Leading a Colt in Preparation for Show
When preparing a colt for show, start the procedure at least six (6) weeks prior to the show date.

1. Use a lead rope with a chain under the horse’s chin at all times when handling. It gives the handler control and does not hurt the horse, but does get the horse’s attention.
2. Lead the colt daily for 15 to 20 minutes. Walk in a circle, going in both directions, just as you would have to do in a show ring.  The colt should have its head just in front of you at all times.
3. Make sudden and unexpected turns – sometimes making tight circles in both directions – when leading the colt so he is forced to pay attention to you and anticipate your movements. It teaches the colt to always pay close attention to you.
4. Teach the colt to go fast, i.e., run beside you, or go slow – always at your shoulder.
5. Never allow the colt to TROT when you are leading. This can be avoided by forcing the colt to carry his head as high as possible. Practice running with the colt gaiting next to you – shaking his head up as high as you can. If he trots, slow back and start over. Never reinforce a trot.
6. Expose the colt to as many obstacles, loud noises and different surroundings as possible. You can play a loud radio – walk him next to traffic – just let him experience everything.
7. Work the colt with other horses or colts at home to get him used to following or being followed by other horses – and also having other horses coming close to him – don’t want him to lose his concentration.
8. Have someone walk around your colt while he is parked out, as though he were the judge. Have that person wear a hat and tip the hat to the contestant. Have that person walk up close to the colt and even touch the colt, but do not allow the colt to move. If he does, reposition him and make him hold it – head held high.
9. Have someone work with another colt next to your colt as though he is having trouble with that colt and it is acting up. Then make your colt stand still while this is going on – paying attention to you only. You will frequently have colts around you that misbehave while showing.
10. Have someone next to you use a whip with their colt and make a clicking noise, but make your colt stand still and pay attention to you only.  Your colt should now be ready to lead into the showing. Good Luck!!

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Last Updated: March 28, 2017

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