explaining that a show ring is not a race track

This topic contains 123 replies, has 23 voices, and was last updated by Joe-Joe Joe-Joe 2 years ago.

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  • Joe-Joe Original Poster Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    My boy, who is generally a sweetheart, is firmly convinced that the show ring (only in large classes) is a race track, and he should pass everyone in order to win. Riding in group lessons isn’t much help, because they are mostly very young people who are not paying to be guinea pigs for my fruit bat. Last show, since I would not allow him to race, he decided to get even by going sideways with some occasional bucks. Is this something that is just going to take a lot of time (which I don’t have) and patience, or has anyone some other suggestions? The reason I don’t have much time is because I am old, not because I am not dedicated to making him happier. In small classes he is okay and does pin, and in individual performance he usually wins. We only show in small local shows – I have no aspirations to be high class, just to enjoy the events.

    It is never the horse's fault

    Joan Fry
    Topics Started: 11Replies Posted: 324

    Sorry, but I’m not much help–I don’t show. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I was going to suggest group lessons, but that apparently wasn’t worth repeating. These small local shows–do they have warmup rings? Are you allowed into the show ring itself the night before, or very early in the morning? These are usually busy places, in my experience (my husband used to show), with people riding, longing horses, dogs barking, all kinds of activities. It sounds as though your horse may just need more experience. What’s your discipline?

    Joe-Joe Original Poster Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    I show at our own home shows, so it is the ring he works in every day. Between classes, he is in his own stall, so there is no reason for him to be upset by anything. He won his first race by four furlongs, so he apparently likes to be in front, and of course that is just not possible in a ring. I have ridden hunt seat for 55 years, but have switched to very elementary dressage, in order to make us both have to concentrate. He is talented, quick to learn and very willing, but he wants to win, and racing around is just not the way to do it! Everyone else is riding either Western or hunt seat, but these are shows more for fun than competition. I just want both of us to be more relaxed and enjoy ourselves. I got him in November, so we haven’t had that much time together, and he did not have much in the way of schooling or show experience – all he seemed to know was to go, go fast and run for his life. I guess it is just going to take time, and hope I will have enough of it.

    Thank you for your reply.

    It is never the horse's fault

    Joan Fry
    Topics Started: 11Replies Posted: 324

    Hello again. Here’s another possibility. Again, please keep in mind that a) I don’t show, and b) I’ve never owned a TB off the track. But since your guy has, do you have a friend who rides, who could ride with you in the ring? Specifically, who could ride ahead of you? And don’t start by riding along the rail. Have the lead horse trot in small circles, and ask the rider to mix it up. Turn one of the small circles into a figure-8. Coming off the figure-8, make a teardrop shaped-circle to change directions. And so on. Sorry, that’s all I can come up with, but that’s what I would try if I were in your boots.

    Joe-Joe Original Poster Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    We do that. He is fine with a small number of horses (up to 10), but in a large class he seems to forget things. I think part of it is being Arabian (not TB). I think I could tie a sack of potatoes to the saddle, send him out alone and he would do everything I say while I just stand in the center. He is a little too smart in some ways, and dumb as a brick in others. But, he is very, very competitive. Thoroughbreds are much easier to work with – this boy is my first Arabian. It’s like a different species at times. When we are done working, I can just drop the reins and irons, and he will walk to within 5 feet of the gate and stop so I can dismount, because I don’t approve of horses charging the gate. I can ride him out to his field with just a halter and lead, but coming in the other direction he needs a chain over his nose because he wants to dance sideways, with an occasional capriole (to scare away the ghosts). We do small circles, figure eights, serpentines and other bending exercises, and never in the same order (I don’t want him to think he is deciding when to do what), and I only need to say the words; he really doesn’t require much in the way of leg.

    I do so appreciate your comments and suggestions. Thank you.

    It is never the horse's fault

    Joan Fry
    Topics Started: 11Replies Posted: 324

    Oops–another assumption gone awry. Please tell your boy I’m sorry I called him a TB! I know even less about Arabians than I do about TB race horses, so I am out of suggestions. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Good luck!

    Joe-Joe Original Poster Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    Thanks! I am considering a brain transplant for him.

    It is never the horse's fault

    wyoenglishrider wyoenglishrider
    Topics Started: 4Replies Posted: 101

    Oh Joe-Joe, I enjoy your posts. I, unfortunately, don’t have much more to add, other than that I rode/owned Arabs before riding/owning OTTB’s & you are right-they can be a different game altogether. While none of my Arabs were as high strung as your boys sounds, (and I am not saying high strung is a bad thing!) I think repetition & patience & time is going to be your best bet-what Joan suggests & what you are already doing. Sorry I don’t have more to help you with. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Joe-Joe Original Poster Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    Thanks. A little anecdote from Saturday might sort of explain him. The hay man came to cut and bale our hay – drove past us twice with a big red truck and huge flatbed trailer. Joe Joe (call name, he is really G Proof It, by NF Proof out of Genesa by Pepton) did not even blink. Steve parked the rig, and Joe Joe immediately decided it was really a fire breathing dragon, and would not go anywhere near it. Took both of us to convince him he could walk past this parked thing that had not bothered him while it was moving! When I was bringing him back out to his field, I rode him bareback with just a halter and lead, and he just strolled past it without a blink. The boy is a doorbell (dingaling).

    It is never the horse's fault

    max_goodman
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 6

    Hey! this reminds me very much of my too-smart quarter horse I had growing up. Every time we went to a show he would be up – flaring nostrils, prancing, arching his neck – even dropping sometimes in the grooming classes during our jogs! I always signed up for a throw away class early in the day – without fail the first class he would race everyone else, and make some special moves right in front of the judge’s stand – usually a crow hop, or a huge twisting buck. he was smart enough to know folks were watching just not smart enough to know what they were looking for! I’d say if you can do any warm up ring work do it, and then beyond that sign up for as many big classes as you can, as frequently as you can, so it can become common place. Also as another commenter mentioned, have other riders who you know and trust school triggering movements with you – like passing you, forming a line of a few horses ahead of you, boxing you in, etc. and see if you can pinpoint if there’s a specific position that makes your boy react like he’s in a starting gate. Good luck!

    Joe-Joe Original Poster Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    Thank you! I fear that time is going to be the best thing, only I am not sure how much I will have. The earlier classes are all leadline and other very small children, so not only would that not help, I cannot put them at risk. We did ride with a large lesson of people today, and he was much better. Not great, but at least he did not run off with me – just kept sticking his ears in my mouth (have been working him a lot in draw reins, but we cannot use them as a crutch always).

    It is never the horse's fault

    Joan Fry
    Topics Started: 11Replies Posted: 324

    Max, I love your last suggestion! Allowing other riders Joe-Joe (the rider and the horse) trusts to box him in, form and re-form in a line in front of him, etc. As for his ears in your mouth, maybe a running martingale would work better than draw reins?

    Joe-Joe Original Poster Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    Tried the running martingale – did not help at all. He is much better than when we met – he then knew only to go, go fast and run for his life, with his neck stretched out and his head sideways. Retired racing Arabian, and won his first race by four furlongs, so it is in his genes. Need new genes maybe. He has now learned how to collect himself and balance, but sometimes he forgets. My goal is for him to be relaxed and happy, preferably in my lifetime.

    • This reply was modified 3 years ago by Joe-Joe Joe-Joe. Reason: left out a very important letter!

    It is never the horse's fault

    Joan Fry
    Topics Started: 11Replies Posted: 324

    Sounds as though we are in a similar place in life–closer to the end than the other way around. I am very frustrated with my ASB trail horse not because of his behavior–he’s a good citizen and like nearly all ASBs, he tries. Bless his big heart, he tries! Like your guy, he’s a rescue–I suspect because of chronic health problems. It is hot-hot-hot here, and will get hotter before it gets cooler. He’s my backyard horse, so I do all my chores early a.m. or late p.m. What I do not do, what I cannot do, given the fact I was nearly a heat-stroke fatality a few years ago, is ride him. I’ve ridden him on the trail fewer than half a dozen times because it just got too %*#> hot! I live for cooler weather, so I can figure out if he really needs a twisted wire snaffle, and what he’ll do if I don’t use a running martingale. Then I’ll be the one asking for advice!

    Joe-Joe Original Poster Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    I do not think I would use a running martingale with a twisted mouth. Perhaps a rubber Pelham, where you have more choice about the severity? Where are you being hot? I am on Delmarva, where our state bird is the mosquito. Cool here is anything under 95, but we still have high humidity. Have you considered one of those bitless bridles? A friend of mine swears by hers.

    It is never the horse's fault

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