View Full Version : travelling behind the verticle

Mar. 28, 2011, 02:31 PM
My new OTTB is a very good boy, but he will sometimes travel behind the verticle. He goes round, but not always on contact. It's about 1/3 of the ride wanting to be above contact, 1/3 behind the verticle (not much contact) and 1/3 in a decent contact.
When he goes above the contact I simply lift my hands and he drops his head back down. It's not a high lift, he's senstive and kind and gets the point easily. When he goes behind the verticle my tendency is to give more rein and push him into more contact, which might be the opposite of what I need to do. Perhaps I should take more feel and push.
I don't know, he's so good and still really green and tries so hard that I don't want to mess with is Off The Track brain too much too quickly, but I also don't want him to continue this way of going and make it harder to untrain.

Mar. 28, 2011, 03:10 PM
You'll get opposing opinions on it. I basically was of the mindset to do what you are doing.

OTTBs very often want to curl behind the vertical. He has two problems - bit acceptance AND use of his body. My thought (and what worked with my horse) is to retrain the body while working on accepting a VERY LIGHT contact in circles/bends/etc. I treated BTV as a major crime which needed to be immediately corrected with a push forward, and did NOT hold my horse to start off with. He ended up less soft through his body than what you want as an ultimate goal, but the BTV was due to lack of acceptance and avoiding the bit - by not ever letting him do that but letting him be a little overstiff as far as rounding goes, he learned to accept the bit. He also learned the basics of how I wanted him to carry his body and to push from behind. Once he got that - it was easy to start asking him to round with half halts, and suppling more through lateral work. Now he may have the momentary lapse behind the vertical with his head, but since he's learned the basics of how to use his body it's easy to ask him for more energy from behind and he brings his nose back out, without me having to give extra with the reins, and it works whether on a straight line or 20 meter circle.

Mar. 28, 2011, 03:24 PM
don't give the contact away hoping they will stretch into it---I have the same problem (and that is my instinct too--I get yelled at about it all the time!). You have to give him a steady contact in order for him the learn how to accept a steady contact. That means to not "pull" on him...but to mantain the contact whether he attempts to go above or behind. When they drop behind...they are also often dropping behind your leg...so make sure you don't forget to ride the backend;)

The difference in my hot TB mare when I stay soft in my ellbows but follow and keep the contact consistent is so significant (from how inconnsistent she is when I'm always trying to get her to stetch into the contact by giving the contact away).

You want them stretching and long in their neck and working over their back...but you can not obtain that if they are not connected and consistent in the contact.

Mar. 28, 2011, 03:27 PM
Thank you Netg. That makes sense to me too. I will start to treat it as more of a serious offense as well so he gets the picture sooner.