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Training the Show Horse


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#81 lkirby

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Posted 05 September 2008 - 10:40 AM

QUOTE
Ok I just want to make sure I get this right. When softening a horse's mouth other than guiding you do not do anything else with your hands. You wait till you feel them give to the bit and work light in the bridle before asking for a headset or collection.


Yes, that is correct!! Most horses grab at their bits in order to get some relief from the constant unrelenting pressure coming from their rider's hands. As you are essentially retraining your horse to trust you not to hurt them through their mouth, you must stay completely off of their mouths, except for direction, during this important re-learning period.

In addition, it will really help you, and your horse, to work your horse on long reins with your hands at the buckle end by starting first at a walk and then moving slowly up in speed so that you are doing this at all gaits. Once your horse, and you, understand that you can ride and move with long reins, then your horse will be much more free to get themselves naturally into their own balance. And, riding with long reins will also improve your own balance and confidence.

During the period, you will want to concentrate on giving your horse very strong legs aids and body aids to guide your horse through the circles, serpentines and gait transitions. When riding a horse, in comparison to driving a car, your hands are the brakes and your legs & seat are both the steering wheel & accelerator combined together.

Also, I always emphasize riding inside of an arena during this re-learning period, as you don't have to worry about controlling your horse. If your horse decides to try to take off, then it has nowhere to go and you can easily circle your horse or drive it up against a fence to stop it.

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Lorna G. Kirby, PE

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#82 Jrchloe

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Posted 05 September 2008 - 07:22 PM

Wow thanks. I would like to discuss shoeing theories for saddle seat horses. I understand about heel weight and toe weight with opening and closing motion but what about finding the right amount of weight so its not labory or just too much foot/weight? Other than angles and letting the farrier do his job what else would a SS trainer need to know about shoeing?

Also how in shape should a show horse be? How long should each session of a trained horse be so hes in show shape?

#83 lkirby

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Posted 08 September 2008 - 01:39 PM

QUOTE
Wow thanks. I would like to discuss shoeing theories for saddle seat horses. I understand about heel weight and toe weight with opening and closing motion but what about finding the right amount of weight so its not labory or just too much foot/weight? Other than angles and letting the farrier do his job what else would a SS trainer need to know about shoeing?

Also how in shape should a show horse be? How long should each session of a trained horse be so hes in show shape?


When you are training a show horse, you are essentially developing an athlete. You have to start from the basic training and move on from there for both length of training sessions and for shoeing. You need to start with your horse being riddin in a training session of ~20 minutes in duration at least three (3) times a week with the horse being turned out in a large pasture on the days in between and gradually moving up to being ridden five (5) times a week with daily pasture turnout.

I would start by increasing the length of my riding sessions by three to five minutes after each week. I carried a wrist watch/stop watch so that I could carefully watch the time. Be careful to increase the length of your riding sessions very slowly. I would only work my horses at full speed (fast trot & canter) for no more than 1/3 of the entire session in the beginning with the rest of the time being spent in doing circles, serpentines, and gait transitions at the slow trot, etc. My goal was to build up the stamina of my horses so that they could move at full speed for the entire length of a normal class which is about 30 to 40 minutes in duration and to have extra stamina in case they needed to go into several other classes. So at the very end of my training,, my horses were being ridden five (5) times a weeks during their sessions for up to one and one-half (1.5) hour in length. Too many trainers depend on keeping their horses in their stalls and just exercising them for the length of a class, but their horses are unable to adequately perform in several classes one after the other in a show.

Like any athlete, all horses must be carefully warmed up and then warmed down after their workouts to prevent any tying up or muscle pain. I have always devoted at least 1/3 of my entire riding time to doing this very important step. During your training sessions, you will be able to feel when your horse is beginning to become tired. If you see sweat appearing on the neck and your horse’s breathing starts to become labored, then dismount and feel the area between your horse’s stomach and hind leg. If there is a great deal of moisture in this area, then you need to start going slower to gradually cool your horse down. If you continue to push your horse beyond their endurance, then you risk injuring them. Anybody who tells you that stupid slogan "no pain, no gain" is an idiot. For your horses, you want to achieve some discomfort at most, but no pain. At the very end of your training, you should be spending at least 20 minutes gradually cooling your horse down. After unsaddling, cooling your horse's legs down with water and with liniments is also important.

I also advocate riding your horse out on trail. That will provide a welcome break in routine for your horse and you can use the time trotting on the way back to the stable to help free up your horse’s shoulder action. But, do always walk back the very last mile to the stables.

For shoeing during basic training, you need to start with your horse being shod with a horseshoe of average weight and normally trimmed hoof length. Afterwards, I would recommend that you first start with having your farrier leaving a longer toe & heal and adding a slightly heavier horseshoe (one ounce more) to your horse. I found that adding more toe pads and increasing heavily shoes (one ounce at a time & one pad at a time) at each six (6) weeks normal shoeing interval was the best course. I always rode very slowly & carefully for a full week after each shoeing to allow my horses enough time to become accustomed to their new longer & heavier feet. Between those shoeing periods, I would use action aids, such as chains and rollers, to train my horses to pick up their feet and to trot higher. By slowly adding weight and length to your horse's feet, you are going to be able to immediately tell when your horse reaches the exact combination of weight & length that will give the very best performance.

Also, check out the training books and videos at
< www.showstoppertack.com> and at
< www.ehorseequipment.com >.

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Lorna G. Kirby, PE
When you have gone through fire, you won't fade in the sun!!

#84 Jrchloe

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Posted 21 September 2008 - 11:25 AM

I can not thank you all enough for all of the expertise you have shared. I was wondering what everyone's thoughts on single and double jointed bits were and also what their preference in bit material was? I am currently considering working a horse to soften his mouth. This horse currently has a single jointed twisted snaffle and I can tell hes not a huge fan of it so I am looking for a new bit. I was thinking of a double jointed smooth snaffle sweet iron loose ring bit. He's a very good boy and will listen to my aids well (I try not to use my hands much on him). He needs strengthening work for his backend some so he can get off his forehand but I just want to make sure this bit will be a step in the right direction. Thanks.

#85 Jrchloe

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Posted 24 October 2008 - 11:00 AM

Well I switched to a double jointed bit with this horse and have started to work some on bending, strengthening and softening with him. Immediately with the new bit he was like a different horse. He had a nice white lipstick and was not heavy in the bridle and was much happier. So I am a new fan of double jointed bits.

#86 Howling Rock

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Posted 05 November 2008 - 11:14 AM

QUOTE (SunlitFarmTraining @ Aug 23 2008, 09:33 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The second step in the process of collection is the rounding of the horse’s back. This is achieved by the horse contracting his abdominal muscles, and relaxing the long muscles lying parallel to his spine, the Longisimus Dorsi. The result of both, engagement, and the rounding of the back is called “Bascule”, or “coiling of the loins”.


Any recommended excercises to teach this step of the collection process?

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#87 Jrchloe

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 02:35 PM

I think you can do it by working low and forward (nose in front of the vertical) and asking the horse to bring its hind legs underneath him. Calavetti starting low and then working your way up to multiple lifted poles. Its all dressage really up till finishing for the show ring.

#88 siiamese

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 07:28 PM

how much condition................our horses work six days a week. either in long lines or under saddle.
they need to be conditioned enough that when you go to a show, the horse can do both 15 minutes of lunging early that morning, then a 30 minute warm up followed by a strong 20 - 30 minute class in the show ring. the horse needs to be strong enough and conditioned enough to still have plenty of energy at the end of the class or they will start to fall apart or lose motion &/or cadence.

#89 Jrchloe

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Posted 09 January 2010 - 12:34 PM

Doesn't all that work take the fresh sparkle of a Saddle Seat show horse away? If you did that to a Saddlebred you would lose all of your show horse.

#90 siiamese

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Posted 09 January 2010 - 01:57 PM

doesn't phase the arabs at all
the trick seems to be not to overshow them so they stay fresh for the arena.....so ours do only 1 class per day most of the time. every so often we will get to a show and need to show driving early in the day and the performance class later on.