Beat his show fears

By Richard Maxwell

Grooming and Care Advice

15 June 2012 11:23

Richard Maxwell gives his advice to help you beat your horse's fears of being in a show environment...

When your horse gets upset, it’s crucial you can lower her neck to the level of, or below, her withers. When her head’s up she’s scanning for threats and is poised for action. If you train her to lower her neck and head, it gives her something else to think about, it lowers her emotions and blood pressure and helps with endorphic release, counteracting adrenaline.

To do this, get her working on a 2m circle with lots of bend in the neck and frame – repeat ‘down’ as she brings her head lower. Most horses won’t like the small circle and will initially revert to the brace position, but once you’ve mastered directional control it’s much easier. After she’s learned what you’re asking, when you’re riding you can use shoulder-in or shoulder-fore to do this – both have the same profound physical and emotional effects.