Prepping a hunter at a show

Has your horse had opportunity to get off the property frequently? Is she good to trailer and calm with commotion going on in new venues? Does she get quick to the fences or looky off property? I think if you know those things you will know how to best prep. [/QUOTE]

She hasn’t been off the property for about a year. She has always been great to trailer. She went through a period about a year or so ago when she was very anxious about new things. Any stimulus such as dog rolling on the ground, horses playing in a nearby paddock, or a child climbing on a chair would send her into a major bucking fit. She has since become so much more mellow and relaxed. She can now do lessons at dusk, during feeding time, when it is chilly and windy. Very quiet and steady, but I am concerned about how she will react when she arrives at the show.

My experiences with her at a new place have all been extremely positive. But, each of those times were before her “spooky” phase. But, I am hoping she is fully over that now!

While I have only shown her once, she is by no means a green horse. She used to compete monthly with a 65 year old lady in the adults and A/O’s. So, she will hopefully figure out the program after a couple of days, I just want to make sure I set her and myself up for success in the best way possible :). Thanks again and keep the suggestions and advice coming!

Morning hack - always. Gives you a chance to feel where your horse is. I dislike LTD but a short workout on the line letting your horse shake his head and be silly is fine.

Since the horse used to show A/Os and AAs with a 65 year old lady??? I’d say she was pretty well broke and knows the way she likes to be prepped. All you need to do is figure out what that is. Luckily she’ll be there most if the week so it makes it easier for all.

I’d take a “heavy” lesson on her the day before shipping. Work on your problem issues then, not at the show. Have Pro ride if needed. If you can’t do that, ride her awhile and get her tired. And ship to get her a full day on the show property before her first class… Like Tuesday evening or Wed morning.

Assuming you are at the show Wed, I would hack her for awhile Wed and maybe take a lesson, if she’s antsy have trainer giver her a good flat school and a couple if jumps. Hack Thursday AM, have trainer show her a couple if rounds, just warm up about 30 minutes, 6 or 8 singles in the warm up ring not trying to be perfect. Use the class as a schooling opportunity. Fresh is fine and you need to learn what to expect from her when she is fresh or “up” simply because you can’t always depend on room to do much prep, some shows just don’t have it.

Hack again Fri AM but not as long. Have trainer show a couple more classes. She should settle quicker so avoid getting her too tired. After the class, you can hop a few fences but not too many.

She should be just about perfect for you Sat and Sun just coming out if the stall, 20 min flatting and a few warm ups.

Successful Hunters do the heavy schooling at home and I know you will be nervous but its a mistake to over drill a horse that knows its job do the rider can try to learn in the show environment. Get it done at home, horse knows how to jump, you know how to get around, try to relax and show what you know. What you find you don’t know? You go home and fix it there then try again.

Prepping is no big deal and those warm up classes ridden by trainer make it easier and end up putting less stress on the older, experienced horse then endless hacking around, lunging or a bazillion schooling fences.

We actually gave mine Friday off after Wed Thur pro rides in warm up classes or a lesson for me. Just went for a ride around the grounds and hand grazed. She stayed sharper. A few times I galloped along the CC course at KHP. We both loved it and horse was bright and forward for weekend classes.

ETA… Trainer can go watch other Pros warming up, most do about the same thing in the warm up ring right before the class. It’s pretty simple IF the work got done at home.

Great advice Findeight!

Great advice Findeight![/QUOTE]

As usual! :slight_smile:

In case anyone else ever wonders the same thing… I thought I’d share what I ended up doing that worked for my particular horse :slight_smile:

On Thursday, my trainer hacked my horse as well as schooled over fences. Then took her in a single jumping class.

Trainer did 2 jumping classes (originally only in 1, but felt she was a bit fresh so added another)

I got there early and my trainer schooled her over fences before letting me get on and practice my eye over a total of 5 or so fences. Showed in 3 jumping classes. Her energy was perfect for all three.

No schooling. Just warmed up over fences before class. Jumped one course, she was much more quiet and a little tired, but still made it down the lines fine and was successful in the placings. When the HUS rolled around, she was a little too tired to perform at her best, but she was still responsive and easy to ride.

This was all also combined with Robaxin at the end of the day to combat any showtime soreness. We also gave her frequent walks around the barn aisle to keep her from getting stiff/bored. Icing after we were done showing. Thank you all for all of your help and advice!

GOOD NEWS. Congrats on a successful experience. And sounds like you have a very suitable horse… And good trainer, hopefully she was able to make some h/j contacts to add to her network too.

Oh, for those who wonder about all those midweek warm up classes? This is why they have them.

Sounds like you can back off this schedule for next time then.

Sounds like you can back off this schedule for next time then.[/QUOTE]

Absolutely. The goal is not to need more then an occasional spin around with your Pro. Or at all.