See ARTICLES by Laura Tennill Ė Ten-L Training Center
Clipping Tips -Have the horse as clean as possible. After bathing, spray with Show Sheen on body. Be sure horse is fully dry before clipping. Set up in a well-lit, quiet location with few distractions. Use a humane twitch if necessary to keep horse still and prevent injury. Clip one side at a time. Leave the head until last, the horse will be tired and more cooperative. Keep blades well lubricated. Change blades often to prevent overheating. Donít hold blade flat; instead hold at a slight angle and it will give a better cut. Leave an inverted "V" at the tail head to give the illusion of a higher tail set. A #10 blade is used for the body, a #15 on head and finish with a #30 on the ears, around the eyes, the muzzle and on white markings on the legs. Be careful the #30 blade cuts VERY close, as does a #40 surgical blade. Both should be used with caution. (Anyone care to add more Tips??? Please e-mail me!)
Selecting A Trainer - Do you see exciting potential in your miniature that may bring home the blue ribbons? Are you not experienced at showing, grooming or perhaps just too busy to give him the proper exposure? If your answer is yes, it may be time to consider hiring a professional trainer., Professional trainers can get the very best out of your horse. They have years of experience in conditioning grooming & presentation for the show ring. They can both hide faults & highlight your horses strong points,. First you need to find a trainer., You can look through the magazines to find one that is winning, you can see them in action at shows, or you can ask around. When you contact the trainer be prepared to tell them as much as possible about your horse & be prepared to show it in person or send a detailed video., Many trainers limit the number of horses by sex, age & height that they can handle at one time, some trainers do have helpers, others prefer to handle the horses themselves. The trainer will need to evaluate the horse based on what you want to do with it. All of us want a National champion, but not all horses are of that caliber, Your horse may not win at National level, but may do very well in the area shows. What would you be happy with, a few Grand Champions or do you want to go all the way to Nationals? The horse you may think is perfect for halter may turn out to be a top performance horse on the advice of your trainer. Be realistic in your goals. The trainers show string advertises their ability to win & they will usually only take the horses they feel have a shot at ribbons. It is possible that some trainers may need the money & are willing to take anything, but it is doubtful. If you are not happy with a trainers comments regarding your horse, they are not set in stone & you can always get another trainers opinion.
The next thing to discuss is the cost to you. There is a large difference in what some trainers charge versus others. The general fees are around $250-$400 a month which include full board, conditioning & training. Most trainers like to have your horse anywhere from 60-90 days prior to its first show to get it trained & conditioned properly. There will be additional costs which will again vary with each trainer. It is highly recommended that you get an estimate up front of what you can be expect to be charged per month so you are not nickel & dimed to death. Common extra charges can & will include farrier work, shots, worming, vet costs, grooming fees & the total cost of trainer at the show ( mileage, eating & motels) which is usually divided between all the horses shown at the show. Some trainers require that you purchase show clothing & halters for your horses, such as hoods, slinkies, blankets, neck sweats, muzzles & a fitted show halter The owner is also responsible for all the show class entry fees, stalls & grounds fees.
Once you understand the costs involved with the professional handler, it is to your benefit to ask for a trial period for your horse. This usually involves so many shows or so many months of showing. This is good protection incase the blue ribbon winner you & the trainer see is just not making it in the ring. If your horse is not performing up to your expectations, within a certain time period, it may be time to re think your horses future in the show ring. This is not to say that your horse may not go on to win a National Title under another trainer. If you are serious about your horses show career, you may consider finding another trainer that may "click" better with your horse.
Keep in mind that horses that are with professional trainers are not "pets". They are well taken care of, but you can not expect to go to a show & hug on your horse or ask to lead it around the grounds. He is there for a job & your trainer wants him to be mentally & physically prepared for the show ring. Although there is a large expense involved in hiring a professional trainer to show your horse, there is also much to be said for sitting in the stands without all the rush & stress of having to get a horse ready for the ring, & watching while the horse is shown in a far superior manner to what you could have done & who knows, maybe even walk off with a blue ribbon!
A winning show career adds to the value of any horse, so of course we want the very best! It is a good way to advertise our stallions, mares & homebred little ones. Choose your trainer carefully, while he needs to be happy with your as a client, & your horse as a prospect to add to his "brags", YOU are still paying the bills & you have to be happy with what you are getting in return for your investment.
( this article was compiled using information & comments from both professional trainers & owners around the country) - Many thanks to Debbie Gross of White Star Miniature Horses for allowing us to use this article.
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