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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug. 18, 2004
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    1,700

    Default Best way to handle horse who wants to run on way back home?

    Hi all,

    I've moved to a barn that has incredible trails, so I've decided to give my semi-retired boy a new job.

    He's a BTDT type when it comes to the show ring, and generally pretty level-headed, not spooky and on the lazy side.

    I've taken him out on VERY short trips alone, and he's been fine.

    However, when out on longer trips (with company), when we turn around for home he wants to gallop! Even if he's pretty high he will somewhat listen and stay at a (very extended) big trot, but that's not what I want and know it's not safe unless I ask for it.

    I've tried the lateral movements- guy is so athletic he can do them and not break his big trot. He WILL eventually stop if I keep a strong contact on his mouth but that's not good either.

    SO... should I dismount and walk him home? Stay in the saddle and turn him back away from home every time he speeds up without my asking for it until he figures it out? Or something else?

    I think he's going to be a fantastic trail horse given how brave he is and that he doesn't seem to care if he's in front or in back, but I need to fix this one issue!!



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr. 2, 2009
    Location
    North Carolina
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    5,623

    Default

    I have a horse like this. He's independent minded and very strong and can quite happily trot sideways for two hours. Or till your shoulders fall off. So we had a discussion about the fact that I get to pick the gaits, NOT HIM. When I say walk, we walk. If he breaks into trot, we halt IMMEDIATELY and go straight backwards. Hard and fast. He eventually decided that that was pretty obnoxious and conceded it was easier to cooperate. But I basically spent over an hour on the way home on the trail one day going stop-back-stop-back-stop-back. You have to stay calm. Don't get mad, be consistent and don't let him get away with even a couple trot steps.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    May. 21, 2011
    Posts
    1,431

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by wildlifer View Post
    So we had a discussion about the fact that I get to pick the gaits, NOT HIM. When I say walk, we walk. If he breaks into trot, we halt IMMEDIATELY and go straight backwards. Hard and fast.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr. 15, 2008
    Posts
    4,469

    Default

    whatever you do, DON'T dismount and walk him.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb. 6, 2003
    Location
    Deep South
    Posts
    15,523

    Default

    Ride a loop, so that you don't have to turn around, but keep going forward to arrive back at the barn.
    ... _. ._ .._. .._



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug. 25, 2007
    Posts
    11,261

    Default

    There's a few of things you can try.

    First, in the arena, teach a "submission" or "relaxation" command. My mare, who likes to hurry back home, will relax if I use a bit of "finger wiggle" on her snaffle bit. I normally ride her in contact. I can use either hand. If she's really "cranked" and won't pay attention going straight we'll do a couple of small circles. If I have room (i.e., the trail is not too narrow) we may also practice a few "arena" moves like sidpassing or turning on haunches or some shoulder in. This puts her back under my discipline. It's not always totally successful but works way more often than it doesn't.

    I don't like the "back 'em up" proceedure. A step or two as part of a "you're under my discpline" program is OK. IMO you don't teach a horse to go quietly forwards by going backwards. In unsuitable terrain it can be very dangerous. It does seem to work for some folks so I'm not going to get too excited about it, however.

    Second, don't ride to the barn and dismount. Rather, dismount some small distance from the barn and walk in. Pick a different spot each time. Don't dismount until the horse is calm (no matter what may have been happening just before the calm).

    Third, when you get back to the barn go into the arena, remount, and work for 15 more min. or so. Or just ride around the barnyard. Or work on the longe or in the round pen. Reduce the horse's memory of the barn as a place of rest.

    Older horses can take a lot longer with this than younger ones as they are more set in their ways. This form of "tincture of time" can be slow acting, indeed.

    Good luck with the horse.

    G.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug. 7, 2005
    Location
    Georgia
    Posts
    2,590

    Default

    The thing that has worked best for me is to ride home and then.... keep going. Ride by or around and wheeee another whole trail ride. You might get an argument when they realize that you actually are not home for the day so be ready for that.

    When they walk home nicely then you're done but any misbehaving about going home warrants another ride.
    You know why cowboys don't like Appaloosas?" - Answer: Because to train a horse, you have to be smarter than it is.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug. 27, 2010
    Posts
    216

    Default

    I like a small circle. My rule is to walk at least the last quarter-mile to the barn. The horse can walk as fast as it likes, since I love a fast walk, but there will be no jigging or trotting. If the horse breaks out of a walk, there's a quick hard circle to one side. I'd pull the head to my leg and kick to get the hindquarters around if needed- I want the horse to realize that I'm doing this as a reaction to his decision to break a walk. That being said, I don't do it with emotion or attitude, just "If you do X, I do Y."

    Quite soon the horse learns that he will get home faster walking than if he tries to trot, and I can ride home on a nice loose rein.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    May. 5, 2011
    Posts
    1,832

    Default

    When my Arab did the run for home thing, I turned around and went the other way. You want to run and get stupid? Okay, we'll just do it the opposite direction from home. Then we'd turn around and try walking home. If he proceeded calmly at whatever gait he was asked, we'd continue home. If not, we'd turn around and be stupid the other direction.

    He's long since figured out that its easier just to go calmly.

    We're in the process of working through this issue with the horse my friend just bought from us. He's started doing the bolt for home thing now (he'd never been ridden out from home - only trailered places and ridden and is completely fine in that scenario). Forcibly backing him up in this kind of situation just causes his front end to come up off the ground. I'm sure it will take a couple of months to fully work through it, but I've never had it fail in the long run.

    The rules are very simple: I pick the gait and the speed. If you would like to run and act stupid, you may do so in the other direction. If you are still keyed up when we get home, we will proceed right on into the arena and work your little hide off until you can calm down.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar. 6, 2009
    Posts
    9,459

    Default Lots of Good Advice Here `` GOOD LUCK

    Lots of good advice here ``

    GOOD LUCK ~~~~

    Let us know which method worked for you and your horse ...
    Zu Zu Bailey " IT"S A WONDERFUL LIFE !"



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr. 2, 2009
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
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    Default

    Candy, my friend did a similar thing with her Arab -- the smart ones catch on so much quicker, I was jealous!

    And yes, you definitely do not want to be backing up a horse who gets light on the front end, eek! If my solid Appendix QH EVER lightened his front end voluntarily (aside from jumping) I would have thrown a celebratory party, so backing (safely, obviously) was a pretty risk free endeavour for him.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov. 1, 2009
    Posts
    552

    Default

    Another good trick is to work the snot out of them when you get home! A few times of this and they start to realize home isn't so much fun. I used this when going the other way tactic failed on one horse.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan. 7, 2009
    Location
    Cincinnati, OH
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    Quote Originally Posted by pj View Post
    The thing that has worked best for me is to ride home and then.... keep going. Ride by or around and wheeee another whole trail ride. You might get an argument when they realize that you actually are not home for the day so be ready for that.

    When they walk home nicely then you're done but any misbehaving about going home warrants another ride.
    That's what I used to do with my TWH when was younger and went through a phase of wanting to rush home. We'd just continue riding past home, then go out on trail for another half hour or so.

    Or, we'd go straight into the arena and work. Then he'd go to the hitching rail and stand tied for 20-30 minutes (supervised, but without any direct interaction).

    He figured out pretty quick that going "home" did not mean going back to his stall, or his pasture, or his buddies, or his dinner. In fact, sometimes it meant having to do even more work than if he'd just walked along the trail like a level-headed horse.
    Please copy and paste this to your signature if you know someone, or have been affected by someone who needs a smack upside the head. Lets raise awareness.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug. 18, 2004
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    1,700

    Default

    Thanks all!! Some very good ideas here and I will definitely try them out. It may be a longer process, as this horse is only ridden a couple of times a week and I'm only comfortable taking him out on trails with a babysitter since it's new to him, but I will keep you all posted! Keep the ideas coming!



  15. #15
    Join Date
    May. 5, 2011
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    1,832

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by wildlifer View Post
    Candy, my friend did a similar thing with her Arab -- the smart ones catch on so much quicker, I was jealous!

    And yes, you definitely do not want to be backing up a horse who gets light on the front end, eek! If my solid Appendix QH EVER lightened his front end voluntarily (aside from jumping) I would have thrown a celebratory party, so backing (safely, obviously) was a pretty risk free endeavour for him.
    Yeah, Bert has a tendency to go UP if he gets frustrated. He's an off the track Appendix QH, so I don't know if it's a holdover from his racing days (he's got other issues too) or what, but that's his tendency. I actually had to get on him the other days. He kept saying, "FINE if I can't bolt for home, I'll just walk on my hind legs!" It was delightful.

    I kept giggling that my 6yo Arab (Bert is 12yo) was following along behind us on a loose rein looking very worried. "Hey dude, is bad idea to do this. They make you work very hard. Is easier to just walk. We get home much faster that way." Then we got home and my friend got back on him and worked the SNOT out of Bert in the arena while I just sat bareback on my guy. He just watched like, "See...I told you. Bad idea to fight them..."



  16. #16
    Join Date
    May. 4, 2003
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    16,666

    Default

    On my forward going TB I used half halts - thousands of them - but made sure I was very relaxed and calm when the idea of a calm walk entered her head, even before she executed. Perfect timing and reward. Eventually, she was able to stay in the walk along with other horses. At first it was just a few steps of walk before she jigged again, then a few more and so on. But she was not like the OP's who choses to run.



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug. 22, 2002
    Location
    Joppa, Md------USA
    Posts
    380

    Default

    I have a mare that suddenly started doing airs above the ground when coming home. Didn't matter whether going to the barn or the trailer. She would jump up and forward and then kick her heels straight back. Weird feeling to be riding that. I tried stopping her and doing circles. Stopping was a rest for her and circles, heck she could jump real high on those. Only thing that worked was turn around and go back on the trails. A few turn arounds and she was all business about being a gentle lady on the way home. Give yourself extra time if you try this method and let your riding partners know. A couple of trail rides is all it took. Once in awhile I will feel her bunching up and all I have to do is give her a half halt and she is fine.



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar. 4, 2011
    Location
    Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    26

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Lamb Chop View Post
    I like a small circle. My rule is to walk at least the last quarter-mile to the barn. The horse can walk as fast as it likes, since I love a fast walk, but there will be no jigging or trotting. If the horse breaks out of a walk, there's a quick hard circle to one side. I'd pull the head to my leg and kick to get the hindquarters around if needed- I want the horse to realize that I'm doing this as a reaction to his decision to break a walk. That being said, I don't do it with emotion or attitude, just "If you do X, I do Y."

    Quite soon the horse learns that he will get home faster walking than if he tries to trot, and I can ride home on a nice loose rein.
    This is what I did with my one horse. When I first got him he had a big issue with wanting to run home. The first session of this took an hour so to get that last 1/2 mile home LOL But after that it just took doing it a couple times for him to settle down, and after 3 or 4 rides he wasn't even trying to speed up anymore. He does walk pretty fast, but he walks on a loose rein home now I know this may not work for all horses but it worked great for mine.
    Play It By Heart (Player) ~ 1999 bay Arabian gelding
    Chall Struck WA (Little John) ~ 2005 chestnut Arabian gelding



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Oct. 14, 2004
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
    9,067

    Default Feed???

    I normally make my mare side pass if she decides to go faster than I ask for. It creates more work for her and she soon realizes it is less work to go at a normal pace. But, if your guy is that athletic??

    Circles - not crazy about if you have a guy who wants to go, go, go. I find it just hypes them up more.

    I would agree with the other poster who said to put him to work in the ring when you get back. Definitely don't reward him by bringing him right into the barn.

    Another thought - if he is semi-retired, have you changed his grain to be comparable to a horse that is not in training or competing?
    MnToBe Twinkle Star: "Twinkie"
    http://i236.photobucket.com/albums/f...wo/009_17A.jpg

    Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Aug. 18, 2004
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    1,700

    Default

    Hey- sorry been a bit MIA.

    Well, I've taken him out a couple more times and the change of direction for a bit seems to help. I also worked him in the ring after the last trail ride. I will keep you updated on how he does.

    Yes, his grain has been adjusted to his lighter work schedule. Overall he's a pretty mellow guy... can even be ridden only once a week and will consistently be the same horse. However, perhaps the combination of less work and being relatively new to trail riding is a little too exciting for him Anyway I'm confident with a little more exposure he'll be fine.



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