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Maintaining Your Halter Horse’s Peak – with Luke Castle

“When you say a halter horse is at his ‘peak,’ it means he’s 100 percent fit in his body and mind, in tune and at the top of his game,” says AQHA Professional Horseman Luke Castle of Wayne, Oklahoma. “It means peak performance in the way a horse looks and shows, physically and mentally.”

Maintaining that look is especially tricky when you have to get a horse through several big shows in a row, each requiring that peak performance. The Journal asked Luke for his advice on maintaining that peak. Here’s what he had to say.

When do you push a horse toward a peak?

When I’m peaking a horse out, the critical time for me is three weeks out from that big show. That’s when I put the last of the weight on him and harden him up at the same time. You have to keep after his neck to keep it thin, and you really want that hair coat to tighten up. When you go to really push him toward a show, you’ll see him make a move, so to speak, getting heavier and hard-looking.

And that’s with a horse that’s already in your program, getting worked and sweated and brushed. It’s not three weeks from when you bring him out of a pasture.

When you’re trying to peak a horse, it’s easier if you’re doing the same thing every day with him, so you can notice little changes in his routine. Every horse is an individual, and you have to pay attention. One might not be eating today, one’s not sweating like he should, one’s not growing the hoof he should – it’s always something little, and the little things you notice every day will come out in the end. If you’re a horse person, you’ll notice the changes.

With horses I’ve had for a year or so, I know the individual program each one needs to push toward the peak. With a new horse, you really have to pay attention to how he’s responding. They’re all different.

CLICK HERE to read the rest of the article from AQHA.