Horse & Rider
Develop at His Own Pace
Every horse is different. Don’t let the pressure of getting ready for a particular event cause you to push your horse past what he’s capable of doing.
When it comes to competition, some people purchase prospects with the goal of competing in certain age events with them. For example, the National Reining Horse Association has an event for 3-year-old horses that’s considered to be one of the top reining competitions in the country. So it’s very common for people to look at yearling and 2-year-old prospects with the goal of competing at that event.
However, it’s also important to let your horse develop at his own pace. While he might be showing potential early in his life, it’s never a good idea to try to push him past what he’s physically and mentally capable of doing so you can compete at an event.
Understand Your Horse
Just like people, each horse learns differently. You need to study how your horse reacts to certain things in order to be successful with training him. Does he need more repetition on certain maneuvers? Or does he pick up on stuff quickly and try to take advantage of you? You need to be able to tailor your training program to your horse.
While it’s easy to get wrapped up in the idea of competing at certain events throughout the year, you can’t force a horse to be ready by a certain time. This goes for horses of all ages and disciplines. If you’re introducing an older horse to a new event it might take time before you can go and show. If you’re planning a trail-riding trip in the backcountry, but don’t feel like your horse is ready for something that intense, skip that trail ride and give your horse the chance to learn what he’s expected to do before he has to go do it. In the end, it’ll make the experience better for you and your horse.
Challenge Him; Don’t Scare Him
There’s a difference between challenging your