Does your horse get nervous and stressed at shows? A stressed horse will likely put in a subpar performance, and stress can result in a distracted and nervous horse. You can help to keep your horse calm at horse shows in a number of different ways. Here are some ideas to get you started.
The better prepared you and your horse are, the less stressful the show experience will be. Invest time working with a trainer who can help to prepare you and your horse for what you will encounter at the show. Be sure that your horse can consistently perform the skills needed for the show while he’s at home – a thorough understanding of what’s expected of him will help with the transition to the show and will mean that he’s more likely to perform well when the pressure is on.
Expose Your Horse to Different Situations
Getting your horse used to riding in different situations can help him to better cope with the busy horse show environment. Make an effort to expose your horse to new things. Take him on trail rides, haul him to ride in different locations, ride on different parts of the property with different horses, and if you have friends with barns of their own, ask if you can haul your horse over to ride with them. Changing up your rides will help your horse learn to better adjust to new situations and environments.
Bring Along a Buddy
Separating your horse from his equine friends and then placing him in the foreign environment of a show is asking a lot. Consider taking one of your horse’s equine buddies along for company and to help keep your horse calm and reassured in between classes. Use your judgment, though – if your horse is strongly attached to another horse, separating them when it’s time for your horse to enter the ring may cause your horse to be stressed and upset.
Give Yourself Extra Time
The last thing that you want to do on a show day is be hurried. Give yourself plenty of extra time to get to the grounds and walk your horse around. If your horse is the worried type, leave extra time so that he can settle down before you have to begin preparing him for the ring. If the grounds are busy, the chance to take your horse off to a quiet corner for some grazing time can help to lessen his stress and teach him that shows are an enjoyable experience.
Horse shows don’t have to be stressful for your horse. With good planning you can help keep your horse calm and relaxed.
Image Source: flickr.com/photos/sergemelki/4971229506