Would you take him?(11 Posts)
I bought an 8 year old as a project at the start of October and progress has been relatively slow (only able to ride at weekends etc). He's essentially a 4 year old as hadn't been touched really before I got him. Hasn't ever hacked alone, only just getting balanced in canter, just started popping some jumps in the school.
I want to start getting some miles on the clock with him but not sure if it's a terrible idea to take him out - he's insanely strong when he wants to be both in saddle and on the ground and he's a typical Welsh D (think fire-breathing dragon thinking everything is out to kill him).
There's a local ish show at the weekend that I'd like to take him to for some experience - wouldn't compete, just load up, unload, have him stood at the trailer, maybe get on and have a walk around etc.
My only worry is that it'll blow his brain!
Yes or no?
We would. We try and get all our youngsters (!) out to shows just to see the environment, work them in the school if it's quiet etc.
They have to go out somewhere but maybe take somebody with you on the ground to help out if you have any problems.
Thanks Butkin - I think my only concern is that it's a Christmas show so not sure if it's going to be packed! But he's got to get out there at some point so many give it a go and see how he gets on. Will be interesting
What was he like when he first arrived on your with you? Were his eyes on stalks? Was he leaping all over the place? What does he do when he gets excited? Prance around spook and grow three inches or something more serious like bucking/rearing/dragging you around?
I personally wouldn't start off at show with loads going on especially if he's very strong on the ground and under saddle. Im currently involved in a young horse whose eyes are on stalks most of the time, I will start off taking him somewhere quiet e.g. the yard of the person who gives me lessons, so that he can get used to the idea of getting in the trailer, getting out at the other end being ridden in a strange environment etc and then perhaps a small dressage comp where there is less to gawp at, and other horses galloping around, other riders can be incredibly unhelpful and build up from there.
Or alternatively can you take a totally unfazed horse with you and go either at the very beginning or at the very end when it will be quieter?
Hmm I would maybe take him to a quieter show for the first time if you suspect it will be extremely busy.
Or go with low expectations! I.e. I may not get to ride him. Do whatever you can to create a positive experience for him.
I took my equally green, crazy Section D to his first show and he was surprisingly perfect! We rode there and back (he will not load) so maybe that took the edge off things. I honestly thought it would be a disaster and despite a disaster on the way there (jumping into the road due to a flapping newspaper on the pavement) he was great once we were there.
The questions I'd be asking myself: at home in normal circumstances does he go off my leg, and does he listen to me i.e. when I say go forward does he go, if I say turn right or left or whatever does he? If you can't honestly say yes to those two and bearing in mind you say he's "insanely strong" then I think I would start by taking him somewhere somewhere quiet and build up. Its not just you and his safety you've got to think about but others peoples as well especially if its a show full of kids and ponies and spectators etc. Is there somewhere a this show you could work him in that's quieter and away from everyone if necessary?
If you've only had him since October and then only ridden him at weekends and he was very very green when you got him, he's doing really well to be cantering in a balanced way and popping small jumps.
Personally I'd find a much quieter venue for your first trip as you say he's strong and typical D. But equally I would want to be getting him out sooner rather than later to get him used to it. Worked well with my D-cross but we started off quiet and worked our way up to full blown hunter trails with horses and boxes everywhere.
Also think about either travelling him in a bridle or putting a bridle on before you unload - you can always take it off to let him stand at the trailer with a hay net when you get there if he's calm.
Do you have something calm to travel him with? Another trick that worked with my youngster - he can now go anywhere on his own but for his first few outings we took a baby-sitter.
No. First time out you need to be as sure as possible that it will be a positive experience and you have a duty to keep everyone around you safe. Hire an arena, box there, walk him around in hand, lunge him and have a little sit on him. Repeat a couple of times until he is used to going to a couple of different places, concentrating on you and working. Then this spring enter him in a low level dressage competition and ask for the first time of the day so that it's quiet. Build up to a livelier environment.
Ooh yes - echo low level dressage. You get a time, the warm up won't be packed, and I've found dressage people a damn sight more understanding of edgy youngsters than some other horsey competitors. If you enter for an Intro there will be a lot of people on young horses giving them a "look see" experience so the pressure is off.
Ended up taking him and he was an absolute star. Really chuffed with him! Took everything in his stride aside from a lively first 5 minutes and at the end was cantering around the busy warm up like an old pro. Onto the next!
Horses always find ways to surprise us...
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