the FEH and all have done well. I just think that plain old turnout and playing with pasture buddies is enough, in my opinion for FEH. Also, since I won't longe a yearling, I can't imagine what else one could do for conditioning, unless "pony" the youngster!

    Diane Halpin/Laurel Leaf Hanoverians: Facebook
    Last edited by dianehalpin; Jan. 28, 2013, 07:38 PM.

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    • #3
      Before my coming yearling got hurt I started working with her last month teaching her to stand up correctly, and would talk her on trail walks, along the trails, but made her trot up with me sometimes, then stop and stand, back up, walk, etc. Its good to teach them to trust you and listen no matter the surroundings, plus it can be great because if you have trail areas with varying terreran its can be good just to get them walking up and down hills. Ive had HB babies for the past 4 years, but have never done it as seriously as I plan to this year, I just moved to VA and I finally have a nice WB filly to be competitive with, so now that she is sound again Ill get back going with the program, but I agree don't "work" them. I let my babies be babies, playing is great exercise, and being outside 24/7 helps by keeping them moving, obviously if you have good slightly hilly pastures that aren't muddy, I think that's best, but in the end they just need to be babies with lots of grooming and loving!
      First and foremost about the horse.
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      • #4
        Ours also do just fine with only turnout. We do no forced exercise EXCEPT they are taught to longe (one lesson) so we can get them exercised at the three overnight shows they go to each year. Other than that, only turnout, proper feed and hay and plenty of it, and grooming.
        Laurie

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        • #5
          I often get comments on my DSHB scoresheets on how my young horses are in good condition. None of them are fat, and I like to be able to feel their ribs (but not see them). Some of them were bred to have nice toplines (those sired by Donarweiss & Contucci all get their nice toplines from their sires), but management really matters. Just to echo the other posters, lots of turnout, good quality feed (with high quality protein/amino acids, vitamins & minerals), and lots of grooming really make a difference. I feed Progressive's ProAdvantage Grass diet balancer and free choice, high quality timothy/grass hay to my young horses. I have also had good luck wit Buckeye's Gro 'n Win.
          Kim
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          • #6
            I think your filly will be plenty competitive . As others have stated, lots of turn out and great feed is really what it is all about. If you really want to you might can add flax seed or rice bran to really pump up the shine - but if the feed is really of high quality and nutritious with quality hay that is usually not necessary. I have never lunged a yearling, and would be opposed to it with their growing joints, but if you think she is a bit of a dead head and needs to encouraged exercise maybe some free lunging in a large area? (not round pen). The other thing I have done when I had access to it was take them on long trail walks - this was GREAT for not just MY exercise, but it got the baby out and exposed to everything imaginable and we worked on walk trot in hand as well - and standing! Do practice the triangle a few times at the walk and trot as well as standing up for the judge
            Emerald Acres standing the ATA, Trakehner Verband, sBs, RPSI, and ISR/OLD NA Approved Stallion, Tatendrang. Visit us at our Facebook Farm Page as well!

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            • Original Poster

              #7
              Thanks Guys!

              My babe has been getting Purina Enrich 32 ration balancer and has been doing well on it. I have Buckeye Ultimate Finish that I can add for the shine and a little extra weight (she is zipping up like a weed right now). She is also on peanut hay and I seed my fields spring and fall so she always has grass.

              She is out 24/7 and we have been working in hand for a couple months now. Thank you showmanship as a kid! We walk with a cluck, trot with two clucks, lengthen when I lengthen my stride, halt with whoa, back up and turn on haunches with a kiss. We of course need to refine all of the aforementioned skills but she has more ground manners now than most horses I've received in the past few years!

              We have also just started taking her on 15 minute hand walks by our house. We have a bunch of dirt roads and some trails and she has been great. She isn't one to run around the field on her own once a day or so, so I thought these light little walks would be good "bonding" time and give her time to look at life out of the farm.

              I am also bringing her to lessons with me so so goes, hangs out in a stall, and comes home. Just another field trip to get her off the farm.

              Sounds like that is enough!

              Thanks!

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              • #8
                Yes, that definitely sounds like you are doing the right things. One of my favorite things to do with my filly is take her in the arena while lessons are going on. I can park her right next to a jump that they are jumping both facing towards it and facing away so the horses are jumping where she can hear them right next to her but can't see them. So she gets used to noise and activity and gets praised for standing next to me quietly throughout. I like to use word cues not sounds for walk, trot, whoa as those will be the same words I use when I break her. She will trot at my side even if I keep my walk pace the same.
                McDowell Racing Stables

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