What’s Your Prep Plan? Troy Green Answers How he Prepares his Horses for Majors such as Congress and World
Originally published in October issue of Show Horse Today
With the end of Congress, the end of Appaloosa World and Amateur/Open Quarter Horse World and Paint World about to begin, there are a lot of people who wonder how to prepare your horse for such major events! Troy Green, professional trainer, answers how he prepares his horses for the big day, answering: “What’s your Prep Plan?”
Athletes take a great deal of time coming up with a strategic “game day” plan, not only for the day of competition, but for the days, weeks, and months leading up to competition. Our four-legged athletes are no different, except that they cannot strategize for their success. That’s left to us. We not only need to make sure that we, ourselves, are mentally and physically prepared for competition, but also to make sure our equine partners are prepared to the best of our abilities as well.
The three main factors in preparing for a big show include diet, (both leading up to and during, and including any supplements and meds) routine (at home, prior to, and during), and neutralizing outside factors that may be out of our control. Anyone who has worked with or around horses for any length of time knows how unpredictable they can be. Having a “game day” plan can help ensure that we have control over as much as possible. I’ll reiterate one of my favorite quotes…. “Luck favors preparation.”
All year long, and for the long-term health and performance benefits of your horse, it’s so important to have a good diet plan, with good quality hay being at the very top of the list. Often with good quality hay, the need for coat and weight supplements diminishes. We like to feed an alfalfa mix and find that when the quality of the hay is better, we are able to feed less grain and don’t need certain supplements. Consistency in the horses’ diet is also quite important as well, however we do change a few things when we travel to shows.
We tend to feed less grain at horse shows. Most of the time, we are working to get our horses quiet and relaxed in “show mode.” We don’t want to create a need to work them even harder by pumping them up on grain to a point that they are high or fresh. Just prior to, or especially after a long trailer ride, we try to avoid giving grain. We do, however, keep hay in front of the horses constantly. Hay bags, and especially the slow feed nets, are great so the horses are able to constantly munch to keep things moving in their gut. Everyone has a different program and approach, and this is just what we have found to work for us.
To read the rest of this article, including how to prepare your horse physically for a major event, please click here!