We are approaching the time of year when we all get excited about the upcoming season in our desired discipline. One of the key elements for success is having your equine partner mentally and physically ready to compete at their at their best!
- When I am getting my horse ready for competition, in any discipline, the first thing I want to do is make sure my horse is in excellent physical condition. To do this I will start riding/exercising my horse for at least two weeks before I start the tune-up process that I go through to get my horse ready for competition. Having my horse in peak physical condition helps to reduce the risk of injury and also puts my horse in a great mental state.
- A good year round nutritional program will make it much easier to keep your horse in great physical condition. I feed a top quality forage based grain product and the best hay I can buy. I feed Healthy Coat as a supplement to all of our competition horses and the horses we are finishing for our annual sale. Most all feed companies will have a Nutritionist on staff that should be happy to discuss the availability and benefits of different feeds and forages in your area.
- The physical condition of your horse should be a top priority. After I am satisfied that my horse is getting in good physical shape, I will then start the tune up process which is simply reinforcing the Foundation of my training program. These steps are covered in detail in my Foundation to Finish DVD that is available in our Store on our website. There are three levels of exercises that I use to help my horse tell me what I need to work on more so as to have the best chance for success. I can't expect my horse to remember everything that we have worked on in the past. Always remember, your horse is not a computer or a robot that once you program them they just have that forever. This is why you always have to remember that when you are handling/training a horse you are reinforcing a habit, good or bad.
- One more item to evaluate and critique is your equipment; proper fitting equipment that is comfortable for your horse and helps you to achieve the optimum performance out of your equine partner is very important. Classic Equine and Martin Saddlery are two of my sponsors, however, I was using their products for years before we entered into an agreement due to the functionality and durability of their products. I hope this gives you a few ideas when you're getting your horse ready for this spring and summer season. If you ever have a question just drop us a email or give me a call, until then, Best wishes,Phil