Beginning a Career in the Show Ring or Trail, by Jackie Brittain

Kandie-6-2010Now that you feel confident in the partnership you have developed through training your horse, you may feel ready to advance to new locations to ride and even compete.

I think there are gradual steps to be taken to expose your horse in a manner to present new places and objects so they are taken in a positive and easy manner.  Using common sense and patience are your best tools to rely on.

Step number one: Does your horse load and ride nicely in the trailer?  Every horse has its individual learning curve and you should already be familiar with your horses ability through the early training.

Merriewold KandieStep number two: Advance training to prepare for an event or outing.  Make sure you prepare your horse at home.  New things such as a bath or clippers should be introduced at home and well in advance.

Step number three: Begin with small outings and its best to have along another horse and even better an experienced horse for company, especially if you plan to stable overnight at a show.

Step number four: Pace your horse according to the individual personality.  For example, is your horse reactive or curious about new places and new objects.  And remember you do not want to have to force your horse through a situation that it cannot emotionally handle.  It just sets you and your horse up for a lifetime of:  “I don’t want to do that task or go by that object”.

Lucky 6-2012Step number five: Remember that you are the leader and be confident and supportive in all the new things you are introducing.  I think going to a new place that you are familiar with will transmit a sense of calm to your horse.

I have always been told and believe that the horse is your mirror.  Have you noticed when your demeanor is uptight it is directly transmitted to your horse.  And on days that you mood is happy and up, so is your horses.

I think horses are the most amazingly sensitive and intuitive of all of the creatures we use for work or sport.  They are genuine friends and helpers to man and that is the greatest attraction.


Jackie Brittain
Merriewold Morgans Trainer