Part 1 of Dana Hokana’s article: How to Freshen Up Your Show Horse for the Next Show Season

December 14th, 2013 8:00 AM | No Comments

Part 1: Diagnosing the Problem, and How to Fix It

Originally published in November/December issue of Show Horse Today

By Dana Hokana

Dana fb headshotShow season is winding down to a close, but next year is right around the corner! How was your year? I find that as many people are coming to the close of this show season, they are already thinking about what needs to be done to improve their horse’s performance for the next season. I believe that now is the time to evaluate your horse. Do a diagnostic, so to speak.

Many times I have seen people who are showing for year end awards, or who are just so busy on the road competing and they have “let things slip.”  Little problems have developed, and riders often don’t want to, or have the time to, dig in and fix them! Think about it; you are on a roll. You feel some little cheats here and there, but they aren’t too costly. You may be leading for the buckle – you’ll just have to fix it later.

Well, now is the time. In this three-part series, I am going to teach you valuable tips to “freshen up” your horse, so next season he will come out looking like a star!

Here is a checklist that I go through to evaluate my horse:

  1. Soundness and condition: Is your horse sound? I often have my vet evaluate my horse to be sure he is sound and comfortable. How is your horse’s condition, weight and coat? Are there areas you would like to improve?
  2. 2.    Honesty in the show arena: Is your horse cheating you, or even just thinking ahead of you? His focus just isn’t what it used to be, or often he feels like he is doing the class for you. Many times, he needs a work program. He needs to have repetition over and over, focusing back on you. The exercises I give you will refocus your horse mentally and physically back on you.  Movement: One of the most common problems we have in today’s performance classes is maintaining our horse’s movement quality. Often, the repetition of showing encourages our horses to lose their crisp, pure gaits and their movement deteriorates.
  3. 3.    Your own show ring presentation: Are you presenting your horse to be the best that he can be?

As a trainer, I often see that with age and time, some horses lose that crisp, strong, true look to their movement that they may have once had….

To read how Dana fixes these problems, and for exercises you can do at home, click here!

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