Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Segment One: Fitting, Feeding, and Everyday Grooming for the Showmanship Horse

I have met many people that believe showmanship is a waste of time, boring, and a discipline that does not take any talent. Some of them are so vocal in their distaste for showmanship they choose to make some very derogatory comments to those of us who choose to show the discipline. Often times, (not always) these are the people that have horses with poor ground manners and you see many of them posting on message boards about their latest injuries because their horse is “pushy”. Showmanship takes: skill, talent, precision, an extremely well mannered horse, and a handler that takes pride in his/her appearance as well as the horse’s appearance if you want to be successful at the top levels. For those that scoff at the idea of the amount of work that goes into a showmanship horse; I say kindly do the world a favor and pull your lip over your head and swallow. Showmanship isn’t just for people that show. Backyard horses, ranch horses, hell, even race horses, can benefit from a few showmanship lessons. So let’s get down to the nitty gritty of what it takes to be successful in the pen with showmanship. Please bear with me. There is a lot of information to cover. I will be posting the show grooming/clipping, training and pattern basics tomorrow to keep this post as brief as possible.

First off, I don’t speak for everyone. Many people have different routines and different ways of doing things. There is nothing wrong with that and it doesn’t make one person’s techniques the right way or another person’s the wrong way. That’s what makes the horse industry versatile and dynamic. However, I thought I would share my fitting program, grooming, training, and pattern techniques for those who would like to take advantage of what I have learned over the years.

Fitting: It’s no surprise that I like a properly fitted horse. I don’t want huge muscles and a ton of weight on my showmanship horse. I want a horse that is fit and conditioned to look like it could ride all day long. Make sure you cover your medical bases before you begin a fitting routine. Your horse should be on a proper rotational worming schedule, UTD on dental work, vaccinations, trimming/shoeing, feeding schedule, etc.

The way I fit a horse depends on the horse; its size, body frame, weight, and overall body condition play major roles. For example, one of my mares (pictured at the top of the blog) is currently standing 15.3 hands, and weighs roughly 1, 025 lbs at the moment. She is currently fit and working 6 days per week, whether its riding, round penning, or chugging along behind the 4-wheeler. If I have a major show coming up and I only plan on showing in showmanship, I don’t ride her much the three weeks before her show. The reason being is that I don’t want to work her longer than 20 minutes, and the saddle and pad tend to sweat the withers down. The schedule that I follow before a show with this mare consists of round-penning or working behind the 4-wheeler for a total of 12 minutes 6 days per week. I prefer the 4-wheeler as I can keep her going in straight lines which is less stress on her joints. However, I don’t always have a second person to help with this so on those days we round pen. (Note… if you decide to try the 4-wheeler method, please be sure to have some help. It is extremely dangerous to work a horse off the 4-wheeler if you are the one holding the horse and driving the vehicle). For that matter, it is extremely dangerous to work off a 4-wheeler no matter how much help you have. Be sure your horse is comfortable in using this method first, and please, be sure the handler wears a helmet. I have seen young studs think its play time and strike the handler in the head while in vehicle is in motion!

Typically I will use a stopwatch and I will have the horse work 3 minutes at a trot and 3 minutes at a lope, switch directions, and another 3 minutes at a trot and 3 minutes at a lope. Trotting will build the bulk, loping will strengthen the topline, tuck the underline nicely, and build that nice smooth muscle. Keep in mind this is the routine I use for a horse that is already fit. For a horse that is beginning a fitting routine I recommend starting at 8 minutes total because you are asking the horse for constant motion for the entire time you are working. For weanlings and yearlings (in halter) I generally work them for 4 minutes total. The maximum amount of time I will work one in this routine is for 15 minutes. Any more than 15 minutes and you begin taking weight off that you want to keep on (if the horse is already fit). Keep the horse at a steady pace at both gaits for maximum fitting. Letting the horse be lazy is not going to achieve the results you want. I also like being able to swim my horses when possible for 1-2 minutes, but sadly, I do not have the facilities that allow me that option anymore.

Feeding: Feeding of the showmanship horse is just as important as the fitting and training. There are a variety of good feeds on the market and many people feed in different ways. Every horse is different and has different needs so don’t expect to get the same results if you decide to feed exactly what I do. Talk with your veterinarian about your fitting routine and decide what the best possible feeding routine is for your horse to achieve maximum results. Currently the mare I have been referring to is getting 3lbs of a 10% protein 8% fat pelleted sweet feed mixture and a large flake of quality coastal hay in the AM. She is then turned out a good portion of the day in a 1 acre lot with a Tifton 85 round bale that she can munch to her heart’s content. In the PM, she is brought in and fed the same ration of feed with a large flake of quality alfalfa. I choose to supplement her diet with 1 pump of Dac Oil AM and PM. It helps add the sheen from the inside out, promotes a slick coat, adds fat, and is an excellent source of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. I also give her 1 scoop of MSM in the PM to promote and maintain joint health. (Always be sure to feed MSM with the grain ration as it can cause digestive upset when given alone).

Some horses are larger than others and require more feed; others are smaller and require less feed. Again, figure out what works for you and stick to it. Some of you may be wondering… “why the alfalfa”? I like the alfalfa for the protein content and its ability to keep the horse from developing the ever-dreaded hay belly. You know… the one that makes your gelding look like he’s getting ready to foal at any minute. I try to avoid that look!

Grooming: Ah, now here is an aspect that I could go on all day about. I am extremely anal when it comes to grooming my horses. I will cover this aspect in two segments: everyday grooming, and grooming for the show. Grooming/clipping for the show will be posted tomorrow.

Everyday Grooming: My horses are typically groomed 6 days per week and I am very methodical in the process. I start with a red rubber curry (the little black ones are too stiff for my liking). I will curry the entire horse in short circular motions to stimulate the oils in the coat and loosen dead hair and/or dirt. I will then go back over the entire horse in short, straight strokes with the edge of the curry. This method will pull off a ton of excess hair without breaking the hair like a metal curry or a shedding blade. Be prepared to do this for a long time and expect to break a sweat. I do this even in the summer. No matter how slick the horse’s coat is, you will find that you will still be pulling off dead hair.

Next I grab my super duper vacuum. I use a vac-n-blo pro series, but even a small shop vac will work. I vacuum the entire horse to get all the dirt and debris out of the coat. Most horses will stand quietly for this but if your horse is hesitant at the sound of the vacuum be sure to introduce it slowly. Take your time with the introduction. He may not let you vacuum him the first few times or he may dance around. Be persistent and calm and sooner or later he’ll be standing like a pro enjoying his vac-n-blo job.

Then I dust my horse off with a soft bristled dandy brush and spritz them with fly spry. Next, I spray them with a 50/50 mixture of vinegar and water. Vinegar acts as a natural show sheen without drying out the coat, and also helps to relieve any itchiness or rubbing the horse may be experiencing. Lastly, I pick the horses hooves and apply Fiebings Hoof Dressing. However, I only apply the dressing 3 times per week.

Tails: There are many ways you can do a tail. I prefer to leave my tails down if they are fairly short. I wash and condition tails once per week with Cowboy Magic Rosewater shampoo and Cowboy Magic conditioner. I always wash my tails twice! The reason being is that the first wash gets the surface dirt and any detangler residue out. The second wash gets everything else. I always make sure to wash the tail bone thoroughly to get all the dandruff and crusties out. After washing I soak the tail with conditioner and leave it in for about 3 minutes, then rinse. I then saturate the tail bone, especially at the base of the bone, with MTG and comb through with a wide toothed comb. Next, I blow dry the tail and finger pick the tangles and I’m done.

I don’t like tail bags as my horses always seem to break off hair. However, for a horse with a long thick tail, I will follow my procedure as described above, section the tail into 5 or 6 sections, and put each section of hair into a figure eight knot, or a crochet knot, and cover with vet wrap. This keeps the tail off the ground, the horse can still swish flies effectively, and I don’t have as much hair breakage. If you must braid and bag your tail, I prefer to make my braid tight and I pull downward while braiding. This keeps the hairs from going all willy-nilly and keeps them from popping out the top of the tail bag. I have several methods for braiding and bagging so if you are interested just ask and I will go into more detail.

I also do not comb or brush my tails between washings. If they are really knotted up I will pick through the tail with my fingers and add some Cowboy Magic detangler if needed. I don’t like to break off any more hair than necessary so I tend to not brush.

Manes: I will cover manes in the show grooming post tomorrow.

I know this is a long post, but there is a lot of info still left to cover. I will have the second portion of this topic covering: grooming/clipping for the show, training, and pattern basics, posted by Thursday.


roanhorse said...

I enjoyed your blog on fitting and conditioning for showmanship. Showmanship is not my thing, drives me batshit, like waiting for cement to set up, but I do enjoy what you have to say about it. Keep up the good work!!

My3Arabs said...

Bravo! Thank you for writing this up. I do not show but I do enjoy learning and reading about what it takes to show.

smottical said...

I'm so glad you posted this. I had PMed you on the message boards to get help with my filly, and I can already tell that the exercise she's getting is making a big difference. Here's a possibly stupid question - is it mandatory for a young showmanship horse to have shoes?

success in the pen said...

Smottical... it's never mandatory for any show horse to have shoes. If your horse has good feet, I wouldn't bother. You do, however, want to make sure they are free of jagged edges, chips, etc.

success in the pen said...

Thank you guys for the comments. There is still more to come on the showmanship topic. I have yet to cover grooming/clipping for the show and working patterns. The patterns post is going to take awhile to write. It's extremely technical and I like to get down to hair line details.

Deanna said...

GREAT blog, thanks so much for posting!

"The slower you teach it the quicker he'll learn." my fav part of your showmanship post.

Know anything about showing arabs?

謝明博馬陰人放購ˇ屁ㄉ人不董識貨ㄉ人精打細算ㄉ人霖宏百里緒恩駛溟含凾信攔醬油邱科信彰柏宏與簽纏t06單耳耽溺娟謝政道QKPb戲曲學院部大汐布袋戲model mode台北不婚獨子女 臺獨 said...

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2009年3月3日 上午 7:38
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2009年3月3日 上午 8:27
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從詞源上來說,活體解剖是指為為生理學或病理學科學研究而對活著的動物進行的解剖。 最近,在人們,尤其是動物權利激進分子的觀念中,活體解剖這一條目被廣泛地應用到任何形式的有動物受到傷害的實驗中,無論這些實驗是否有明確的書面表明是活體解剖。

動物權利提倡者致力於通過有關活體解剖的批判性討論而支援其立場。對此,動物實驗的支持者們回應道,動物實驗過程中通常不需要使用侵入性的手段(暗指活體解剖)。動物權利激進分子一直以來反對和抨擊諸如杭廷頓生命科學研究中心(Huntingdon Life Sciences)一類的機構,因為這類機構從事於——依照批評人士主張的——動物活體解剖研究。激進分子們為此採取的反擊策略多種多樣,從純粹的和平抗議直到實施恐怖主義迫害。



[編輯] 參見

* 動物實驗
* 大屠殺
* 實驗法
* 關於活體解剖與實驗的論爭
* 動物權利
* 動物援助
* 動物解放陣線
* 致力於以倫理對待動物者
* 731部隊

[編輯] 參考書目

* Mary Roach, Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers (2003)
* Vivisections at Kyushu University Hospital in 1945

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2009年3月3日 上午 8:39
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2009年3月3日 上午 8:43
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* 色相
* 色度
* 明度
* 色調
* 顏色
* 透視
* 構圖
* 寫生
* 速寫
* 素描
* 臨摹

2個分類: 藝術相關列表 | 繪畫術語

2009年3月3日 下午 9:25

2009年3月3日 下午 10:42