View Full Version : How to help deal with Sharp Competition horse

19th April 2011, 12:53 PM
Can anyone give advice on how to help calm a sharp - but intelligent Competition horse?

My daughter competes at B.E. and Dressage, Sj, O.D.E's etc., he horse is a green rising 9 year old - with low mileage..... he's been out regularly now for almost a year. Someday's he's focused and attentive and has a great time and gets well placed. Other's he's sharp spooky, and spoils it for himself!!
We have started using NAF magic liquid in his feed 2 x times daily, and have used the Instant calmer syringe before a competition. We did this 2 weeks ago at Dressage and he won both Novice Comps on the Sat & Sunday - Great!!!
We took him to Aston-le-Walls this last weekend, and gave him an instant magic syringe.... walked the course then got on for Dressage..... it was quite busy in the practice arena - and he was very tense, and sharp - he'd see another horse working and coming towards him and he'd sharply spin around and gallop away - very un-nerving for may poor daughter! In the arena he wasn't much better - they were very close together and there wasn't much room...... he shied at the other horse working in the next arena..... and was generally a little ***! Absolutely NO need for this behaviour - and sooooo disappointing - he can WIN if he puts his mind to it - silly boy. My daughter came out in tears..... he then went on to go double clear........ WHAT can we do to help his head???? He is actually very talented - but his silly ness gets in the way ;(((

19th April 2011, 01:28 PM
Absolutely NO need for this behaviour - and sooooo disappointing - he can WIN if he puts his mind to it - silly boy. My daughter came out in tears..... he then went on to go double clear........ WHAT can we do to help his head???? He is actually very talented - but his silly ness gets in the way ;(((

Welcome to my world! My mum feel exactly the same about Icarus. Some days he's a dream and wins, other days he 'could' win, but his brain gets in the way. It tends to take a good 40mins of working in before Icarus concentrates. I'm talking transitions, transitions, transitions... And never moving up a gear until i have full concentration (and brakes!) in the lower gear.

Have you tried lunging him before you leave home? It might just take the egde off him. Plus i always find icarus slows down after a good munch on a haynet.

Luckily for me, Icarus doesnt scare me, but I can understand how your daughter feels, its not a nice feeling.

Have you thought about changing his feed? Whats he being fed, may i ask?

19th April 2011, 03:50 PM
It could be that his low milage is the issue, he needs to get out and see loads, so he becomes more 'what ever' about busy places. What about popping along to some local shows so there's no pressure on your daughter and not such large entry fees wasted if he is a little monkey

19th April 2011, 05:05 PM
I'd be inclined not to let him have hay before his competition, perhaps afterwards though.

I agree with Clippi about local shows, I was thinking along the lines different venues where there are horses warming up in close proximity (sp?!) working hunter classes might be a good idea aswell as the odd jumping class/dressage.
You never know, the horse may be a little claustraphobic?!

19th April 2011, 06:06 PM
What do you feed him? as this could be the problem.
My mare used to be a huge problem over winter. Even feeding "herbal quiet mix" didnt help but recently started feeding "winergy equilibrium slow energy" and it has completely done the trick! These last 2 winters we have had sane behaviour and not awful one and and good the next!!! Now with the spring grass coming through we have completely taken her off any feed.
my friend uses "equine america super kalm" which she has had great experience with so worth a try though i think it is quite expensive

19th April 2011, 07:53 PM
Work it ALOT! My main horse, with the added problem of being a stallion, is very sharp well bred forward going horse with mega amount of stamina which at times is ****** hardwork, he literally is worked every day then he is great, its also a big case of respect as well he has to have more respect for me than he does interest in what is going on around him, as he is becoming more submissive and more resepcetful of me other things are becoming less of an issue and everything is clicking into place (may eat my words tomorrow when we have a competition to go to!)

and take him out loads to local lower level no pressure events, when the pressure is on anyway casue youve gone all that way worked hard paid a hefty entry fee everything can seem to go wrong becasue your nervous or excited anyway

19th April 2011, 08:11 PM


Thanks Guys - food for thought...... maybe we should go more local for ODE's - take a step back....... take more time (longer warming up).... with plenty of space for him to settle - and see what happens!!!! Will put it to my daughter and have a look for a local comp - after Badminton - which is on our doorstep !!! Good sound advice Thanks Very Much - as always can rely on you lot for some help !!!! CHEERS !! x

19th April 2011, 08:41 PM
He may be even greener than you have been led to believe, unless he came from an extremely trustworthy source. This happens A LOT - it is just too easy to say a horse has done X Y and Z and cross your fingers on the day that he doesn't mess up... Both Hasty and Kilo were considerably greener than advertised. 100% to ride does not mean 'has been sat on a couple of times' which I suspect was the case with both of them.

I agree it would be a good idea to go to a few local shows.

Alternatively could you take a seasoned traveller with you to competitions? My older horse has probably been to hundreds of race meetings, so he knows exactly what to do and just dozes all day. Any youngsters that have accompanied him have immediately done the same thing. Yes they wake up when it's time to compete but they don't get stupid about it or work themselves into a frenzy waiting for their turn.

20th April 2011, 08:06 PM
They all react differently. For my welsh,my dressage warm upconsisted of, 10/15 min walk inhand, tacked up round the lorry park, 10/15min hack round lorry park.. trot down to dr arena/or if big warm up trot rouns the edge, then go in to test. The longer i spent warming up, the more wound up he would get, i couldnt lunge him at comps either. It took 2 years to work out this strategy, and sadly we only managed to use it at 2 events before he was pts. Once the dr was out the way i could usually warm up properly for the jumping phasses, but he would have a breakdown if the warmup was too busy. I know a few horses that just go for walk before there tests. The other thing to try is to work in for your test for 20min or so an hour before your test, then get off, chill out, let horse settle its self, then just take it for a hackabout before going in.