Competing young horses

“When introducing a young horse to eventing, do you feel it is beneficial for the horse to compete initially in quick succession and hence learn from his mistakes or does this put too much strain on them too early?

“I own a four-year-old 16hh Polish Warmblood/Thoroughbred, who is very laid back and easy going. He is happy hacking out alone, is schooling nicely and has started jumping including water, banks, drops and ditches.

“I am planning to do some unaffiliated dressage and show jumping through the winter and spring, with some hunter trials in spring and summer with the intention of doing a few intros in late 2004 and be ready to pre-novice in 2005.

“Does this sound like a reasonable schedule? Any help or advice would be welcome as this is my first experience of bringing on a baby.”

Ginny answers . . .

“Bringing on a young horse is a massive subject and simply too large to cover in detail here, however, the rate at which a horse will progress is related to many things including its rider’s experience.

“During the winter I would do as many indoor show jumping and dressage competitions as possible. If the horse’s canter is not particularly well developed even jumping around a clear round class at trot will do wonders for his mental capacity for coping at parties.

“If you are a member of your local hunt it is possible to take him gently hunting to get him used to the terrain and conditions. It is perfectly possible to go hunting without jumping anything.

“Introduce everything gradually and listen to your horse. He will let you know if you are doing too much or if he’s not coping in any way.”

Best wishes and good luck

Ginny

Don’t miss more of Ginny’s top tips to help combat common problems, which will be published on the site during the next few weeks.

The Ginny Elliot Eventing Club

Ginny Elliot’s new Eventing Club is aimed at grass roots competitors, competing at intro, pre-novice and novice level.

Members will receive expert advice from one of eventing’s most successful riders and trainers through virtual course walks and training articles. Members can also contact Ginny directly to discuss training their horses and talk through any competition problems they are experiencing.

For more information visit: www.ginnyelliot.com