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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr. 22, 2007
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    Default Horse with no brakes

    Hi everyone, I have posted before about my friend's horse with no brakes. This problem has been getting worse with the cold weather as he has been very up and hot, which results in bolts and tearing around the arena. First of all, I want to try a different bit. He oscillates between leaning on the bit and avoiding the contact. He was going very well before the weather got so very cold but has reverted to old contact problems. He doesn't respond to half halts via the seat when like this and forget about downward transitions or the halt! I hate using hand for transitions and halts but I admit that he won't respond to anything less than almost all my strength to get him to slow. His trainer was the one to suggest a new bit. Said his very hollow loose ring French link is too insubstantial and he's blowing me off. I need to regain some control. Any suggestions while we work our way back up?

    The other problem is he has no woah on the lunge as well as under saddle, so it's almost impossible to work on it so it translates to under saddle work. He knows what woah means-is great in hand without gear on but once the saddle of lunging gear goes on, he ignores it. He is definitely blowing me off, as this is a horse that knows woah but refuses to comply until he is ready. It takes sometimes a dozen or more tries on the lunge not just for woah, but downward transitions in general. I increase the pressure and all I get is ignoring some more. Same under saddle. All my strength, and nothing until he gruuuuuddgingly stops after a small fight. I am working with a trainer and she has the same issue. So please, new bit ideas to try along with suggestions how to get a one time ask and reply to downward transitions and woah? I do want to emphasize this is a horse that knows woah and how to slow or do downwards, so the issue is more how I can get him to stop blowing me off and for me to be effective. Thanks so so much!
    Last edited by OceansAway; Jan. 31, 2013 at 12:58 PM.



  2. #2
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    Wish I knew, but the journey is interesting
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    Default

    Feeding?


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  3. #3
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    Apr. 22, 2007
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    Default

    I am not certain but I can check. I know he gets lots of hay and hay stretcher but not much grain, even though he is a hard keeper. There have been no changes to hay or diet as far as I can tell.



  4. #4
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    Default

    Turnout?
    Smurf
    Penmerryl's Sophie RIDSH
    "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
    The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  5. #5
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    May. 16, 2008
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    Default

    I'm not sure this is going to be a popular response--this being a dressage forum where we strive for light aids and nuanced riding--but you simply need to yank him to a stop. You have to get nasty before this gets better. It's a safety issue and a respect issue--not a bit issue. Believe me, he WILL stop in a snaffle if you make it hurt a bit.

    I'm sure people will disagree with me, but just like you tap with a whip when your leg is ignored, you give a sharp pull and MAKE the horse stop when you're being ignored. It is dangerous and counterproductive to try to nuance this horse out of this--that hasn't worked--so you need to show him there are CONSEQUENCES when he ignores you.

    My young horse tried this a bit out in an open field when he was just learning to jump. My trainer made it clear that I must STOP him, even if its ugly, or the behavior would escalate. A few times of a "hard stop" and he learned to listen and respect my aids. Now we can gallop in open fields without issue.

    YOU are in control here. Don't worry about pretty for the time being.
    2007 Welsh Cob C X TB GG Eragon
    Our training journal.
    1989-2008 French TB Shamus Fancy
    I owned him for fifteen years, but he was his own horse.


    14 members found this post helpful.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul. 14, 2012
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    MA
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    Default

    Draw reins. Find a trainer who's gone through Holland (I can recommend one, if you're in the MA area) so you aren't hearing how Americans choke out their horses with them. I've been using them with my 5 yo and they are - quite frankly - amazing. The horse ends up fighting themselves when they want to be crazy, rather than you - and you don't make their mouth hard in the process.

    The thing with horses who want to run away, honestly, is that you have to keep them from getting the idea that a) they can, and they can win by doing it and b) grabbing the bit gets you out of work.

    Draw reins. Period.

    For the lunge issue, long lien with someone knowledgable. Or do some natural horsemanship work with him and teach him to respect body language a little more.

    The thing I've seen with a lot of dressage riders (and I'm working on getting my Bronze this summer, so I've ridden with a number of trainers, and worked on a lot of horses) is that they let the horse get away with not responding to the half halt because they don't want to "ride ugly". OK, well, you NEED to have a correct response to an aid, even if the riding isn't pretty when you do it, because then the horse learns the correct response to the aid. Suddenly, when the horse understands, you can ride far more equitation-pretty.
    The Rodeo Project - Tracking an Event Horse


    2 members found this post helpful.

  7. #7
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    Oct. 7, 2010
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    Default

    I'm sure people will disagree with me, but just like you tap with a whip when your leg is ignored, you give a sharp pull and MAKE the horse stop when you're being ignored. It is dangerous and counterproductive to try to nuance this horse out of this--that hasn't worked--so you need to show him there are CONSEQUENCES when he ignores you.
    No flames here, I agree completely.

    It is MUCH kinder, softer, easily understood by the horse when you let him know, OK, here is a lovely soft rein aid....and you are not allowed to ignore me. You have to make the 'not allowed to ignore me' BIG, unequivocal and something the horse reads as a consequence of ignoring you.

    An electric fence turns a horse around with just a thought...until the horse figures out the charger isn't plugged in. If the fence is ALWAYS plugged in (and THIS is real discipline, that you always, always have the same consequences for the same actions), it will always turn the horse, lightly.

    Nagging (doing a little, then if ignored a little more, and a little more, and more, until you finally reach the point where the horse decides to respond). Nagging specifically teaches the horse that he may ignore you as long as he can stand the pressure. And if you teach the horse that he may ignore you, you 're going to have all sorts of other delightful problems that stem from the horse believing that he is the one in charge. Because teaching him that he may ignore you IS teaching him that he is in charge.

    So I agree completely with Sister, you get the horse to RESPOND to the bit just the same way you get the horse to respond to your leg. With consistent, immediate and unequivocal consequences.



  8. #8
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    Default

    I agree with Sistertosorefoot. The emergency one rein stop is your friend here. If the horse knows what you are asking and is just blowing you off, it is because he can and because it gets the results he is looking for--i.e., off your training agenda and on to his agenda.

    Briefly, in the one rein stop you take one rein up short and pull it toward your knee HARD. If the horse is too strong for you then take your inside hand, reach over outside hand and grab the rein outside rein very close to the bit and pull back toward your knee HARD. The horse will stop because by "doubling him in half" you will upset his balance and he will be afraid to fall. It works kind of like those leash head collars on dogs that go around their face--the horse will follow his face. The one rein stop even works on horses that grab the bit in their teeth (ask me how I know.)

    Do the emergency one rein stop a few times and he will learn that you have control over his trick and he will stop pulling it. You would also be wise for a while to stay on a 20 meter circle or or other curving figures so that he cannot get up a head of steam.

    The only reason that I disagree with draw reins is that you may solve the bolting problem but you may create another one, ie., causing the horse to travel or curl behind the bit.

    Good luck.
    Last edited by Eclectic Horseman; Jan. 31, 2013 at 02:33 PM.
    "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" ~Friedrich Schiller


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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep. 21, 2009
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    Ohio
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    Default

    If the horse stops without tack on, and doesn't stop when tacked up (if I read correctly) - is their a gear problem causing pain? I have worked with LOTS of babies and green horses, and many spoiled horses. My checklist for troubleshooting: 1. Are they in pain? 2. Do they understand? 3. Are they being bad? I rarely get past questions 1 and 2, but sometimes you do.

    I would first trouble shoot all possible health-related causes for the behavior, but if that comes out clear, the horse either doesn't understand or is being bad. If you haven't made it clear that whoa means whoa, that's your fault, not the horse's, so I therefore don't consider it bad. From your post, sounds like you are trying to say whoa, but if the horse ignores that and never has to listen, you have reinforced that behavior. I do not like going nuclear on a horse, but if they are tuning out, you do have to escalate until they do what you expect. If the horse won't even stop on a lunge line, you start there. Running into a wall or whatever it takes to make horsie WHOA needs to be done. Then praise and don't be mad, ask again in a normal/soft manner, and only escalate the aid if horsie blows you off.

    I also found draw reins to be wonderful emergency brakes at times, particularly on spoiled horses. I never used them on green beans, because I never developed a lack of response in them (I luckily had lovely minded horses to bring along). When the horse is good, you don't need any contact on the draw reins and can use a soft bit for normal contact, but if the horse tries to ignore hands (used with seat/legs appropriately), then the draw reins prevent them from getting away with it. When the horse stops, big release and praise. There are times when horses can outrun the one rein stop, and I lift weights, so not like I'm a wimp. I find draw reins are better in those cases, but you have to release them after they do their job. If the horse isn't truly bolting, I find one rein stops helpful. I also like to disengage the hindquarters to stop a bolt. In that case, I use one leg to push the hind end over, and use one rein to curl the head back toward one side. It's ugly, not a proper dressage movement, but a correction. When the horse stops, the head is back by your knee, and you can pat horsie and say good job!

    I know you are doing dressage, but honestly, I'd also post this question in the Western forum. I have never sat on a Western-trained horse that didn't have a very well-installed WHOA button And they do use more serious bits, but they don't expect constant contact in their work. I do know they teach voice commands, so may have inputs into how to do so on the ground.
    Last edited by LilyandBaron; Jan. 31, 2013 at 02:23 PM. Reason: additional input



  10. #10
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    Nov. 17, 2001
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    Default

    So the horse wants to bolt and run regardless of being lunged or ridden, here is my suggestion:
    You(horse) want to bolt & run (lunging or ridden) then go forward and stay forward until I(the lunger or rider) say stop and go back the scheduled work, make him understand that this particular bully tactic -"Bad Habit" is going to being more work than getting out of work. Horse needs to respect the lunger or rider, which he clearly does not right now.

    As far as getting your Whoa or half -halts to work. When lunging, make all Whoa's be complete stops. Do Not allow horse to stop a face you, Stop in the direction he is working.
    When ridden, the Whoa's (Complete Halts) will be harsh until he understands the commands and then you can be more polite if his response in more polite and attentitive.
    For now you have to do more to get a more respect, later, less will be needed.



  11. #11
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    Jun. 14, 2002
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    525

    Default

    I'm just waiting for someone to suggest a double bridle & then I can really jerk the wheel! Slamming him in the face isn't going to correct your contact issues, nor is a stronger bit. I don't care if you're a body builder, you're not going to out muscle a 1200 lb horse. Have his teeth been checked? I agree with the above posters that asked about diet & turnout. You need to go back to basics - on the lunge. Make sure he has been out to pasture (had adequate romping space) before you start. Walk - halt, repeat. Walk - trot - walk, repeat. Uae the wall if you need to. Do not get on until the basics have been reaffirmed. Do not get on a horse without brakes - you're going to get hurt & your inability to whoa is reinforcing a bad habbit.


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  12. #12
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    Oct. 13, 2006
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    Hmmm

    I am riding one now that will bolt and yours does not sound like that so much as heavy work to get him to respond.

    My advice is to begin your HHalt work in lower gaits walk/trot and get your reactions there. Notice I did not say halt? Simple halt can work or it can make them worse if you are letting them drop onto the front. Walk to halt maybe if you can practice keeping them lighter and softer but still forward thinking.

    You need the forward to GET the nice halt so you have to use figures and small circles and HH to regain control before full stop. Building up your reactions before a downward transitions or halt is completely ignored is a must!

    Being soft and stretching the horse down is your friend. Then follow that by asking the horse lighter from the bit.

    Cavaletti and ground poles will also help get that control too
    ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~
    http://www.off-breed-dressage.blogspot.com/


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  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb. 23, 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcotton View Post
    So the horse wants to bolt and run regardless of being lunged or ridden, here is my suggestion:
    You(horse) want to bolt & run (lunging or ridden) then go forward and stay forward until I(the lunger or rider) say stop and go back the scheduled work, make him understand that this particular bully tactic -"Bad Habit" is going to being more work than getting out of work. Horse needs to respect the lunger or rider, which he clearly does not right now.

    As far as getting your Whoa or half -halts to work. When lunging, make all Whoa's be complete stops. Do Not allow horse to stop a face you, Stop in the direction he is working.
    When ridden, the Whoa's (Complete Halts) will be harsh until he understands the commands and then you can be more polite if his response in more polite and attentitive.
    For now you have to do more to get a more respect, later, less will be needed.
    LOL, I had twice typed out a version of this and deleted it. It works well but requires a safe area and a strong rider who is willing to ride the horse beyond the point where the horse really would like to stop
    Smurf
    Penmerryl's Sophie RIDSH
    "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
    The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.


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  14. #14
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    Nov. 1, 2010
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    VA
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    If your horse isn't responding on the lunge line, it is not his fault!

    It is up to you to give your horse aids or signals that he can understand and respond to. If you are giving aids to stop, and your horse is ignoring them, you are actively teaching him to keep going in response to those aids.

    What kind of "lunging gear" are you using? If you are using side reins, some horses just drop on their forehand and lean on them. It makes it hard for them to stop. I just use a halter and a chain over the nose and a whip. I have taught dozens of horses to lunge nicely without "gear."

    Why not have an experienced person teach this horse to lunge properly? That way you will have some kind of foundation to build on.

    Sorry, but to me it sounds like you are just teaching him to be dull to most any kind of aids.


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  15. #15
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    Jul. 14, 2003
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    You guys are harsh. The OP said that the horse is "bolting and tearing around the arena" and also said: "I do want to emphasize this is a horse that knows woah and how to slow or do downwards, so the issue is more how I can get him to stop blowing me off and for me to be effective."

    Based on what the OP has said, the horse is disobedient. The horse's other training problems aside, bolting is misbehavior like bucking or rearing. You would not advise the person to "train the horse to listen to the aids and not to buck." You'd tell the person to discipline the damn horse and do whatever it took to stop the behavior. Only then can you keep the horse on your agenda and training can continue.
    "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" ~Friedrich Schiller


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  16. #16
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    Oct. 11, 2007
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    One rein stop, pulley rein or whatever just might have kept a good friend of mine from getting hurt when her horse tossed her while bolting this morning.

    Not to mention a horse that's tearing around/bolting is a danger to every other horse and rider in the ring with it. Seriously, this is the 3rd time in the last 5 weeks that the mare and I have had to deal with a riderless bolting horse in the arena, and both of us would be perfectly happy to never have to deal with it again. (to be fair, one of these got away before the rider got on so it's not like much could have been done.

    I am no expert, but I'd treat this like a safety issue first. Possibly just on the longe for now...
    Last edited by quietann; Jan. 31, 2013 at 09:35 PM.
    You have to have experiences to gain experience.

    Proudly owned by Mythic Feronia, 1998 Morgan mare; G-dspeed Trump & Minnie; welcome 2014 Morgan filly MtnTop FlyWithMeJosephine



  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eclectic Horseman View Post
    You guys are harsh. The OP said that the horse is "bolting and tearing around the arena" and also said: "I do want to emphasize this is a horse that knows woah and how to slow or do downwards, so the issue is more how I can get him to stop blowing me off and for me to be effective."

    Based on what the OP has said, the horse is disobedient. The horse's other training problems aside, bolting is misbehavior like bucking or rearing. You would not advise the person to "train the horse to listen to the aids and not to buck." You'd tell the person to discipline the damn horse and do whatever it took to stop the behavior. Only then can you keep the horse on your agenda and training can continue.
    The OP said nothing about ruling out health issues first, so I would never say to "discipline the damn horse" until health issues, including tack fit, are ruled out. OP said the horse listens to whoa in warmer seasons, and before any tack is added - specifically noted saddle and lunging gear. So perhaps the saddle hurts a cold back? Maybe there's arthritis aggravated by the cold? And if the horse is running around like a ninny on the lunge, not stopping, then that becomes the training moment - you don't just ignore disobedience on the ground and get on for more disobedience. You MAKE the horse stop on the lunge - period, but only after you explore WHY the horse is having issues.

    I truly hope OP doesn't just assume horse is a jerk for no reason. I would suspect ulcers - my horse had seasonal ulcers - when the grass died in the fall and he switched to just hay, they'd flare up. Most horses don't just decide to act up for no reason in the winter - it's normally due to lack of turnout &/or pain in the cold weather.


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  18. #18
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    I'll stick my neck out and suggest a double bridle. I had this problem and my pony didn't have any kind of halt or half halt until I started schooling in a double bridle. Stop means stop and she really didn't care and a snaffle did nothing to make her care about stopping. I can ride her in a snaffle now but not everyday or she will backslide into her old ways.
    Dawn

    Patience and Consistency are Your Friends



  19. #19
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    This is first and foremost a safety issue. Putting that aside, you can't accomplish any kind of real work in dressage without a good whoa. If the horse understands whoa and refuses to listen, it should be disciplined-period, even if there are health concerns.

    There is simply no acceptable reason to blow off the rider like that. It can only lead to training issues and problems for the rider (and anyone else who happens to be nearby).

    Check out health concerns if you think it is necessary, but make certain that when you ask the horse to stop next time - he does it.
    See those flying monkeys? They work for me.


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  20. #20
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    If your horse has "no brakes" it's because they weren't installed back at the "factory."

    Put another way, your horse isn't broke to ride.

    So, what would you do to teach an unbroke horse to "whoa"? Do that with this horse.

    G.
    Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão


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