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Hot Thoroughbred

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  • Hot Thoroughbred

    I am riding an off the track thoroughbred. He is very Hot and forward. I am having trouble keeping him slow and relaxed. He looses focus very quickly. He doesn't do anything super bad except go forward to the point where I can't stop him. The more I pull the rains the faster he pulls and resists against. I have been just circling until he desides to stop and pay attention. Sometimes this takes a half hour and disrupts the entire ring. Any suggestions on how to get him to relax right from the start or once he starts to get him to stop and pay attention...

    He does not buck or try to get me off or anything. Good days he will just get a huge trot and bad days he will canter and I just sit up there and wait until he decides he wants to pay attention. After he does his forwardness he is wonderful to ride and seems to like it. I just don't know how to cut out the first 30minutes of my ride. Any suggestions...

  • #2
    not sure what the weather is like where you are, but can you lunge him at all before you get on him? That way maybe he can get some his "freshness" out on there and be ready to work when you get on. Sometimes this helps.....

    Also, working with your seat. 2point/halfseat go and sitting whoaaaaa, lol, did not mean for that to rhyme!


    • #3
      The more I pull the rains the faster he pulls and resists against.
      Many of the racehorses are trained to pull on the bit, take it, lean on it, and run faster.

      Your horse needs a complete re-training of what the bit means to you- slow down. I would start on the ground. Also, in order not to confuse the horse, I would not try to ride with contact; teach him that contact means you are asking him to change gaits or turn. It will take a while to teach him this. In the meantime, I would try to find a trainer to help you that is experienced specifically with re-habbing an OTTB.


      • #4
        Originally posted by Fillabeana View Post
        Many of the racehorses are trained to pull on the bit, take it, lean on it, and run faster.

        Your horse needs a complete re-training of what the bit means to you- slow down. I would start on the ground. Also, in order not to confuse the horse, I would not try to ride with contact; teach him that contact means you are asking him to change gaits or turn. It will take a while to teach him this. In the meantime, I would try to find a trainer to help you that is experienced specifically with re-habbing an OTTB.
        Ditto this. It seems counter intuitive, but you have to learn to let the reins slack for an OTTB. The more you pull, the more he'll pull and go faster.


        • #5
          Yep, when I take Lucky out for a gallop, I put pressure on the reins to get him TO run (it's about the only way to get him to move, really.) Old OTTB, you TOUCHED the reins, he went. It's very counterintuitive until you learn how they're trained (if you actually go out and do a racetrack work on him, it begins to make TOTAL sense) but you have to ease off to get them to listen.
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          • #6
            I second the lunging... also how long has he been off the track? Has he had any let down time?

            I have had two mares OTT and both were given 4+ months of let down time where I got to know them, they got to know me, we lunged, hung out, worked on everything but riding... When I did get on I started with a snaffle and little to NO contact on their mouths. A frame wasn't something that I addressed for a long time!

            OTTB's are some of my favorite horses and I really do beleive that they know you love them and want to work hard for you.

            Henry (House of Fortuny) 7 yr old OTTB


            • #7
              Stop pulling. Race horses are taught to go easy on soft contact and fast upon being "picked up." A firm half halt and let go is better than pulling.
              Be sure he's getting plenty of work but be careful as TB's tend to work up, not down. You can tire a WB out on the lunge but TB's build up andget more hyper.
              If he gets strong, just try lots of circles and changes of direction and "take and release" maneuvers until he figures out that he doesn't need to run around any more.
              Is he getting turnout? Is he being fed a high energy diet? Horses off the track settle in well with hay and water and low energy feed, esp in winter!
              F O.B
              Resident racing historian ~~~ Re-riders Clique
              Founder of the Mighty Thoroughbred Clique


              • Original Poster

                He has been off the track for a little over a year. He was with a professional trainer for a year with off and on training. Nothing consistant. That is how I got riding him because the professional doesn't have the time. I have done a ton of ground work with him. He now lunges with side reins and a passoa rig. I dislike the passoa rig on him because he learned that he could buck the strap that goes under the tail off.

                I try to not pull on his mouth at all. I always start at the buckle when I first get on him with no contact. I learned really quickly that pulling on the reins doesn't work. Like I said, I just patiently wait until he quiets down then slowly take a contact. I would like to stop the running when I first get on. It is almost a nervous run forward.


                • Original Poster

                  I would like to not lunge before every ride. I don't want to make him too fit.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by JLC View Post
                    I would like to not lunge before every ride. I don't want to make him too fit.
                    In a round about way, you are lunging him every time you ride but you are just doing it on his back

                    Some horses just need that to get their head ready for a productive ride/workout. He may grown out of it... IMO it's worth a try to lunge before you get on for a month or two and see if it helps. Then Maybe go down to every other ride etc- you get the point.

                    Does he get turn out? Does he live in a box stall?

                    Henry (House of Fortuny) 7 yr old OTTB


                    • Original Poster

                      He does get turned out everyday. In the summer he went out all night. Now he is just getting about 4 hours. I just started riding him about a month ago. Not sure of his behavior with all night turnout as he wasn't ridden in the summer. Professional didn't have time.


                      • #12
                        Lunging will help. I wouldn't worry about getting him too fit—as someone else said, you're already doing the lunging under saddle.

                        When you lunge, don't just let him canter endlessly in a circle to expend energy. Lunging is a great chance to actually make them listen and work a little bit, i.e. lots of transitions, all driven by your voice. It does carry over to your under saddle work too.


                        • #13
                          I agree with the diet change - free choice grass hay, fresh water, and a very low energy feed. For high strung horses I like plain beet pulp with a vit/min supp and nothing else.

                          Ulcers are also worth looking into for any high strung horse, whether they exhibit classic signs or not.

                          Other than that - I would think outside the box with this guy. I wouldn't necessarily lunge him, but maybe put him out in a small paddock for 30 min prior to riding and let him run and buck. I would chase him, not too much but enough so he gets some of the sillies out. Then I would bring him in, brush, tack, and take out to the arena. If I had all the time in the world, I would mount him then make him stand in the center, and just let him watch the world go by. He thinks when you get on it's time to go - well teach him differently. Teach him that sometimes you will get on and stand around until he's bored to tears.

                          Keep changing things up so he isn't anticipating this "let's go" type of ride. Walk on a loose rein, trot some circles, then get off and hang out by the side of the arena. Then get back on, maybe work him for 10 minutes, then get off again. Then get on and ride for 20 minutes, then get off. All told you might be out in the arena for 3 hours or so, but you're not riding the whole time - you are teaching him patience. Teach him that riding is not something that he needs to get worked up about.

                          It's a different type of technique, but with some horse personalities it works. They are so keyed up that they are going to have to go, go, go when you get on, that they get all worked up about it. When you teach them to be patient and keep changing things up then they will relax more.


                          • #14
                            If at all possible, more than four hours of turn-out would probably be beneficial. Also, how often is he being worked? I've found that mine, especially at first, benefit from very regular work, like six days a week. And as others have mentioned, try lots of circles, serpentines, changes of direction, transitions, lateral work, anything to keep his mind engaged and listening to you.


                            • #15
                              The OTTB I had before I went off to college had tons of "wiggles" he needed to get out before riding. What worked for me was to longe him before getting on. I had trained him to voice commands on the longe so this was a chance not just to take the edge off but also remind him that he needed to listen to me.

                              Once I got on his back I tried to change things up to keep his mind busy. The busier he was the less his mind would wander off.


                              • #16
                                Can you free lunge him to get that extra energy out? I'm not sure what your turn-out footing is like, but we have 2' of snow on the ground and mine aren't exactly 'frolicking' through it. A quick spin before tacking up does wonders, gives them a chance to get excess energy out, then relax before going to work.


                                • #17
                                  I put mine on the lunge for 10 min or so each direction and have him warm up at a loose canter. I try to discourage bucking and playing and use the lunge as a warm up exercise than a "tire out" exercise. He will canter tensely and excitedly for the first few minutes and when he gets a few circles on a normal, quiet canter with a lower head and relaxed ears I let him stop. This usually only takes me a few minutes on either side to accomplish. This way he is fighting himself and not you while getting himself warmed up and his brain focused on ME. Once I get on we go right to work, lots of circles, serpentines, leg yields, collecting and extending, halting, transitions, etc. Keeping his mind occupied keeps him from predicting and taking advantage. Lunging every day does get cumbersome but we have much better rides when I do, especially during the winter when he isn't getting as much playtime in turnout as he usually does.
                                  "Lord if we should fall, my horse and I, please pick my horse up first."



                                  • #18
                                    One of the hardest things to do with a hot horse is use leg. People tend to ride hot horses off their reins and it seems counter-intuitive, but he has to learn about leg to learn to stay straight and to create impulsion, not just speed.

                                    I have also found that with many TB's it's best to just keep going. A half halt for balance backed up with some leg, and continue. Alot of stop-start stuff annoys TB's who like to be going someplace. Can you ride circles or diagonals or or other figures in the ring? Give him something to think about that involves stepping up under himself and balancing himself and he may give up on pulling.
                                    F O.B
                                    Resident racing historian ~~~ Re-riders Clique
                                    Founder of the Mighty Thoroughbred Clique


                                    • #19
                                      I found that with one of my TBs, keeping his mind working was my best ally! I rode in a ring with jumps and I would spend a great deal of time weaving in and around the jumps. James couldn't think about going forward - he had to pay attention to where we were going. It also helped from picking up the momentum of the forward movement. With the constant changing of direction, he couldn't get rolling. Serpentines, tear drops, circles - anything that keeps him guessing about where he's headed.


                                      • Original Poster

                                        Thank you all for your suggestions. I will try lunging him for a couple of days before I get on. I have never thought about the fact that I am just luging him on his back by circling. I want to stop allowing him to run while I am on his back. I don't want him to learn that that behavior is ok. He really wants to be a good boy, but just doesn't understand how.

                                        I will look into exactly what he is eating. From feeding him a couple times at night because I was working with him during feeding time I can tell he is getting beet pulp mixed with a small amount of some sort of feed. It really is a soupy mess and he just slurps it right up.

                                        I am not sure about ulcers. But good suggestion. It is crazy how many horses now a days are getting diagnosed with ulcers. There are several horses in my farm who has had ulcers and what a difference ulcer guard has made for them. I might try a round of ulcer guard to rule that out. I will have to speak to his owner about that.