Jumping Through Hoops

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Winning the Horse Show

The following are a few tips for helping your horse feel more relaxed in tough competition settings:

  • Find ways to help your horse relax. This can be accomplished through training and desensitization exercises, or by giving them reassuring pats while they’re in the trailer.
  • Train your horse to be confident in new and stressful environments. You can do this by taking them to parades, or even just out on the trails with other riders.
  • Try cooking up a home remedy that will make your horse feel less stressed and more alert during competition days. Sometimes peppermint oil works well for this, but if you’ve got the time, you can go with more elaborate concoctions like elderberry extract or lavender oil (though don’t forget to check with your vet before using these). There are plenty of recipes online.
  • Make sure your horse is well-rested and well-hydrated on competition day—you don’t want them to be worn out from lack of sleep or heatstroke!

With all the dedication and hard work that it takes to train a horse to compete in any discipline, it is only human nature to want to win! However, because of the stress of competition, there are times that even the best-trained horses can feel overwhelmed by the atmosphere at shows. As handlers, trainers and riders, how can we find ways to overcome this stress?

When it comes to training, preparation is key; and this is especially true when it comes to keeping your horse loose and relaxed during a competition. If you train your horse on a consistent basis, they will be better able to face the pressures of a show or event. However, there are other aspects that can make or break your competition performance:

  • Keep your horse relaxed in the stall. You may think that this is an obvious thing but many new competitors forget about their horses when they are concentrating on getting ready themselves. The best way to keep your horse relaxed in it’s stall is by keeping them out of view from other horses and people. This means not tying him/her near a busy aisle where he/she will become easily distracted by all the activity around them. Your horse should be able to stand comfortably without being fidgety and you want to avoid any distractions as much as possible. It’s also important that your horse does not have too much water before going into the ring because it will make them more likely to buck or rear due to discomfort from sloshing around in their stomachs.
  • Give your horse enough time to rest and recover between rounds – If you want to keep performing at high levels then you need give yourself some downtime between competitions so that there isn’t any burnout happening with either one of you! In addition, this will help build up stamina which can really come in handy during long rides where endurance becomes very important for both parties involved (rider and mount). Having enough breaks between shows means less stress on everyone involved including yourself!

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