What to do when our horse lets us down…
Have you ever competed and been completely let down by the horse? Did you come out of the arena totally dismayed by the performance? Was the competition a complete drain on your nerves and energy?
It is very easy to get upset with the horse in situations like this but the harsh reality is that you had probably not appreciated the amount of preparation your horse needed to get to a competition to perform well and were possibly expecting too much.
Lets look at the kind of things a competition expects from your horse:
- Your horse must have no problems leaving other horses, especially stable mates.
- Your horse must be used to working in strange environments with other horses.
- Your horse must be FULLY attentive to you at home first before even a competition can be considered.
- Your horse should be competing at least one level below the work you achieve at home.
- Your horse must be used to changing arena in one working session. In other words, stop working in one arena and start again shortly after in another.
- You as a rider need to be pretty well in control of your own nerves.
- You need to be used to working in with many other riders in one arena.
These are just some of the things you need in place before competing. If you do not have these pre-requistites in place and still want to compete for the fun, then that is fine, but it would be unjust to get cross with the horse. This has happened to me before, that we were at a major competition without enough preparation. The horse got very excited and a little wild, however I did not blame the horse for it’s behaviour, because I had ‘hoped’ we would be lucky despite our inability to prepare fully 😛
Whilst things are never black and white, we should perhaps ask – did we let the horse down instead?
Have a look at the article on 7 Steps To Stress Free Competitions for help on steps to get to a competition.