Seasoning Your Performance Horse Prospect
- July 16, 2014
- Jessie Salter
Posted in: Horse Training
One thing is for sure, seasoning a young performance horse prospect can be a very humbling experience. It has to be done. It’s part of the training process. Horses can feel like champions at home, but they can’t be proven until they’ve gone somewhere.
I’m very fortunate that I have an indoor and outdoor arena that is available to do much of my training in. But the down fall to that, is my horses really don’t get hauled much at all. My horses are pros at standing tied all day waiting for me to make lunch for the kids, catch and saddle their horses, then one for each of their friends. They are great with the kids racing around the arena with everything from remote control cars to stick horses. Even a sliding stop on a bicycle, sending gravel flying just feet from my tied horses is no big deal. Add that to the fact that we are making smoking practice runs at home. They’ve heard music playing, tractors roaring, and even snow sliding off the roof of the indoor. Sounds like they are ready for the big shows, right?
Well, take all of that and more to a new place, and things could change in a hurry. Seasoning a horse consists of several different aspects. Riding in the trailer, standing tied to it at a strange place when his travel partner is gone. Eating and drinking on the road, and staying in a stall are new concepts for lots of horses. Some handle it better than others, but almost all of them have some anxiety with it at first.
The thing you have to do is simple. Go somewhere. Even if he stands at the trailer while you compete on your others. Or maybe you just saddle him and ride around a bit. One of the most important things I have to remember to pack is a heavy load of patience!
I try to start out with easy trips. I’ll head to a closer race and get there early so I can ride around. I try to keep things low key and positive. The next time we may do an overnight trip and some exhibitions. All the while I’m ready to pull my hair out, I have to remind myself that each trip gets better and better. Before you know it they don’t hesitate to drink out of the bucket when it’s offered, and their stall isn’t dusty and scattered from circling all night. And I’ll be darned if one day they don’t put together that perfect run, just like they do at home. Sure enough, at the end of it all I’m a little more seasoned too.
We all have some great stories about our first trips seasoning these horses. What are your most memorable?
Posted in: Horse Training
About Jessie Salter
Horses have been a part of my life since I can remember. Riding with my Dad as a youngster was what I lived for. There was nothing better than working cows, or racing my dad across an alfalfa field. It seems I never grew out...