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View Full Version : HELP! How to control my hot thoroughbred????



Hunters_Kick_Butt
Nov. 13, 2010, 09:59 AM
So I have a 12 yr old Tb and he has a problem with speeding up down the long sides of the arena when cantering. He's fine on a circle, but as soon as I take him down the long side, he speeds up into a little gallop. I try half halting him but they don't seem to be very effective, and if I pull harder, he starts bouncing in the air.

Are there any tips to making half halts on hot horses more effective? Or other ways to keep my horse at a steady canter down the long sides of the arena??

fordtraktor
Nov. 13, 2010, 10:10 AM
With many hot horses of all breeds, including mine, you need to learn to learn to use less, not more pressure. Try using half as much of all your aids and see what happens. My two hot horses like an extremely light hand. I mostly control them with my leg and seat, but I use those judiciously as well. One in particular reacts very badly to heavy-handedness of any type. But ramp everything down, and he reacts twice as well to it.

Sometimes if you speak in a whisper they will listen to hear what you have to say. Don't sit up there are stop riding, just think about refining your aids to be precise and quiet as possible. It is worth trying for a few weeks to see what happens!

NCE
Nov. 13, 2010, 11:13 AM
Transitions. Lots and lots of them. Walk to trot. Walk to canter. Canter to walk. Canter to trot. You get the idea.

At each downward transition, sink into your saddle, take a nice feel and say "whoa." Release immediately when the horse stops. Nice slow pats on the neck and make him stay there for a few seconds. For some of the really antsy ones, I will also combine getting the halt with a cookie from my pocket, to reinforce that stopping is what I want them to do.

Make the upward transitions careful and precise with your aids and not jarring. Give the horse some time to settle into the gait before going back to "whoa." Use a verbal "whoa" every time you ask for halt.

Then do this about a hundred thousand times :-)

But, seriously, this will help. The horse has to understand that a pull on the reins means "come back to me" and "slow down." Until he understands a halt, he will not understand a half halt. When you can easily get upward and downward transitions, then try a half halt- just a slight squeeze of the reins and when he slows down at all, pat on the neck and release.

The horse has to learn that slowing down (or stopping in the case of the full halt) will be rewarded with a release of his mouth. The release is the reward. And, once they get it, be careful using the word "whoa" on accident- I had one slam to a halt in a line because he landed strong and I said a soft "whoa" on landing- only to find myself jolted into a complete standstill with the horse feeling quite proud of himself for doing exactly what I asked for. Oopsie!

Last but not least- be patient! This will not be accomplished in a day. Or even in a week. It takes lots and lots of time and consistency. In other words, don't get frustrated and get a bigger bit. Or become jarring with your aids. Stay calm and be patient, and you will get results.

Good luck!

simc24
Nov. 13, 2010, 11:19 AM
Sometimes if you speak in a whisper they will listen to hear what you have to say.

This is very good advice. If you don't mind, ford, I am going to borrow this as ammunition against my own horse!! :yes:

twotrudoc
Nov. 13, 2010, 11:22 AM
Transitions. Lots and lots of them. Walk to trot. Walk to canter. Canter to walk. Canter to trot. You get the idea.

At each downward transition, sink into your saddle, take a nice feel and say "whoa." Release immediately when the horse stops. Nice slow pats on the neck and make him stay there for a few seconds. For some of the really antsy ones, I will also combine getting the halt with a cookie from my pocket, to reinforce that stopping is what I want them to do.

Make the upward transitions careful and precise with your aids and not jarring. Give the horse some time to settle into the gait before going back to "whoa." Use a verbal "whoa" every time you ask for halt.

Then do this about a hundred thousand times :-)

But, seriously, this will help. The horse has to understand that a pull on the reins means "come back to me" and "slow down." Until he understands a halt, he will not understand a half halt. When you can easily get upward and downward transitions, then try a half halt- just a slight squeeze of the reins and when he slows down at all, pat on the neck and release.

The horse has to learn that slowing down (or stopping in the case of the full halt) will be rewarded with a release of his mouth. The release is the reward. And, once they get it, be careful using the word "whoa" on accident- I had one slam to a halt in a line because he landed strong and I said a soft "whoa" on landing- only to find myself jolted into a complete standstill with the horse feeling quite proud of himself for doing exactly what I asked for. Oopsie!

Last but not least- be patient! This will not be accomplished in a day. Or even in a week. It takes lots and lots of time and consistency. In other words, don't get frustrated and get a bigger bit. Or become jarring with your aids. Stay calm and be patient, and you will get results.

Good luck!

Good thoughts!!!:yes:

Thomas_1
Nov. 13, 2010, 11:37 AM
Get your seat back and deep in the saddle and slow down the pace by checking or blocking when the horse's shoulders are lifted.

Don't forget that racehorses are VERY good at leaning on the bit to take off if you have too much constant pressure with your hands.

fish
Nov. 13, 2010, 11:37 AM
I'd also like to suggest that you use what you already know to develop responsiveness to half halts: that he slows down on the circle: when he's nice on the circle (so you're not pulling), start down the long side. As soon as he starts to speed up, circle until he's back on light aids, then go straight again. After a while, you should find that all you have to do is pretend you're going to circle, he'll slow down in anticipation, and that'll be your half halt.

A lot of this has to do with the function circles/bending has in dressage-- gymnastic training which helps the horse carry the rider more easily by shifting more weight to the hind end. Especially at the canter, horses tend to go haunches in on the straight, losing their balance because of the crookedness. Well ridden circles encourage the horse to step under with the inside hind so both straightness and balance improve.

Which reminds: pulling (especially on an OTTB) is rarely a good idea-- it encourages the horse to pull back/lean on the bit, which puts him even more on the forehand and (as one of my favorite grooms put it) "running off with his self."

cyberbay
Nov. 13, 2010, 12:13 PM
Also, look into as much turnout and as little grain as possible. Grain, imo, can really affect a TB's energy level.

Are his teeth in good shape? And Racing TBs associate pulling (vs. tugs) with speeding up.

Second what fish noted: do a circle, start down the long side, and a moment before you think he's going to get bold again, just do another circle. Then come down the long side again.

EqTrainer
Nov. 13, 2010, 05:32 PM
Let go. I mean it... Let go. Drop your inside rein a million times if that is what it takes. When he has nothing to lean on and pull against, he will stop. This is of course assuming you have a functional outside rein, if you don't, find a trainer who can teach you how to do this.

RooMB4
Nov. 13, 2010, 08:45 PM
Also, look into as much turnout and as little grain as possible. Grain, imo, can really affect a TB's energy level.

Are his teeth in good shape? And Racing TBs associate pulling (vs. tugs) with speeding up.

Second what fish noted: do a circle, start down the long side, and a moment before you think he's going to get bold again, just do another circle. Then come down the long side again.

I agree with the grain/turn-out comment. I pretty much exclusively deal with TB's and especially those off the track. They amount of turn-out and especially grain can have a tremendous effect on their energy level.

I also second (or third) the comment about circling, starting down the long side and then circling again as you feel him tense, speed up, etc. Good or bad, he seems to be thinking too much for himself while you are riding and trying to anticipate what you are going to ask or just trying something different when he's bored with the current activity. By changing up where you are going, what speed, etc (lots of direction changes, transitions up and down, bending, etc) he will be forced to pay attention to YOU instead of guessing what you want or deciding for you!

billiebob
Nov. 13, 2010, 09:06 PM
You've gotten some really good ideas. What helps me when my OTTB is having "moments" is bringing my shoulders back, taking a LIGHT contact, and closing my leg gently. If I try to half-halt without adding leg he doesn't really respond. I need to stay quiet with my hands and let my shoulders do most of the work. Also second the suggestion about letting the inside rein go.

fish
Nov. 14, 2010, 07:39 AM
You've gotten some really good ideas. What helps me when my OTTB is having "moments" is bringing my shoulders back, taking a LIGHT contact, and closing my leg gently. If I try to half-halt without adding leg he doesn't really respond. I need to stay quiet with my hands and let my shoulders do most of the work. Also second the suggestion about letting the inside rein go.


Absolutely-- half halts are ridden with leg TO the hand-- esp. inside leg to outside hand. The "whoa" comes from stilling hand and seat (squaring the shoulders accomplishes a lot of both). Don't pull-- that puts you into a pulling contest with the horse which is inviting a losing battle -- or at least very sore hands and arms. If you are still, and drive the horse into your "plugged in" body, if the horse pulls, he's pulling against himself, not you, and will be much more likely to rebalance (half-halt). As Eq Trainer and Billiebob suggest, a properly ridden circle is one in which the rider can give the inside rein completely without losing the shape of the circle. This is especially important in the canter because a tight inside rein restricts the leading leg, which can adversely affect the horse's balance--both mentally and physically.