Reply To: explaining that a show ring is not a race track

loop d’ lope
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Hi Joe Joe…I ride in local western pleasure classes on my 15 year old mare who is sometimes so lazy at home she won’t get into her gears, but when going to a show her excitement shows up in fast, rushed gaits that are not even close to what we practice at home. My trainer has told me that i need to plan for this when i go to any show, to tack up early and ride the freshness off her as long as it takes. He says my class is less about beauty and more about the way a horse moves, so if she is somewhat sweaty and not as pretty as i would like to look going into it, at least her gaits will have slowed down enough to be competitive. This is from an old timer who has done World shows and Quarter Horse Congress, and he told me that he had one horse that was very similar, if going right into an arena at showtime would be super hyper and unfocused if not ridden enough earlier (and not just a 10 minute practice session). Unfortunately i think that is the only way to deal with these speed demons and requires more timing and maintenance on show day, but its usually true that when horses are tired enough to have the freshness ridden off them they preform perfectly in front of a judge…….well, a lot of the time anyway!! Good luck!