Futurity Foresight, Part 2

AQHA Professional Horseman Dave Dellin gives advice on prepping your 2-year-old for the fall futurities.

AQHA Professional Horseman Dave Dellin gives advice on prepping your 2-year-old for the fall futurities.

It is important that horse shows are positive experiences for a young horse. Journal photo.

Are you thinking your 2-year-old has what it takes to show at the futurities this fall?  Prep your prospect right with advice from AQHA Professional Horseman Dave Dellin of Purcell, Oklahoma. Dave has trained a lot of youngsters for big shows, including One Hot Krysum, who won the 2001 2-year-old western pleasure AQHA World Championship. This is the second in a two-part series; want to review Part 1?

Show Preparation
Dave familiarizes his horses with the futurity environment by taking them to shows where he is exhibiting other horses. Even though he’ll take the youngsters along to local shows, Dave isn’t afraid to take them to the big ones, either.

“I personally like to take these horses to long shows like the Arizona Sun Circuit, the Texas Classic or the Red Bud Spectacular,” Dave says. “That way, we are at a certain location for five or six days, maybe a little longer, and those horses are then able to get acclimated to being ridden away from home for a long period of time.”

Like Dave Dellin’s advice? Learn more from this AQHA Professional Horseman and world champion exhibitor, as well as National Snaffle Bit Association Executive Director Dianne Eppers in “Showing to Win: Western Pleasure.”  The DVD covers topics such as over-canting, taking gaits in a timely manner, passing and more.

By hauling to shows before competing, Dave ensures that his youngsters don’t have a bad experience the first time in the show arena.

“You really want the horse show to be a pleasant experience for the horse from Day 1,” Dave says. “With these young horses, from those first few outs and those first few times they actually show, you are setting in motion how that horse is going to view shows pretty much for the rest of his life. You want it to be positive.”

Readiness Evaluation
During the entire training process, Dave evaluates his 2-year-olds on whether they are ready for the futurities or should wait to start showing when they are 3 or 4 years old.

“There’s a lot of times, I’ll put 90 days on a horse, and if I don’t think he has the physical strength or maturity, I’ll turn him back out his entire 2-year-old year and start back on him again the following winter,” Dave says.

Roll It!

Meet the winner of the 2009 AQHA Ford Youth World Show 2-year old geldings.

“I personally really like horses that don’t necessarily get stagnant mentally. I want a horse that consistently wants to try to learn more and every day comes out and remembers what you’ve worked on the day before. They want to please you and go on to the next thing. Those are the horses that most often make it to the futurities.”

It’s when Dave faces road blocks with a youngster that he begins to think the horse might not be a futurity contender.

“If he’s having a hard time following the program, then a lot of times, I’ll back off the horse because mentally he is not mature enough to really handle it,” he says.

How a horse handles the show environment also determines whether he can make it at the futurity. Usually, a horse may be overwhelmed the first day but has calmed down by the second. However, if he has been at shows and still can’t focus on his job, he doesn’t yet have the mental maturity for futurities.

Be Realistic
Dave always explains to his clients that training for a futurity is a process that might work and might not. And if a horse isn’t ready to show, he also makes it a point to explain what happened.

The “Showing to Win: Western Pleasure” DVD illustrates the standards and provides you with the information you need to be successful in the western pleasure class. Using unique dual-screen and slow-motion technology, “Showing to Win: Western Pleasure” defines what judges are looking for in the western pleasure horse by showing correct and incorrect performances side-by-side.

“I’m very, very open with my owners, and I basically tell them what happened, whether the horse went through a growth spurt or he became resistant or whatever caused it,” Dave says. “I just try to explain the best I can and give my owners a good course of action for the future. It might be that we need to wait or that the horse needs a new event.”

It all comes down to the well-being of the horse. Train for the fall futurities, but don’t train for a futurity horse – train for a show horse who will be happy, sound and sane. Keep in mind the longevity of the horse’s show career and let your youngster tell you when he’s ready.

2 thoughts on “Futurity Foresight, Part 2”

  1. I SENT MY 2YEAR OLD FILLY TO A COLLEGE THAT HAD COLT BREAKING. SHE STARTED PINNING HER EARS AND GETTING BAD HER LAST 2WKS OUT THERE. THEY WHERE RIDING HER CHANGING GAITS BACKING AND STEPPING OVER ALL WILL WELL THEN SHE GOT CRANKY. SHE IS HOME NOW HER EAR PINNING AT ME WAS HOG WASH SO WE GOT PAST THAT WAS THAT A SIGN SHE WAS NOT READY OR A SIGN OF BOREDOME. AT HOME SHE IS OUT EVERYDAY THERE BSHE WENT FROM STALL TO ARENA AND BACK. HER MOM IS FOUNDATION BRED AND JESSIE’S FANCY CHIP IS HER DAD.

  2. probably more a sign of a student who wasn’t the “boss” of your fillys hypothetical “herd” …if the trainer you had working with your horse was not very assertive (and many kids in equine college programs are very “beginner” when it comes to training)and when your horse pinned its ears or showed an attitude it was allowed to get its way because the trainer didnt assert themselves as the “boss” the bad habit is then being reinforced in the horses way of seeing things (basically it gets the idea that “if I act nasty and grumpy this kid won’t make me go over that tarp or take the correct lead”), whereas if it is pushed to do the correct thing anyway the problem probably would never have developed. you say your filly quit doing it when you asserted yourself or made her do what you wanted anyway…just make sure there are no underlying lamesness issues causing the unhappiness in your filly. Think of a herd of mares in the pasture…the “boss mare” pins her ears at the more submissive mares and they get the heck outta her way and do exactly what she wants…when you pin your ears back at her in response to her grumpiness and act assertive with your filly you are establishing yourself as the leader of her “herd”.

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