Riders and horses that compete prepare through a training process that aids participation skills and showmanship. Horse competitions require the people participating to have a certain level of experience and knowledge. Due to this, horse trainers put an extensive amount of time and effort into having to train their hose, prepare their horse, and participate in horse shows and events.
The training aspect that goes into preparing a horse for showing can begin soon after a horse is born. The earliest a horse trainer could begin training a newborn horse is only after they have been weaned off of their mother for a few days. Once this has been accomplished, the horse trainer may begin putting the horse through the process of knowing what they need to know so they are able to take part in shows once they are ready enough. The horse is first put through learning the basics, being taught to understand when it must stop, to go when the rider clucks their tongue, and how to trot alongside them. With this training, the youngest a horse is allowed to begin participating in official events is at the age of 4 months.
After a horse has learned the basics, they are free to begin to learn other skills; however, a horse should only be taught one skill at a time to prevent overwhelming it from having to remember too many things. When training the horse new skills, it is best to keep in mind that horses learn best through reinforcement, which is the process of using rewards and punishment to help create a certain response or behavior. There are two ways of going about using reinforcement on a horse to get them to obey: positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement. Positive reinforcement is rewarding the horse with something they love or giving them attention. In contrast, negative reinforcement would be adding pressure and stopping said pressure immediately only upon the rider being obeyed by the horse. If the horse does not obey a command, making the pressure louder does not do any good, for instead the rider should keep the pressure it has on the horse until it becomes annoying enough to where they will stop what they are doing. The pressure given when training the horse when wishing for them to obey a certain command must be methodical and consistent so the horse will understand, otherwise the pressure will leave the horse anxious and unwilling to listen instead.
Just as the horse goes through training, the rider must also train themselves as well so they are prepared for handling and riding a horse and are aware of what they should and should not do. The rider should know the basics of how to correctly mount a horse and use the reins to control it combined with the use of their hands, legs, voice, and body position which they are usually taught by the instructor teaching them how to ride properly. A rider must learn that their voice is their most valuable source of communication with the horse, for their tone is what the horse pays...