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RE: [RC] Preparing a horse for ridecamp - heidi

I am very new to endurance riding and have volunteered at a couple of rides 
this past year, but am wondering how in the world people train their horses 
to behave so nicely at ridecamp?  

I have a horse that is a year or two away from our first official ride and 
she is a little on the "hot" side.  How should I go about training her to 
handle the hustle and bustle around camp?  

Many horses are easy to adapt to ride camps because they simply have
unflappable dispositions to begin with.  But if you don't have that
blessing, there ARE things you can do to help prepare your horse.

First, make sure she has abolute respect for YOU.  When YOU ask her to
walk, stand still, etc., she will do it because YOU are the
alpha-critter.  She will then gain confidence from you when YOU are
calmly walking her around camp, etc.

Second, try to find a buddy with an unflappable horse.  Get her used to
that horse.  Then go places with your buddy and your buddy's horse. 
Start off just riding a bit together.  Then go camping.  Tie to the
trailer, live in a little pen, etc., all away from home, but with the
calm, unflappable buddy horse.  (You can also do this if YOU ave
another unflappable horse.)   If need be, you can preceed this activity
by tying to the trailer in your own barnyard and feeding and watering
her there.  Let her stay there overnight a few times.

Third, go to some places where there are crowds of horses, and just hang
out.  Go to local horse shows, and just tie up to the trailer in the
parking lot with a big hay net and a bucket of water.  Sit there all
day and read a book if you have to.  Don't do anything else there--just
tie to the trailer.  This should soon be sufficiently boring that she
will eat, drink, and snooze.

Being able to relax in a camping setting is IMO absolutely essential for
the success of an endurance horse.  So if you don't feel that she has
these attributes "right out of the box" you are right to want to try to
tackle the problem long before she goes to rides.



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