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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct. 14, 2012
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    171

    Default OTTB Won't Trot

    So some back ground. He's been let down, and ready for work (vet checked and all okay). Last week we did round pen work, joining up, standing in middle to be tacked, touched everywhere, you know the drill.

    I got on him and just walked him everywhere, life was good got off. Yesterday and today I started with a really long walk then decided to start a trot and nothing. He walks, halts or canters (not even gallop a canter) but I just can't seem to get him to trot. I did get it today for about 4-5 strides for which I rewarded him greatly.

    He trots fine in the round pen or lunging, vet says no back issues and saddle fits fine. So I don't think we are talking a soreness issue. He just doesn't seem to understand why anyone would ask him to trot while on his back.

    I know we'll get there eventually, but just wondering if anyone else has had a track horse who just doesn't want to trot under saddle and what besides keep trying, did you do?

    Thanks in advance.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov. 12, 2001
    Location
    Dry Ridge, KY USA
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    Default

    Do you use voice commands when lunging in the round pen? If not, then start doing it. When he understands, "Trot up", then use your voice commands while you are riding him. Use them in conjunction with your leg aides, so that he learns to associate them.

    Good luck with him!
    When in Doubt, let your horse do the Thinking!


    2 members found this post helpful.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct. 14, 2012
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    Default

    Yes, I use all my voice commands in the round pen, sorry meant to put that in the beginning.



  4. #4
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    Jul. 22, 2008
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    Default

    Ulcers maybe? Also might want to get the chiro out.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec. 22, 2011
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    247

    Default

    Since he trots on the lunge, you could try having someone lunge him with you on him and see if that helps make things click for him.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun. 22, 2001
    Location
    Coatesville, Pa.
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    Default

    Ok so a few questions come to mind:

    1.) when he is lunged does he have his saddle one?

    2.) When you're asking him to trot where are your hands?

    3.) What equipment is he currently wearing for tack etc?

    4.) Are you asking for the trot in a ring, pen or field? (I couldn't quite tell from your description)

    5.) How old is he? How long since he ran? How long did he run?

    The answers to these will lead me on a better path to give some advice.

    Emily
    "Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all." ~2001 The Princess Diaries



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct. 14, 2012
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    171

    Default

    1) he has lunged and been in round pen both with and without saddle. No side reins or anything like that.

    2) I have not been taking hold of his mouth (though I know that's how they are typically run) but I've tried him with both a stronger and no contact. My hands are typically in a "normal" position, though I did try and raise them up and put them in his neck today (with no change in his response).

    He's happy to canter and even gallop, moving out freely and coming back. I thought that if I could catch him while we were coming down in the transition, he'd get it better, but man he's quick to walk and I could never catch the timing right, he'd just canter to walk with no trot steps.

    3) We have a Toulouse close contact with my stirrups in jumping position, so not super low but not really short. A regular hunter bridle with a double jointed (http://www.doversaddlery.com/st%C3%B...t/p/X1-010432/) that bit to be exact. No martingale or anything else.

    4) asking in large (100x200) indoor arena which he's used to lunging and free lunging in. Haven't asked for it in the round pen while on him.

    5) He's 6 (birthday last week!). He last raced Dec. 22nd. You can see his record here (http://www.equibase.com/profiles/Res...034&registry=T) he had quite a while off in 2012 as he was claimed in February and the new trainer have him from June to November off.

    Hope that's helpful. I do get we're just beginning. He isn't my first OTTB, I've just never had one that had an issue with the trot. They typically do trot on the track, or at least jog, so it surprised me with how confused he obviously is.

    Someone else suggested it was because he wasn't used to leg. But he responds well to leg for the canter, so he seems to at least mildly understand that leg means move forward, just there are 2 gaits in his mind, walk and canter/gallop.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul. 22, 2008
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    1,369

    Default

    I would still rule out something physical first. My just turned 4-year-old trotted but didn't want to canter until we treated him for ulcers. I've also got to say I haven't had much luck with general practice vets picking up subtle lameness/soreness issues.

    You could try to turn him out for a couple of months (since it hasn't been that long since he last raced) or have an orthopedic vet and/or really good chiropractor take a look at him. That's a pretty big break between June and November, especially for a horse who has just been claimed.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan. 19, 2005
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    PA
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    A friend I was helping had one like that but she was a lot hotter than you horse sounds.

    I suspect you are maybe trying too hard. I would keep asking and correct him right away. If he walks coming out of the canter quickly, kick. If he canters when you ask for the trot...bring him back right away. It might be a little ugly...but you need to get the trot before you can work on relaxation.

    With the mare...I just kept posting in the rhythm I wanted her to take...it wasn't easy or pretty but I wanted it slightly uncomfortable for her unless she trotted.
    ** The difference between genius and stupidity is genius has its limits. -- Albert Einstein **



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun. 22, 2001
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    Coatesville, Pa.
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    Ok so all that is helpful.

    I would suggest adding a martingale, but not for the standing or running to be in use, but rather to give your hands a place to hold with the reins, to then stabilize your hands down on his neck where he is used to them being.

    I wouldn't say that he should be "completely" let down in only a month.

    If it were me, I would stand up in the irons at the walk with my hands on his neck in a bridge. I would ask for a faster walk at points with the idea to hop to get a jig for a moment. But moreover he must get the idea that you set the speed and he obeys.

    If he pops to canter.... well then you go on. When you want he must give a downward transition. This is the norm for him. So if he walks, great. If he trots, keep trotting. I would keep doing a LOT of transitions. Teach/remind him you must be the one setting the goals.

    I would honestly think the round pen would be a bit better especially if you work him on the lunge first.

    But get off his back and stay off it. Use your hands to steady your balance and a low contact.

    Emily
    "Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all." ~2001 The Princess Diaries


    1 members found this post helpful.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct. 14, 2012
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    171

    Default

    That's good advice. Would a breastplate work instead? We did a lot of walk, canter, gallop walk and back and forth today in hopes that we'd catch a trot. But nothing.

    My vet knows him from the track, and we talked quite a while about what would be best and my vet felt, that for that specific horse he shouldn't be completely let down for months as he's in good physical shape had much of the year off, and hasn't had any known soundness issues, it'd be best to get him into work.

    Oh and he's the opposite of hot. He's the most laid back, whatever sort of horse.

    Here he is at his trainer's before coming to me.

    https://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphot...41468521_n.jpg


    I'm lucky in that I know much of this horse's history.



  12. #12
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    Jun. 22, 2001
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    Coatesville, Pa.
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    Breastplate holds the saddle on, but puts hands in a bad spot. We want the neck loop to help your hands get in the right position. An old stirrup leather taped with duct or electrical tape would work also.

    See I didn't envision him as 'hot' but my comment about not being fully let down wasn't clear. I meant that he may still be working with you and trying to duplicate what was "normal" when he was at the track. While he had breaks, he is still used to what he's done for the last number of years.

    FWIW I don't let them down. I change the program and go on with an OTTB when they're newly off the track. Now I don't work them 6 days a week, but I stick close to the normal duration of the workload they've had, so no more than 25 minutes. This is another key point. This time limit is why I pack a lot of transitions into my rides. Because I am going to gradually increase the workload duration, but the key to sport horses is transitions.

    You need to enjoy this horse as much as any horse, but change his gear box now to include all 3 gears and lengthened and pseudo-collected gears of each gait. This will help you tons. BUT only if your body (especially shoulders) stay true and up and you don't lean at him to go or pull on his mollars to stop.

    That's not how we ride at the track, so don't carry that on at your home.

    Emily
    "Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all." ~2001 The Princess Diaries



  13. #13
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    Oct. 14, 2012
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    171

    Default

    Ok, so my work load and yours seem to coincide. I work up to longer work outs but start short. Once i know I can stop them (with my seat not pulling on their molars as you say) I usually make at least one of our rides a week out on the trails going up and down hills. He's not there yet.

    How long do you stay off their back. My current OTTB, wasn't on the track for nearly as long (only 6 months before she flunked out) and we've had plenty of other issues, but this wasn't one of them and posting or sitting on her back was never an issue.



  14. #14
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    Jun. 22, 2001
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    Coatesville, Pa.
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    I stay up as long as I need. Since I galloped for years its not hard for me. So I sometimes forget it is for the rest of the world. If your legs won't hold, sit at the walk and in the canter like about half of the time. Stay off their back for a bit while doing basic stuff.

    See this video as an example..

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8cOt4akmi1k

    ~Emily
    "Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all." ~2001 The Princess Diaries



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun. 22, 2001
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    Coatesville, Pa.
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    I stay up as long as I need. Since I galloped for years its not hard for me. So I sometimes forget it is for the rest of the world. If your legs won't hold, sit at the walk and in the canter like about half of the time. Stay off their back for a bit while doing basic stuff.

    See this video as an example..

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8cOt4akmi1k

    ~Emily
    "Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all." ~2001 The Princess Diaries



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul. 2, 2003
    Location
    Woodland, Ca
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    They trot them on the track to warm them up... so he knows how to trot under saddle. He'll do it. Just keep trying.



  17. #17
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    Nov. 30, 2009
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    836

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    Walk caveletti, then trot caveletti on the lunge line. Raised a little is best. Get him trained to correctly trot over the caveletti on the lunge, then introduce them under saddle. (work up to five to seven...enough that he really has to figure the spacing out). I have successfully persuaded several gaited horses to trot nicely this way. I bet it would work with your guy too. Just get the spacing right for his stride length.



  18. #18
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    Sep. 24, 2006
    Location
    Virginia
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    I haven't seen this suggested yet, its worth a try I guess.
    Racehorses are used to being ponied, do you have anyone at the barn that will "pony" him around with you on his back and try doing this at the trot?



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul. 31, 2007
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    15,305

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    Man, y'all are thinking the snot out of this.

    The simple answers are correct, IMO.

    He HAS trotted in tack on the track, somewhere some time.

    Just ask him for the trot and don't accept anything else. Praise and cruise when you have one.

    How to get that? I might try just nagging him with my legs at the walk until he had to do "something" but cantering seemed like too much work.

    Or if you get the canter, bring him back to the trot and pick a strong posting rhythm.

    Otherwise, I just can't quite picture the problem. Are you saying he'd rather shorten up and canter slowly than trot while going that speed?
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat



  20. #20
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    Jun. 23, 2006
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    Stoystown, PA
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    He may be foot sore...

    Is he shod? How do his feet look? Boy will happily canter around but does not like to trot when he's foot sore.
    Boyle Heights Kid 1998 OTTB Dark Bay Gelding
    Tinner's Way x Sculpture by Hail to Reason
    "Once you go off track, you never go back!"



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