Tugging at Trot and Canter - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 3 Old 07-27-2012, 02:55 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: between florida and maryland, usa.
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Tugging at Trot and Canter

Hey! I have a 9 year old thoroughbred who I've pretty much re-trained from the ground up off the track.

He's doing very well (I think so at least, feel free to disagree), but we have issues with pulling at the trot and canter after we canter for the first time. He's great during warm-up and will go on a loose rein, but once we canter, he just wants to tug or rush. It's not always, so I'm not sure what to do.

He's in a loose ring happy mouth, so nothing harsh, and I don't want to up-bit him to solve the problem.

I've been doing LOTS of transitions and work after the canter. I'm hoping he'll eventually realize there's more to do besides tug and canter, but it's been a while and he's still doing it.

Any tips? He likes to get the same way over fences.

Here's a link to a video when he's tugging. It's at the end of the video.

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post #2 of 3 Old 07-27-2012, 03:49 PM
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Pennsylvania
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I believe this may be similar to an issue I am currently working on with my mare also. I have a friend who has been coming over to help train / work with this said mare and had suggested trying this:

When the horse tugs, I am to lightly (but with some pressure) "tap" the reins. What this means is that I will slightly tap or tug very subtly on my reins in short, quick motions (3 at a time). So it almost becomes a rap-tap-tap motion with my fingers "tapping" the reins back. Notice I said my fingers and not hands. I am only using the pressure of my two fingers (if split reined which I assume you would be judging from your video). This technique is to maintain softness in the mouth (hence not "hanging" on the horse's mouth) but also emphasis a "stop it" gesture.

It may take a few times for the horse to respond, especially in the beginning but I have found that if I am consistent in getting after her with the "tapping" when she does it and then relaxing back to normal when she stops, she soon catches on. Hopefully this makes sense and is what you horse has been struggling with.

He's a beautiful horse and the two of you look really good! Keep up the great job!
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post #3 of 3 Old 07-27-2012, 03:54 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: between florida and maryland, usa.
Posts: 759
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Thanks so much! I actually heard that somewhere else and was planning on trying it out. We've been working on lots of trot work after canter until he stops tugging, then walking. Also, when he tugs, I've just been bringing him to a halt and start again.

I am working with a trainer and have a lesson Saturday, but I wanted some other opinions as well.

I should also mention, this is his second week back in work after over a month off (it was too hot, then he lost a shoe). So he's a bit inconsistent with his head, but hopefully that'll be fixed in another week or two.
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