Slowing down OTTB - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 04-16-2009, 02:36 PM Thread Starter
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Slowing down OTTB

Hello, I have an OTTB, and its really difficult to slow him down. When you pull on the reins he just goes faster, since thats how he was trained. Any suggestions on how to slow the bugger down?
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post #2 of 13 Old 04-16-2009, 02:49 PM
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The biggest factor is never just pull, a 1,000lb+ animal will when that battle any day, lol. Instead, sit back, hold your legs to push him into the reins, and give a brief, firm pull (not yank). Every few strides pull again and as soon as he reacts, relax your reins again. Also, do plenty of direction changes, transistions, leg yields, circles, etc. so that he has to focus on you and listen.
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post #3 of 13 Old 04-16-2009, 07:08 PM
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I second that. Yes, it's all in the release. He was taught to take the bit when he feels contact. Figure out what aids he responds to for a half halt. For my OTTB, it's bracing my back, sitting up tall, closing my thighs and driving him up into restraining contact. Once you find what works, apply half halts every few strides until he gets what you're asking for. As dogcatrodents said, then second he gives to the bit pressure, release. TB's are wicked smart and most are very willing to please. He'll figure it out quickly. I'd start at the walk and work up from there. When you do move up in gaits, just remember to take things down a notch if he starts to get a canter high. Have some poles lying around the arena so you can switch to a low key obstacle course game to get him relaxed again.

Just curious. Does he have a nice canter? That's my pitfall. I love my horse's canter. Somedays we both get caught up on it and just go until one of us drops!
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post #4 of 13 Old 04-17-2009, 12:06 PM Thread Starter
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Oh yeah, his canter is AMAZING. Its so easy to sit, the only thing is hes speedy, but thats expected with an OTTB! Thanks for the tips, I'll give those a try today.
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post #5 of 13 Old 04-17-2009, 12:14 PM
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I did a lot of circling with my OTTB. It helped him chill out and he couldn't run away with me as easily.
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post #6 of 13 Old 04-17-2009, 12:15 PM
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If you get into a situation that he WONT stop, do a 1 reign stop. (take one reign, pull until his head reaches his shoulder, the hop off the pulled in side).
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post #7 of 13 Old 04-17-2009, 04:26 PM
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I agree. I lot of half halts and a TON of transitions both upward and downward. Make sure the transitions come from the haunch though. Good luck!
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post #8 of 13 Old 04-20-2009, 05:51 AM
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Originally Posted by ilovemyPhillip View Post
If you get into a situation that he WONT stop, do a 1 reign stop. (take one reign, pull until his head reaches his shoulder, the hop off the pulled in side).
^^ Was going to mention the same thing. I've been using it with my OTTB - I ask once normally (lean back and pull lightly on the reins) and if he ignores that, pull his head around. It doesn't necessarily have to touch his shoulder, as he may not be that flexible yet, the point is to make him circle until he stops. Timing is everything! As soon as his feet are still, let the rein go.
Another important thing to remember is that you want him to soften as well, you dont want him leaning on the bit.
My boy has gotten to the point where he only does half a circle and then he stops, or on good days he will simply flex his head around and stop straight.
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post #9 of 13 Old 04-20-2009, 10:46 AM
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My OTTB had the same issue when I first got him. He had speed walk and canter down packed, everything in between was forgotten. Everything I would tell you has already been posted. Circles and half-halts helped me the most. As soon as you feel him speeding up do a downward transition to trot, trot figures (circles, figure-eights etc.) until you feel he has slowed up and is in your command than ask for canter again. My guy was good going to the right, but to the left it was all about speed. Patience is the key lol.

A Dog looks up to a man,
A cat looks down on a man,
But a patient horse looks a man in the eye and sees him as an equal
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post #10 of 13 Old 04-20-2009, 05:18 PM
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My instructor has been telling me that when you pull back on the reins they WILL speed up. The trick is to 'pull and then release' and keep that up, while sinking down in the saddle and squeezing with your upper leg. This usually slows them down. Also if you can get them responding to voice commands on the ground and in the saddle, that helps a TON. good luck!
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