1. The right “upgrade horse” for you is one that…
A) you can ride really well.
B) you will find mentally challenging.
C) you’ll need lessons on to learn how to ride.
2. True or false: Chances are, the best step-up horse for you will be much younger than the horse you have now.
T / F
3. True or false: Even if you find the perfect step-up horse, don’t expect to go show and win the next weekend.
T / F
4. True or false: The more businesslike you are with your new step-up horse, the better you’ll get along—so don’t fuss over him.
T / F
HOW’D YOU DO? (Answers below.)
1. A is correct. No matter how good a horse is, if you can’t ride him well straightaway, you’re not upgrading…you’re setting yourself up for frustration. Make sure it’s a good match from the start.
2. F is correct. Not necessarily. A much younger horse is often NOT the best upgrade for you. A mature horse that knows his job better than the mount you have now will likely work out better. When horses are your hobby, there’s nothing better than one you can go have fun on 99 percent of the time. And the fact is, the younger a horse is, the more work he’ll need. Keep that in mind before you consider a young horse as your upgrade.
3. T is correct. There are exceptions, of course, but getting on track with a new horse typically involves a transition period. If possible, buy your upgrade at the end of your competitive season, then use your off time to enable you both to get acquainted and in sync with each other without the pressure of major events. Or consider keeping your current horse to show while you adjust to your new one. This takes the pressure off and keeps your confidence up by giving you a familiar horse to ride.
4. F is correct. A key success factor with any new horse is finding opportunities to connect. Spend time with him in his stall, while preparing him to ride, and in and out of the arena. Get to know his quirks, where he likes to be scratched, and whether he craves your attention or is more guarded. Developing a solid connection with and understanding of each other is crucial to reaching your goals with your upgraded horse.
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