Breaking Habits?

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Breaking Habits?

This is a discussion on Breaking Habits? within the Barrel Racing forums, part of the Western Riding category

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        02-17-2013, 07:31 PM
    Breaking Habits?

    My 12yr old mare Millie is a champion barrel racer, but I mainly ride just for fun, doing small jumps, etc. But if there is anything standing up straight in the arena, she wants to run towards it, and circle it, taking off my knees. She'll do it to jump standards too, whethor or not a jump is there! I can usually control her, but I'm tired of not trusting her enough not to let her have a losse rein, and not worry about breaking my legs! Any tips?

    )Oh, we still Barrel Race sometimes(
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        02-18-2013, 12:44 PM
    Green Broke
    I need a bit more info from you:

    How old are you?
    Have you ever worked with a trainer?
    How long have you had this horse?
    Has she ever been checked by an equine dentist? Equine chiropractor?
    What bit do you ride her in?

    Overally, sounds like your horse needs to go back to basics and be re-trained.

    Not only is it "annoying" to have her take off with you and run where she pleases and ignore you, but it is downright DANGEROUS. You are going to get hurt, or someone else will, if you cannot control your horse.

    This is why I asked if you have worked with a trainer because I think that will be what you need.
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        02-18-2013, 06:21 PM
    I'm 13. I have worked with a trainer. And after rereading my post, I realize that I exagerated. I've had Millie for about a year, but worked worked with her for two. She doesn't really take off but does tend to fight for the reins and go faster than needed. I ride in a rope halter, and a snaffle bit when I use a bridle. She's very well trained, and is very respectful, she just constantly wants to go. I'm thinking about trying her in a curb or hackamore. I've tried keeping her just to walk for the entire ride, getting off and making her back up for a bit on the ground after she does something wrong, and I just can't get her to settle down, and not constantly think about running.
        02-18-2013, 06:50 PM
    Green Broke
    What does your trainer say about this issue?

    When has Millie been seen by an equine dentist or a chiropractor?

    I would not ride a horse like this in a rope halter. It gives you no refinement and no precision with your cues.

    What type of snaffle do you use? While snaffles are the mild bit of choice, they aren't always the best bit to solve an issue with. You sometimes end up pulling and pulling with a snaffle, but a short shank mild curb will allow to give the necessary cue and then leave the horse alone. (Versus constantly pulling)

    Millie sounds a lot like my horse Red. Go-go-go! This type of horse is difficult to get to walk and travel relaxed, without bugging the horse to an annoyance.

    This is why it would be good for you to work with a trainer hands-on to help you with this horse.

    Rather than getting off your horse and possibly making her more nervous, serpentines work great. Plus you are using only one direct rein at a time, and not hauling on her mouth with both hands. Start out by asking Millie to walk and pay extra attention to your own body. Make sure you are not inadvertently being tense or asking her to go faster. Keep your body relaxed. If Millie breaks into a trot without you asking, simply serpentine her left and right one rein at a time over and over until she must break back down to a walk. Then leave the reins alone and leave her alone!!! It's a stress less way to slow her down.

    Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Never jerk the reins. Keep your hands soft. If you choose to use a curb or hacks more, make sure the shanks swivel independently of each other for direct reining.

    Also, when you do run barrels or do anything in the arena. She should behave perfectly at all tunes. If not, serpentine.
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        02-18-2013, 07:01 PM
    I think I might have seen a video of you guys doing a gymkhana.... is he roanish?

    Ok, I'll try doing this. Like I said, she's very respectful, so once she gets the hang of this, I'm sure she'll behave. Thanks so much!
        02-18-2013, 10:09 PM
    Green Broke
    Red is still in barrel training, so I've not done much hauling with him yet. But he is the roan in my avatar.

    I have lots and lots if videos of my old horse Beau, who was a chestnut.

    Just always make sure you release pressure immediately when she does something correctly. You never want to have to see-saw or pull pull pull on her mouth to get a response. That's why it may be suitable to use a bit you get a response from, and not a bit she ignores (note that this may not be the same thing as a harsher bit).
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