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OTTB that takes the bit and runs at the jumps

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  • #21
    I noticed your hands are quit low. We like to show our hunters with low hands, but its ineffective when schooling a puller. If he raises his head and grabs, raise your hands too. He can lift his head high, but your hands can always go higher. When you're pulling with your hands low, you're pulling on the bars of the mouth and giving him something to grab. Keep your hands high and the bit in the corners of the mouth.
    When he curls his head behind the vertical, think "lift and leg".

    I do agree with the other posters that you're doing too much with your body. Remember what he learned as a racehorse. To him when the rider gets light in the saddle and forward with their body, that means "go faster". Get in the back seat and wait for him to jump up to you. I think a straight-line halt would be very effective for this horse. Do it enough and he's going to anticipate it everytime. Jump = we stop immediately after.

    Last but not least, if all else fails try him in a waterford bit. Nothing to grab onto there with a flexible piece in his mouth.


    • Original Poster

      First of all.. Thank you.everyone. Yes. I do all of the things you say. Since the d
      Summer video, I have been riding more with my hands up and he is much better. I haven't jumped him over anything more substantial...so I really don't know what he will do. I cantered him over 1 2'3 jump a couple of weeks ago, he just canters over it. I am slow to move up. I like it perfect before I try the next step...which I know isnt always the answer. I wish I could canter him up to a 3' jump...but he's not the most adjustable, and I guess I'm just not that brave anymore.

      He is not a 'float the reins' type of horse, as he has a tendency to get a hair on the forehand, which causes him to flatten out and lengthen.when I have a good canter and he is up in front of my leg, he is so soft and so easy to find the jumps on. I know that right before the jump, I have a tendency to drop my hands and tip my body... I've been working on that. Since the August video, he has gotten much better about rocking back on his hocks. Tons of transitions.... Simple changes at the canter etc, really help. In August, he was not so greAt with walk to canter transitions. Now, I can't real,y do them becaue he is so good and anticipates them.

      I have ridden him in the following bits (in is order over the course of 2 years): kk ultra - too much movement with the key mouthpiece. Mullen mouth 3 ring ( no turning power when h e was crazy)., fat rubber full cheek snaffle, fat plain metal d, hard black rubber gag (once in while), Myler d. I've tried I. Randomly in other d rings...one with a copper mouthpiece n the middle, etc. the less joints, the better. I think that is why he goes well in the Myler.

      Tonight, he was great. I threw in 2 canter jumps into our flatwork routine. It was freezing cold, and he wa so soft. I think he was just happy to be back in the Myler 1 mouth I stead of the Myler 2

      I really appreciate all of your comments. That you so much for the kind words. He has come so far, and I've done all the work myself (oh, did I say I rescued him from the Kill pen? I did.)

      I love him. He has the best canter EVER (when it's good!)


      • #23
        My OTTB had no respect for small lumber. NONE. He would rush it and a lot of times just take me for a ride, we could get somewhat of a good spot with a bigger bit but it made him unhappy. We tried EVERYTHING. Bits, martingales, and even shutting him down right before the fence.. Nothing.

        So we went to gymnastics, where he had to do all the work and if he got himself in a trick spot because of his behavior.. he had to get out of it. When we started going to bigger fences? Totally different horse. I'm not saying only jump him big. I'm just saying he could be bored on his bad days. My OTTB was horrible to little fences. I showed him once in the 2'3-2'6 division at a local show and the judge told me good ride for what I was given and way to stay on.. Then we came back to a 3rd place in the 3'3-3'6 division, and she asked what I did to make him change.. Nothing. He just needed more of a challenge!

        I say try to make it challenging for him. He could be a bored teenager. Tight circles and turns, turning over the smaller fences, and things like that over the small fences.


        • #24
          He is absolutely gorgeous! Truly. However, I have to agree with the poster(s) that said he looks like he is sucking back and under paced. The "rushing" is really then just more of a powering up than truly taking over (and in all honesty, before I actually watched the videos, you had me thinking something much different/worse).

          You have said a few times in this thread that he is "lovely when he is soft"....I think you may be taking being "soft" and submissive over being really, truly, 100% forward and in front of your leg. This is a common and easy trap to fall into. For one, the horse isn't fighting you, you don't have to work too hard, so it feels good....that is until you try to do something that requires impulsion (like jump a jump). The other thing is, he looks like a big boy that packs a lot of power. I know from experience that it can be very intimidating to kick that type of horse into a truly forward gait, especially since often initially some of that energy escapes (ie. The horse throws their head up or down, bulges, etc, etc) until the horse figures it out and accepts moving into the contact, This is not only scary given the raw physical power, but it also doesn't sit very well in general with control freaks and perfectionists, which I am guessing you might be (and I say that only because I am those things too so I mean no offense at all)

          But unfortunately the more you try to control by using your hands and slowing down, the worse it will end up feeling at the jumps. So get him out in front of your legs!

          About the lowered hands and tipping, try thinking about pushing your hands and body apart in the final few strides before a jump. My friend tells kids to imagine that their gloves or the horse's head are reqlly stinky and you want your nose away from them. Also in those strides, reqlly think about keeping a relaxed, loose arm. Exxagerate the elbow-hinging feeling of following the mouth in the canter, and you may find the ideal (many people lock or tense up there without even knowing it, so the overexageration helps).

          I just wanted to say thanks for being brave and posting the videos...you are living proof that most times things don't look as bad as they feel to us. You are a nice rider with a nice horse...keep working at it but remember to enjoy the journey without always needing "perfect"


          • #25
            Originally posted by myalter1 View Post
            he is good through a gymnastic.. not great but good. He does NOT take the bit in the gymnastic. I dont have a trainer (no $) but when I can afford to pay my daughter's trainer to help me, I have the luxury of being able to do more. No, Jumpergirl.. i'm not collapsing or sending him on landing.. BEFORE the jump in the problem.. we dont even jump lines yet, since we can't canter into the line. We have been able to trot in, canter out... SOMETIMES. He has a HUGE step, which is p art of the problem. I can PM you a video of him trotting the jump, and you can see how lovely he canters off... but I can't maintain that canter TO the jump...

            I should clarify that this is not my first green horse, nor my first OTTB. I've been riding over 30 years and have mostly ONLY ridden greenies.
            Well, in that case, the second his step gets three inches past your seat, make an eleven in the dirt with his back legs, insist he soften the base of his neck to you at the halt and wait for his acceptance of the halt, back two steps nicely, soften the base of his neck, pick up your canter from the halt (with a soft base of the neck, of course), and finish the line.

            I have a feeling though that this horse probably cannot canter a 10m circle, and probably can not do three steps canter, two steps walk, three steps canter (repeat) on a 20m circle with a soft neck and absolute acceptance of the contact with no bracing, and THAT is why your control of the canter is not sufficient on the way in to a jump.
            The Noodlehttp://tiny.cc/NGKmT&http://tiny.cc/gioSA
            Boy Wonderhttp://tiny.cc/G9290
            The Hana is nuts! NUTS!!http://tinyurl.com/SOCRAZY


            • Original Poster

              Pally, thank you for your nice words. I wish I had a video of him from when I got him lol. You wouldn't believe he is the same horse. Yes, everything you said is spot on. He is a big horse with lots of power. Yes, I am a control freak perfectionist who hates when the ride feels gross. We only have an indoor, no outdoor, so I think part of my problem is never really having enough room. While our indoor is a nice enou size, it gets restrictive with my big horse (17h). I've been working on keeping him in front of my kegs and hands up. I have a tendency to lock my left elbow. If I remind myself to stay soft, I am usually ok. I'm sure I'm 60% of the problem! Lol I appreciate all of the nice things you have said.

              Meupatdoes: he actually can canter a 10m circle quite well. Once I break up any resistance through his rib cage he's great. Actually the smaller the circle the better he is because he has to rock back so far on his hocks. He's quite agile and I imagine if I wanted to do the jumpers he would be happy in that ring. As for the exercise (canter walk canter) I think he could get the job done, but you are right. I imagine I would not meet with resistance at that point, but tension due to anticipation. He's VERY smart and I can't do the same exercise more than once or twice before he knows the drill and wants to do it on his own.


              • #27
                I have no advice; I just want to say that your horse is lovely.
                I heard a neigh. Oh, such a brisk and melodious neigh as that was! My very heart leaped with delight at the sound. --Nathaniel Hawthorne


                • Original Poster

                  Oh Dewey, thank you! I love him to death. He's the sweetest, snuggling thing, yet can be sassy and really tells you when he is no thrilled with you. Best personality, ever. He's my forever horse. I rescued him, and he will go where I go.


                  • #29
                    To me it looks like he's behind the bit most of the time and has a tendency to get heavy on his forehand. I agree with others that he probably doesn't have enough pace coming into the fence -- most likely because you want to have every step perfect coming into the jump. I understand this because I have the same tendency and it always backfires on me. From my experience I always get a better jump when my horse is moving more forward, even when I think he may be getting a bit quick.

                    Since the videos don't show him rushing, it's hard to comment but I've had a similar issue with my own OTTB. He gets quick and flat to fences sometimes.

                    What my trainer suggested (and which helped me a lot) is to ride with a neck strap and make sure that I am never, ever, ever getting the tiniest bit ahead of him (which he takes to mean "go!" and to stay off his mouth. I need to get the right canter and then sit chill. The neck strap gives you the chance to pull back on "something" without getting in his face. The combination between leaning a bit forward (and some horses are very sensitive to this) plus going to slowly into the fence, can make my own horse rushy and anxious. I also work on stroking his neck going into a fence to let him know he's doing a good job.
                    Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                    EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.


                    • #30
                      I am going to really just be dittoing a lot of things here. He's a handsome dude, and I bet he's a scopey SOB.

                      I agree. Carry more pace and impulsion, in the trot and canter, to your fences. I have ridden A LOT of horses who do any number of icky things (rush, balloon, stop, etc) when under ridden. So, click it up a notch.

                      LOTS of gymnastics, and I think I would set a bounce or double bounce that you can canter into and keep it as a permanent fixture in your ring. As you are jumping, throw in the bounce occasionally, ESPECIALLY after he makes a bid, and DO NOTHING at the bounce (THAT will take some guts). He'll think twice about rushing if given have a chance to be an ass into a bounce.

                      I also agree with meupatdoes. Halt his butt if he gets carried away. Wait for him to take a breath, then do a circle or two of GOOD flatwork, then, when he's good again, go back to the fence. Repeat until he holds himself properly and stays soft. I am learning right now that repetition is the name of the game. KEEP doing the exercise, even when it feels ugly, until it is easy, correct, and boring.

                      Keep going back to your flatwork. Don't go to a jump if he isn't soft in his body and listening. As soon as you land, go back to your flatwork and get him soft and squishy again. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

                      I would make your fences a little bigger and a little more impressive for him. He looks like a big guy with a lot of scope and probably brave as hell. That teeny, tiny little X in the first video was laughable to him. Part of the reason he may be rushing is because the jumps are NOTHING to him. Sometimes you have to back them off. He was far nicer at the slightly bigger X off the circle (which is also a great exercise...build a few tall Xs on a circle, and just canter them until he smooths out).

                      One of my favorite exercises for a strong horse IS to jump into a line. Trot in. Halt. Trot/walk/jog out. Rinse and repeat until he's doing it smoothly and easily. Then, trot in and trot out, no halt. Repeat until he's smooth. If he rushes, go back to the previous step and repeat until he remembers. Then, trot in, canter out. If he rushes out, go back to the first step. At some point, he should figure it all out and you SHOULD be able to canter in, canter out. But any time he rushes, HALT.

                      And, while I get that you say he is good in that bit, I find horses can be quite stiff and hangy on them. Consider a mullen mouth that moves a bit more, or a single jointed something or other.


                      • Original Poster

                        Bogie...he used to be behind the bit a lot more (August video), and although he looks heavy in the video, he's not. He's decieving, because he's quite nice in your hand, not falsely soft and behind. I don't have any videos of him being bad lol.

                        Yellowbritches, I've never jumped him more than maybe 2'3 so I've not tested his scope! Lol he's not a chicken, but I wouldn't call him fearless... He will look at a jump. He used to jump straight up in the air, or with his front legs straight out (he steeplechased as well as raced on dirt track). I've font back to incorporating a few jumps into our flatwork. I love the idea of keeping a bounce set up. I haven't done a bounce with him in a long time. I worry that in a Mullen mouth he will just hang and not be soft. I had him in a single jointed d before this. I may have to experiment with different bits. Lol he hates when I change things. Perhaps if I can get someone to set jumps for me today, I will maybe try some more gymnastic work. It's hard when you seldom have a ground person and since my 9yr old daughter struggles moving rails, I can't ask her! She takes too long! lol


                        • #32
                          Originally posted by myalter1 View Post
                          As for the exercise (canter walk canter) I think he could get the job done, but you are right. I imagine I would not meet with resistance at that point, but tension due to anticipation. He's VERY smart and I can't do the same exercise more than once or twice before he knows the drill and wants to do it on his own.
                          Yes, that is why you do it over and over and over again, persistently repeating your request: "LET ME RIDE, PLEASE," until he lets you ride.

                          Just saying, "Whelp, guess he doesn't want to give me access to that today!" isn't training the horse. Keep doing it until he gives you access. That is training.

                          Also if you know he won't be able to accept a simple circle exercise without tension, fix that before jumping.
                          Last edited by meupatdoes; Jan. 19, 2013, 11:00 AM.
                          The Noodlehttp://tiny.cc/NGKmT&http://tiny.cc/gioSA
                          Boy Wonderhttp://tiny.cc/G9290
                          The Hana is nuts! NUTS!!http://tinyurl.com/SOCRAZY


                          • #33
                            My first horse did this. What worked for him was pull ups. You start with just a cross rail and you go over you stop in a straight line, you turn around you go over you stop in a straight line. You do this a million times. Then you progress to a line of fences that is set up to go both directions at least 5 strides between. You jump in, you stop in between, you turn around jump back out stop on a straight line. When he is stopping politely then take the 2nd fence straight ahead. If you are stopping too close to the 2nd fence take some steps back. As someone who's horse use to take over in a line - my instructor, an event rider, stood in front of the 2nd fence waving her hands - her exact words 'I'm going to stand in front of this fence, what ever you do do NOT let him take this fence. I don't care what you have to do to do it - but don't run me over'. I am now an expert at the pully rein. Horse had a very good career doing the 3'3" AA back in the late 90's. I miss him.

                            At a Ralph Hill Clinic I saw a horse do this as well and he had the person circle in front of the fence get straight but circle off at the last minute and the horse was only allowed to take the fence if it wasn't rushing.

                            Good luck!


                            • #34
                              Originally posted by myalter1 View Post
                              I've never jumped him more than maybe 2'3 so I've not tested his scope!...

                              Perhaps if I can get someone to set jumps for me today, I will maybe try some more gymnastic work.
                              This is the gymnastic my students just finished up with. It's a trot in, canter out. The third and fourth jumps can be made into oxers. We kept the first jump at around 18"X, to a 2'3" vert, 2'3" vert, then cranked the last jump up. Gymnastics are one of the safest, most confidence building ways to introduce new jumping to a horse. The key is you need to let him figure everything out. once you are on the line, he's on his own.
                              I'd keep working on this gymnastic until he gets up to about 3'3" on that last jump, then introduce low bounces to him.
                              | 4'6" | 4'6" | 4'6" | 9' | 18' | 18' | 30' ||
                              chaque pas est fait ensemble


                              • #35
                                Have to comment that my old horse also used to rush and it was helped by more pace and bigger fences... I know you're a weenie adult (and since i'm your friend and even more of a weenie, i can say that LOL), but I would really wonder what happens if you open him up a bit and put a bigger jump in there. My horse didn't get good until at least 3' and 3'6" the rushing was long gone.


                                • Original Poster

                                  Mayaty02.... YouCAN call me a weenie! Thank you meupatdoes. You're right. Sometimes I give up. I believe that he is scopy, given the fact that he really just canters those long legs over everything. I wish I had the money to get a pro ride or two on him and see him jump higher. I haven't honestly jumped over 3' in almost 20 years lol. I think I've turned chicken.. hopefully i can't set a gymnastic today and have someone set jumps for me. I'm psyched to try some of tis stuff with him. My goal for this year is 1 under saddle class, 1 trail ride , and maybe a Greg best clinic


                                  • #37
                                    You'd be surprised what gymnastics can do for your confidence too!
                                    chaque pas est fait ensemble


                                    • #38
                                      TB's are smart and once they think they know the drill, they sometimes stop listening. Long approaches (like to the X in video 1) allow him to lean, strech his step and take over. He didn't have time to do that to the fence on the centerline. Try mixing in short and/or unorthodox approaches. It gets him off your hands and makes him wait for YOU to give him guidance.
                                      As mentioned, when he wants to make a bid for the fence, you are allowing it by saying "yep, I see the big spot too, have at it!" When that spot appears, there is always an alternative and on a green horse that wants to rush, it's usually the prudent choice. Think "lean away" and keep your shoulder back, hands up and demand that he pat the gound. He needs to learn that all the adjustability you have on the flat MUST be applied in front of the fences.
                                      Grids that are set a tiny bit tight for him will help him learn to jump more from the base and not get sprawly. It will help him find his own balance, not to just lean on you, or curl behind the bit. My trainer has a tricky WB mare that get strong and behind the bit. It's a hard thing to do on a horse that wants to GO, but you have to lift and LEG to correct.
                                      You have a lovely horse and clearly you have patience. Don't let the "perfect be the enemy of the good." Every jump along the way doesn't have to be showring perfect. Many will feel awkward because he has to learn to sit on his hocks. If you can splurge for a pro, do so, even if it's just once in a while. The pro may be far more willing to allow him to jump bigger to see if he's just telling you he's bored with small stuff. If not, is there a really strong ammy or Jr who could take a try? Maybe someone familiar with strong types and not fearful of a mistake. Sometimes watching someone else ride your horse gives you a new perspective.

                                      Good luck, I think you have a very nice horse!
                                      F O.B
                                      Resident racing historian ~~~ Re-riders Clique
                                      Founder of the Mighty Thoroughbred Clique


                                      • Original Poster

                                        Thanks petstorejunkie. As a jr, I did the big eq/jrs, then worked for a couple of gp riders...got married, had a kid...took 20 years off from showing. Now I am having so much fun bringing this project along....I have no idea what he will do as a career, and I don't really care!


                                        • #40
                                          You're welcome. Best of luck with him.
                                          I heard a neigh. Oh, such a brisk and melodious neigh as that was! My very heart leaped with delight at the sound. --Nathaniel Hawthorne