– Mentally and also physicallyThe tournament season is upon us, which suggests that it is time to condition your companion so that he can do his best.
The training gives rise to grooming wishes, but also victories in the tournament ring. Which is understandable. But to expect great things from our steeds, we must put great things right into our horses. We need to offer them exercise programs that keep them happy and excited, and provide them with nutritional support to ensure they can meet the energy needs they need. Training actually starts from within, and there are a variety of steps you may need to take to prepare your horse – both emotionally and physically – for competition.
Action 1: Get to know him
When training a horse for competition, understanding its behavior is crucial. When a customer drops off a horse or a horse comes into a facility, I examine it immediately. Is he persistent, worried, or desperate? Can he focus on me as a fitness coach or am I non-existent? Understanding what’s going on in his head will help prepare you for training.
Every horse is an individual, much like a human being, and must be learned individually. I don’t teach all riders the same; I take into account your individuality, your level of riding and your previous driving experience. An anxious rider would certainly not like a trainer pushing her into circumstances that create even more worry and anxiety; rather, a slower approach might be needed to build even more confidence. So why should we show the horses any differently?
Step 2: Locate the root of any type of problem
An excellent fitness trainer should be able to understand the origin of when a horse is unable to perform a specific task. Doesn’t he recognize? Is he stubborn or scared? Maybe he can’t literally do the exercise. As I travel across the nation to do facilities I see all different levels of horses and riders. What I’ve found is that the quicker I can identify the root cause of a problem, the quicker I can help the horse and rider succeed.
Step 3: Be a good leader
There’s absolutely no point in forcing a fearful steed to do something. Rather be a good leader—one who is fair and forgiving, yet leads with authority. Be a leader that a horse can rely on for guidance and security. When the horse feels like you are the one taking care of it and keeping it safe, training becomes easier. After that, if the horse doesn’t understand what you’re asking, it’s your job to determine exactly how to communicate in a way that he understands. Can you break the exercise up into smaller actions or go slower? Identify what he is asking of you.
Plan for scenarios where a horse may not be able to do what you want due to physical limitations. Be fair and understand that not all cow horses can be western contentment horses or show jumpers and vice versa. Going back to Step 2 – making the effort to identify and deal with the source of your resistance beforehand – will generally lead to faster progress.
Step 4: Look at the whole horse
I’m a firm believer in overall equine health. I want my horses to feel comfortable at all times and enjoy their tasks. I want every one of them waiting for me at the eviction with an anxious look that says, “Hey, let’s get this program while traveling! What shall we do today?”
If a horse is in pain or uncomfortable, you cannot expect it to enjoy being ridden or doing well. Therefore, it is very important that they are regularly groomed. Dental treatments, chiropractic visits and Unguis treatments are essential in addition to basic veterinary examinations.
Step 5: Feed him well.
To build a horse that is both physically and mentally prepared for training and competition, you have to start from the inside. A great trainer needs to have a feeding and supplementation program that they believe in wholeheartedly. We feed a low-starch, alfalfa-based extruded feed to keep our horses in tip-top shape without the ups and downs caused by high-sugar products. We also feed an alfalfa-grass mix hay to meet performance needs, using sluggish feeds to allow our horses 24-hour grazing. Think