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Transitioning OTTB to western

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  • Transitioning OTTB to western

    Last edited by Lolo.mechell; Oct. 18, 2019, 12:05 AM.

  • #2
    You're thinking about this wrong. You're not transitioning these horses from English to western. If they both came off the track, they have never been trained "English" at all. You need to think of them as green horses who know nothing at all and need to be trained from the ground up.
    "Facts are meaningless. You can use facts to prove anything
    that's even remotely true."

    Homer Simpson


    • #3
      They don’t tie them to saddle on the track and many off the track don’t tie to saddle if they have somebody to hold them or they ground tie dependably. I’d just not tie him to saddle, he’s coming 11 years old, leave him be on that. I had one that I just put the lead over something without tying it off. If they pulled, it released pressure instead of tightening up, think some of them get scared if they, step back and feel crossties or the lead rope tightening up so pull harder and get into a vicious circle thing. Had a couple, if you just dropped the lead or put it on or through something without tying, they grew roots. One was an OTTB not that long off the track,

      The 7 year old just sounds dead Green, confused, maybe a little scared. Most track horses do steer and are not ignorant of leg (with riders that have enough) and don’t act that girthy. Sounds like somebody rushed him, just did what it took to get him in the gate. Start him over from square one to fill in the holes and get him to trust you.

      Gotta look at ulcers here, don’t cheap it up, use the good, proven meds.

      I know there’s some materials out there on Dressage for BR, good, solid basics to develop flexibility sand communication between horse and rider. It’s probably called something else but I know it’s out there as have a friend who is a pretty good BR out west and uses it. Wouldnt worry about adding speed too much right now, you need to back up to basics, remember more precise track and no penalties gets you more money/ prizes then just blazing speed.
      When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

      The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


      • #4
        He doesn’t know how to trot under saddle in all likelihood. Yeah, they trot at the track but it’s a different, forward trot then your usual saddle trot. Betting whoever was riding asked him to trot, then tried to slow down and he got confused while rider got scared and they fed each other’s insecurities. He doesn’t sound like parent safe trail horse is in his future for a very long time.

        Guessing you haven’t had these two for very long? It takes much longer to unlearn bad habits picked up from bad riders then just teach correctly in the first place. If he’s happy just walking you just walk for now. Unfortunately you can’t teach him to relax at the trot under saddle unless you trot under saddle. Plus it’s coming winter and the cold wind always jacks them up. Be patient, gain his trust, don’t push...that’s how he got where he is.

        You might try just sitting on him for long periods of time without asking him to do anything but walk and stand. In his brain, everything is an immediate crises. He needs to learn how to be bored. Some trainers sit on this type horse while they teach lessons, some trail cows around for hours. Just tack him up and get on him with no demands other then carting you around for hours. Boring is good for horses like this. Think about it.
        When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

        The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


        • #5
          Just be there for him and don’t judge, just like you would with a human having problems. Remember he didn’t make the choices that landed him where he is.

          Need to add he’s not going to like serving as a couch when you start. If he gets jittery, just walk in circles, don’t pick at him, then try standing again. Resist the urge to do something and don’t let him frustrate you, you gotta stick with it. Don’t get off. Try to get at least 30 minutes in the first time then add time each ride until it’s over an hour. He has to learn to stop anticipating a crises and a fight every ride. I’ve done this with TBs, Arabs, an ASB and numerous others. They just sometimes come to you dreading being worked at things they don’t understand and getting punished for it. I firmly believe they know when we are not happy with them and it affects their comfort around us and willingness to trust.

          And yes TBs can relax and just stand around, even with a rider. Most get to like it. Hang in there, it’s a bit of a journey.
          When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

          The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


          • #6
            He doesn't know what he doesn't know. Long reining is traditionally the way to teach them how a snaffle bit works for halting and turning. Lunging is the traditional way to teach them to walk, trot and canter and strengthen them. and they learn the voice commands. Then you use the voice commands under saddle and add the leg aids so at they understand them.

            With the girth they can be cold backed. As others said if he only does it when tied, then don't tie. Do the girth up slowly while you finish grooming.
            It is better to ride 5 minutes a day than it is to ride 35 minutes on a Sunday.