The goal for Jac’s first horse show wasn’t to win a prize, the goal was to use the whole experience as a learning and training session.
The atmosphere is a lot of the training; many horses around, warm up pen, bathing, riding, preparing, walking into the pen alone, odd hours, etc.
Gathering information is key to predicting how a horse will handle future experiences. By making the first several trips to shows very low pressure the horse is more likely to have a positive experience.
Jac’s first class was a green horse class and the goal was to do the maneuvers correct with little or no degree of difficulty. Unfortunately, Jac broke gait (went from a lope to a trot) when slowing down from the large fast circle to the small slow circle. In the video I explain, “I’m going to blame that on me…I wasn’t helping him or guarding him…I was using the class to gather information. Had this been a show I was concerned about I would have helped him. Instead I learned Jac was very relaxed.”
The learning that takes place at a show is not only the horse. The rider also learns how to better prepare and show the horse.
I answer a question about my goals when taking a horse to a show or a trail ride for the first time; what types of things do you do to ensure a good experience for the horse.
I explain that many people ride their horses harder at a show or when they haul them somewhere than they do at home. When this happens the horse learns to expect hard work when they are hauled.
I ride my horses harder at home than I do at the shows so that the horse learns that traveling doesn’t require more work.