Arabian Knight's Farm
Training a Halter or Showmanship Horse

Plus a Showing Checklist for Show Season

Arabian Knights Farms and Training Center Inc.

The most important thing to teach a halter/showmanship horse is that "whoa" means "WHOA". This is the foundation to fixing your problems. You must do this firmly but gently. DO NOT get frustrated or angry with your horse or he will become confused and develop a bad attitude. Always remember that when a horse doesn't understand what you want, and you get angry with him, he will become nervous and be unable to focus on what you want from him. If you think that this has already happened to You - STOP! Take a few weeks to just play together and become friends again. Make sure that he trusts you. Then start over SLOWLY. Always Reward his good behavior with a treat or a pat. Make sure he knows when he's done it right.

Once you have taught your horse to "whoa" (this means that he will stand COMPLETELY still, no "creeping" of his feet, shifting of weight from one foot to another, and no resting or cocking of a rear ankle) you are ready to start teaching him to stretch his neck. Start out by crouching down in front of him and extending you hand towards his nose. If he tries to step closer to you, remind him to "whoa". When he stretches his neck forward and touches your fingers - stop! Get up, pet him and give him a treat. Repeat this, slowly moving farther away and standing up, until you can stand with your hand raised over your head and your horse will "stretch" his neck up and forward to your fingers. You will notice that there is NO whip involved with this initial training. Don't use one - you don't need it. You will probably scare him with it more than you will teach him.

Also, don't put a chain under his chin. Use a plain lead that clips right under the halter. If not used properly, a chain will teach a horse to pull away from you.

Teaching a horse to pivot is fairly simple now that he understands "whoa". Stand directly in front of your horse with your hand on the lead right under his chin. Now, step in to him and to YOUR left, allowing him to step sideways. Do this ONE STEP AT A TIME to start. If he tries to step out of the pivot "circle" with his hind legs, make him "whoa". When he takes a few steps in a row correctly (meaning, he steps sideways with his front feet while "pivoting" on his hind legs), Stop, pet him and give him a treat.

Remember, each of these steps can take weeks to accomplish, so don't get frustrated or in a hurry. Patience and consistency are your best Tools. NEVER work on any one thing for more than fifteen minutes. Any longer than that and your horse will become bored and distracted. If you are having a bad day and find yourself getting angry, make your horse do ONE THING that he knows well (i.e. whoa and stand). Then pet him and put him away. It is never worth the fight, and a bad fight can actually undo weeks of hard work.

I hope some of these tips are helpful to you. Also, you can try to contact the International Arabian Horse Association in Denver, Co. to see if they have training videos or articles on halter and showmanship.

Showing Checklist for Show Season

Riders Checklist:

*boots
*boot hooks
*helmet
*chaps
*breeches
*riding jacket
*hair net
*shirt
*gloves
*crop
*spurs
*choker with pin
*sweater or jacket Grooming stuff:
*hoof picks
*fly spray
*towels
*hole punch
*soft brushes
*hoof paint
*tail comb

Travel and Tack Checklist:
*saddle
*bridle with extra bit
*saddle pad
*halter
*lead roap
*masking tape
*polo raps (or boots)
*lunge line and whip
*hay net
*broom
*water/feed buckets
*first aid kit
*soap
*spong
*sweat scraper
*tack cleaning supplies
*step ladder Staying Overnight?
*saddle bridle racks
*hay (grain & scoop)
*hose
*chairs
*fan
*hammer
*screwdriver
*flashlight
*wood stapler and staples
*extension cords
*wheel barrows

Grooming Checklist:
*hoof picks
*fly spray
*towels
*hole punch
*soft brushes
*hoof paint
*tail comb

Overnight Checklist:
*saddle bridle racks
*hay (grain & scoop)
*hose
*chairs
*fan
*hammer
*screwdriver
*flashlight
*wood stapler and staples
*extension cords
*wheel barrows

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