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Controlling Speed

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  • skydy
    An addendum: I don't see a runaway with his head in your face in the photos you've posted.
    You do look a bit stiff and braced.

    How long have you been riding and how long jumping cross country?
    Last edited by skydy; Apr. 22, 2019, 04:47 AM.

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  • skydy
    Originally posted by Equestrianette View Post
    Hello! I received a lot of encouraging and correct advice last time I posted a question on here. My OTTB and I are new eventers, this is his new career since being off the track. We are doing green as grass this year and have great progress. One of the challenges we are having is controlling his speed on cross country. So far I've trotted 2 courses just to keep him from becoming the unbalanced adrenaline junky that he is. After several XC schoolings and working with my trainer I think we have made some good connections about this issue but I'd like to hear more from people's experiences and what they did. My horse REALLY locks on to fences/flag and he wants to rush the jump. Of course this causes him to get flat and unbalanced which exacerbates the problem. He will lean on the bit (snaffle) and pull me down which really makes me lose my own stability despite my best efforts. We are only doing very small inviting XC obstacles for our safety and his soundness as we find our rhythm and learn how to be safe on cross country. I've found that when he makes a big effort, usually after a very slow approach which he needs, it can get me unseated just a bit and of course that unbalances him and off he goes because now my position is telling him GO GO GO. I've been really putting my heels down, leg closed, grabbing mane and "taking the back seat" to prevent this from happening and so far it has helped. My "go-to" for a runaway fast horse is to circle, disengage the hind quarters. But obviously this is not ideal. Not only that but I really can't count on the footing being suitable all the time for a tight circle to slow him down. Our last schooling we worked on having control of speed on the straight away because obviously I want to be able to control his speed WITHOUT circling. For this I've been anchoring my heels down, calves on to reinforce the stability of my upper body that I attempt to have completely straight, shoulders back, elbows at my side in 90 degree angles as I check him back and release, check and release. Reins SUPER short, his poll nearly at my chest. My horse obviously doesn't like this but its been effective. If he gets his head down at all he will lean on the bit and start running. At the end of this lesson I was able to canter over small jumps without him running. During this lesson however he did manage to lean on me enough to cause the skin on my ring finger to completely come off. Which was unpleasant to say the least. I'm looking forward to our next schooling to see if this lesson really affected his way of going on XC.

    Thank you!

    Here is Mr. Enthusiastic
    Image result for CarlisleChipper

    Image result for CarlisleChipper

    It seems to me that you need to go back to work on your control/ride-ability issues before you continue jumping. It is helpful that you are considering your equitation.

    What a lovely horse!

    However, there are too many basics that are missing and they need to be addressed. "Disengaging the hindquarters" of a "runaway horse" is a bizarre concept at best. At this point in time you are flirting with disaster.

    Do you wear gloves when riding? Your skin should not be "coming off" of your fingers, you should not be riding with "super short reins" and your horse's poll should not be "nearly at your chest"

    Your trainer should have (best case scenario as a competent trainer) either prevented, or had an answer to the out-of-control problem before it evolved into this difficulty.

    It really seems from your post that your trainer is not helping you.

    I don't mean to discourage you, but the difficulties you are experiencing will not be resolved online.

    Is there another trainer in your area with whom you can consult?

    "Natural horsemanship" has its limits and if your trainer believes that "disengaging the hindquarters" (especially those of a horse that is running away with you and with whom you continue to jump with it's head in your face) is the answer to all of these issues, they are sadly mistaken.

    Work at getting your horse to respond to your aids on the flat.and proceed incrementally to jumping?

    Perhaps there is someone here that is near where you live that can help you find another opinion from a different trainer or perhaps a kind mentor.
    Last edited by skydy; Apr. 22, 2019, 04:43 AM.

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