View Full Version : Ideas for a horse that rushes with a kid

Jan. 8, 2012, 09:43 AM
I've got some ideas but wanted to search out other options too. I have this kid (14) who is a good little rider and she is riding this QH gelding that has been doing novice for a while now. He has always been a very brave and game horse and is brave XC. I can ride him XC no problems and his rhythm is great for me. Previous rider - same deal - never a XC fault.
This girl is now starting to have problems with him wanting to take over I'm front of the fences and getting strong with her. He was in a snaffle for flat and a dr. Bristol for jumping before. She was having problems getting her half halts thru to him in that bit (she is smaller than previous rider or myself) so we tried a couple of different bits and ended up with a snaffle Pelham, using a converter for the reins so she still only had one rein and the curb chain fairly loose and that worked great for a while (almost a year now) she was doing BN and recently moved up to novice on him.
But now things are starting to get rushed again and the Pelham is no longer working as he (the horse) has learned to just curl behind it and then he still gets quick only now he is curled too and I'm worried he doesn't 'see' the fence well enough. Tried going back to dr Bristol and she just isn't strong enough for it to make a difference.

Going back to grids this weekend and working on slowing him down and working on her position. Any thoughts on what you would put in him?
When I ride him he wants to get quick but I'm a little stronger than her and I am quicker about changing his pace before he gets too quick and strong.

Jan. 8, 2012, 10:06 AM
I would put him (and the rider) in training so that she develops an effective means of halting him. Any time, anywhere, with aids delivered with the weight and the seat as well as the hands.

If that means cantering a jump and halting six strides later for four months, so be it. That's what my trainer did with her young TB who is now moving up to Intermediate. :) Horse no longer pulls an ounce and is ridden in a fat snaffle at Prelim, where he was pulling her around Novice courses as a green bean. :lol:

If the horse is just blowing through the rider's aids, a stronger bit is PART of the solution, but sort of a one-way street. What will you do when the strongest bit no longer works?

If the aids are really and truly installed and being ignored, that's one thing. But if the aids are lacking in installation and not really working all that well, I'd fix that first.

Posting Trot
Jan. 8, 2012, 10:39 AM
I'd definitely also look at the rider in this equation. She may be riding too much with her hands and not enough with her body/core/seat. A horse that only runs through one particular rider's commands is indicating a problem with the rider and not with the horse.

Jan. 8, 2012, 10:58 AM
Oh yes stopping two strides after the jump. My TB wasn't getting it, so trainer put the jump close to the wall. He didn't listen to the stop and hit his face against the wall ( well, his nose and not hard). He really stopped on a dime the next time over. My guy was/ is never too aware of where his body is in space.

Jan. 8, 2012, 11:22 AM
Have you checked very closely that this horse is not having any pain issues? Sounds like the horse has been doing eventing for a few years now and it would not be unusual for him to be experiencing old age pains which can easily lead to wanting to run away in a horse.

Jan. 8, 2012, 11:26 AM
The horse will do try this with other riders as well. She is notthe only one he does this with, it is something that has to be managed on this horse. But she has the hardest time with him. She is also the smallest rider of the ones who had ridden him.
I plan on working more on her seat and position as I think she is relying too much on her hands but I'm open to hearing other ideas too.
I will be schooling the horse some myself as well.

Jan. 8, 2012, 11:27 AM
Yes. Have check horse out. He is not in pain. He is 10, so still fairly young and has never been competed hard.

Jan. 8, 2012, 12:26 PM
What does he do in front of a jump when you ask him to half halt? What does he do out galloping in the open if you ask him to put his hocks underneath him?

Jan. 8, 2012, 12:34 PM
go back to the basics with the horse and kid. Single cross rails with straightline stops. Alot of event horses start anticipating the fences and develoup a rushing problem. Our entire program is always set up so I ask my riders for a straightline stop following each line, the horses then start to anticipate the halt . . .which means when you do jump the course as an entire course and not do the stops the horses come back to the rider easily after the last jump and put themselves more togeather which inturns makes their leadchanges after a diagonal easier and makes them more manuverable to the next line.

crossrails with straightline stops until no longer rushing, then up the fences as needed.

Go Fish
Jan. 8, 2012, 12:34 PM
I'm not an eventer, so take this with a grain of salt, but I had a horse do this when I frequently rode him to bad distances. He got what I would call "resentful" and took over, I guess, thinking he could do a better job himself...and I would assume, to ensure his self-preservation. I just had to learn to be a better rider, but that's a whole other story. :lol:

pony grandma
Jan. 8, 2012, 12:50 PM
How goes the regular flatwork? The transitions between and in the gaits?

Mentally start using more of a huntery schooling approach, ie quieter more disciplined behavior vs letting a horse 'hook onto' the fence and spurt at it. Linda Allen uses the exercise of trotting into a 4-5 stride combo, then circling between the fences to teach a horse to rate. also good for teaching a rider how to correctly balance a horse into their fences. Agree with the thoughts to ride a straight line and stop, maybe add a back up, break down into a trot and circle, etc. Use the variety.

At the HTs I usually see way too many riders just racing around unbalanced (sometimes strungout flinging themselves at the fences, dangerous riding, it is not pretty!). The rails go flying and so do the riders. The time allowed is generous enough to allow a slower more careful ride at the entry levels. More riders should practice riding some hunter rounds. Always practice precision before adding speed to any event.

You can also use trot poles to slow the horse in front of the fence, teach the rider to sit back and slow down also. Rider slowing their rhythm and staying firmly planted in their lower leg over the poles keeping their shoulders back.

There's my toss into the ring for you :winkgrin:

Jan. 8, 2012, 04:59 PM
I'd definitely also look at the rider in this equation. She may be riding too much with her hands and not enough with her body/core/seat. A horse that only runs through one particular rider's commands is indicating a problem with the rider and not with the horse.
Yep. In cross-country, it isn't enough to be able to jump everything. :)

Jan. 9, 2012, 07:17 AM
I'd be checking his front feet and hocks. Navicular horses fear the landing and often show that by rushing. Hocky horses fear the take off and often show that by rushing. QHs are famous for navicular changes, often when they hit double digits in age.

Then I'd be teaching kid and horse how to STOP. Then I'd put them on a 20-30M canter circle with poles on the ground at 12, 3, 6 and 9. (start with 1 pole at the trot, work up to 4). The fact that this is a new behavior raises a red health flag for me.

Jan. 9, 2012, 08:59 AM
Are you using a jointed pelham? You said he will evade the bit by curling behind it. My mare did this. I now have her in a happy mouth straight pelham with a port.

If it is jointed or broken, the center when you pull back hits the roof of the mouth. A horse would rather not breathe than be in pain from the bit so since the rider rides more with her hands, you might want to test out different bits.

Jan. 9, 2012, 12:53 PM
So, I may get flamed for this, but, whatever.

I've dealt with some kids on cheeky, strong ponies, and also small kids on big horses. I've had it go both ways for me (mounts either perfect or not perfect for me). The one thing I find, time and time again is that the horse MUST respect the kid and the kid MUST be willing, ready, and able to be a little "mean" or get a little "mad."

Riding correctly and quietly is all well and good if the horse listens and respects you. AND, I think it is great and right to teach kids how to properly use their aids and ride quietly and correctly. BUT, when riding quietly and correctly still has them getting yanked around and their horse is blowing them off, then it is time to teach the kid how to "re-install" their half halts.

If the kid asks nicely once, and the horse blows them off, the kid needs to be taught how to "rip them a new set of molars" and wake that horse up! It's harsh, and it sucks, but little kids on strong horses makes for scared little kids that don't want to ride. Teach the kid that it is ok to stick your feet forward, sit back, and rattle the hell out of their teeth (preferably to a halt and rein back). Then, proceed, as if nothing has happened. Most horses learn, even with little kids up, that they better listen the FIRST time they are nicely asked to whoa. The trick is that the kid needs to be well aware that this is a response ONLY to being ignored, not the first thing they pull out. And they also have to learn that they must do it, get the desired result (a halt), then go about happy, and cheery, and as if nothing happened and the horse responded to the first, proper half halt.

I've helped a couple of different kids on strong ponies (and one with a bolt when his less brave kid was up...he's a brat!) and it has worked with pretty good consistency. I had Vernon's little charge do this to him in one of her first rides on him. He wasn't being bad...he just couldn't feel this little flea up on his back. Doing it once when he had ignored her, fine tuned him to her and not ME or her big sister.

Obviously, the horse needs to be sound and happy and a good soul and the kid needs to have good basics (sounds like it). Also, making sure that they stick with the motion can make a big difference (one of my strong ponies, I learned, rushed because his kid had a great defensive seat and was always a little behind the motion. He was a sensitive little bugger and took a dislike to it happening constantly. When I got the kid to just relax a little bit more, the pony rushed less...he still rushed some, though...he was a goey little thing!). BUT, I do think kids reach a point where they need to learn how to SCHOOL a horse and not just ride it. Especially for one that tends to take advantage of the littler rider, the rider needs to be given tools to fix it THEMSELVES. At this point, it sounds like this kid is probably ready for that task.

Jan. 9, 2012, 01:34 PM
clapclapclapclapclap YB! :)

A friend of my sister's was visiting over Christmas and wanted to ride . . . she'd done some, not much, and Bonnie was elected. Now Bonnie is a GOOD egg and pretty much anyone can ride her, but she is not above setting off at a spunky little canter when given the least little bit of a vote on pace. :D Off she went in canter with my sister's friend, who gamely sat up and smiled.

Well, Bonnie knows her voice aids and WHOAED DAMMIT when I said WOAH DAMMIT, but the moral of the story was the rider was then instructed to take up a small trot, HALT THE MARE, and that was the end of the shenanigans. Even a well-broke, lazy critter wants to know for sure if the person on top is going to be calling the shots, or not.

There is a lot of ancient wisdom in the old saying "show 'em who's boss". :)

Jan. 10, 2012, 06:19 AM
Thank you everyone who responded. Yes, we have and I will continue to stay on top of the horse's soundness. He is a QH but lucky for us not the teacup feet shaped type! Lol
He has been check and flex tests and hoof tests redone last week showed no signs of pain or soreness.
I repeat this is not a totally new thing for this horse. It just was always easier for a little taller rider to manage.
I do plan on putting lots of trot-jump-halts in their work.

Jconners-yes it is a single jointed snaffle mouth piece Pelham. I may try out a Mullen mouth or one with a port. The kid does not have bad hands and she is not catching him in the mouth on the air. But it's taking way too long for her to pull up on the other side and not enough change when she half halts

YB - I think you maybe on the right track and I thank you for your honest option. I got on the horse yesterday and he tried the same trick with me amd it took me 6-8 jumps to get a good straight halt after trying to trot an X. He kept wanting to canter in the last couple of steps and def wanted to run thru my half halts.
I do believe the kid needs to be better (but don't we all keep improving with time) but I am starting to believe this horse has learned that this smaller quiet kid doesn't have the same strength and quick response to his over eagerness to jump and gallop.
Lots of simple things in their future til both horse and rider are better. Patience is always better than a quick fix.

Thanks everyone!

Jan. 10, 2012, 09:18 AM
I might also suggest halting BEFORE the jump, waiting for him to relax in the halt, then telling him GO & jump the fence. If he lands and moves off softly, let him continue to go forward. If he even thinks about grabbing the bit and running, get him into a halt immediately.

Agree with YB that he really needs it YELLED at him, and it will probably only take one time before he starts to get it.

Also ditto the pelham with a port or mullen mouth.

pony grandma
Jan. 10, 2012, 09:49 AM
I worked with a kid that was small and fine framed. She was like picking up an empty pop can she was so light. I taught her how to do a one rein stop, pulling her shoulder back, and learning the feel of how it draws her weight down into her seat, so that the horse can not pull the rein from her. It anchored her seat, her core and taught her WHERE her leverage was, how to use her shoulders and create some weight in her seat. Noteably she stopped bouncing up out of the saddle at the canter also!

It woke the horse up to the fact that she could demand respect. And she, the young rider, learned that she could have control. It helped teach her the attitude that is necessary to convince such a large animal. We all know how important posturing is. Any horse that needs a bit of a wake-up I'm here in the saddle message - a couple of swift rein turns until they stop their feet, with a quick release/relaxation of the rein, will convince them. And it can quickly be incorporated as a less forceful suppling exercise in the warm-up. A good lesson with young or timid riders.