At The Barrel Race
Make sure you arrive with enough time to set up your horse and let him stretch his legs out before being tied up outside the trailer. After the long ride standing, your horse will need to walk around to loosen up. When he is finally tied at the trailer give him some hay to much on and fresh water to stay hydrated.
Let your horse relax and take in his new surroundings while you go and sign yourself up if for your event. Depending on when the show will be starting you should tack up and do a light warm up in the ring. Doing that will let your horse see the ring he will be competing in later and it will also let you know if he is moving smoothly. Some horses can injure themselves in the trailer so it is a very good idea to hop on your horse before any events start.
You shouldn't work your horse into a big sweat when you are warming up at first. A little sweat is okay but do not exhaust him. After taking in all the sights of the ring and working through some basics like bending, flexing, cantering circles etc.., you can let your horse walk around till he is nice and calm, then take him out of the ring and back to the trailer to relax. If you will be competing in the next hour or so it may not be worth it to un-tack your horse but your should definitely loosen the saddle. You could take off his boots and shake them out to get the sand out of the inside as well.
About 20 - 30 minutes before you are supposed to compete you should have your horse tacked up and start warming up. Find a quiet area that your can trot around and canter some circle in. Make sure your horse is responding well to all you. When he is warmed up you can walk him over closer to the ring and let him relax while you wait for your name to be called. It may be best for your horse to keep moving at a walk until you are on deck that way he stays warm. Don't get him walking around if he is all ancy, keep him calm no matter what. It will be very beneficial to have a calm collected horse before entering the ring.
When your name is finally called, stay calm and walk over to the opening of the gate. Depending on the show you are at, the gate may be an open alley, where you run through or you may have to have it opened for you and closed before you run. Some rings have an opening on the sides or they might be centered with the pattern. Take your time setting up in the correct spot because you only get one chance before it's time to run. Don't just let your horse run before you are ready, but once your set let him go and guide him through the pattern. Remember all the training you have done so far and have fun!
Once you've made it through the pattern, bring your horse to a stop, give him a pat and walk him calmly out of the ring. The beginning and ending on your run should be calm and controlled. When your out of the ring you can either stay on your horse or hop off and hand walk him. Either way you need to stay with your horse and walk him out to cool off. He just ran his fastest for you so you should take the time to make sure he is properly cooled. If that was the only run you had for the day then un-tack your horse. Depending on the weather your can find a hose and wash him off but only if it is hot out. Do not wet your horse if the weather is cool because you could cause your horse to become sick. Brush him out and let him relax by the trailer with food and water.
If you have another run to make later on then let your horse rest at the trailer, depending on the amount of time you have in between your runs you can un-tack him. Make sure he has an opportunity to recharge with some hay and water.
The Material contained herein may not be reproduced without the prior written approval of the author. Contents & Graphics Copyright © Horses With Amie (C) 2006-. All Rights Reserved. Our work is not Public Domain.