Last year I bought the gelding Edison e. Edward/Weltmeyer. He is 6 this year and has never been competed. Normally the youngsters learn how to “compete” during youngster championates or licensing-competitions when they’re 2,3 or 4 years old and get a lot of routine from these smaller competitions. Some horses like Edison just haven't been for any competitions for several reasons, and therefor they’re in lack of routine when joining competition-life when being a bit older.
It is not necessarily a bad thing to keep the youngsters at home till they’ll a bit older, because then they won’t be congested in a early age. But on the other hand it is very healthy to join the smaller competitions when they’re young, because they’ll get used to all the fuss when being at a competition ground.
I have tried to have both types of horses; the ones that have experienced a lot in an early age, and then the other ones which haven't tried anything when turning 6 or 7 years.
The young horses which have tried a lot are often a bit ahead when it comes to behavior on the competition ground. But it requires that the experiences they’ve had, have been good and that they have felt safe during the competition. If they haven't been ready to cope with the mental pressure it can definitely also damage them - they will be stressed when competing and don't feel safe when entering the arena. The first experiences they have “out of town” is so important for their future.
As I said before, Edison hasn't been competed ever before, and therefore I’ve been thinking about how I could introduce him to this whole competition-world in the best way. In the very end of last year I brought him with Chantal Skovvang to a national competition. This way he could train in a big arena, feel the atmosphere on the competition ground and learn to be transported. He was actually very cool and I think he felt safe, because of Chantal’s company. They know each other very well from home and he often seeks to Chantal’s side if he gets insecure. Therefore she was the perfect school-master for Edison when it comes to behavior during a competition.
Since this little trip we have been training towards our first competition, and now I’ve signed him up for his first show next week. We are only doing L-level simply to give him a good experience, and furthermore I’ve picked a competition very close to where we live, so that the transport-time will be minimized.
To prepare him for competition we will ride the test the next couple of days, so that he knows the routine and feels safe and secure in the combinations of exercises. I am looking so much forward to bring this little star with me to our first competition, and really hope that he will get a good experience.