Advice on Slowing Down a Horse's Trot
 
 

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Advice on Slowing Down a Horse's Trot

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  • Slowing a horses trot when driving
  • Training horse slow down trot

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    06-06-2012, 12:34 AM
  #1
Weanling
Advice on Slowing Down a Horse's Trot

After a year of riding, I've finally made the step of leasing! I'm very excited about it, although I'm only doing a half lease until I get the hang of it.

His name is Austin and he's a lovely little Quarter Horse. He's a sweet boy, quiet, and calm on the ground and at a walk. Dare I say he's even a bit lazy?



But his trot/jog is way too fast. It's to the point it becomes jarring and quite uncomfortable, if not nearly impossible, for me to sit without bouncing all over the place like a maniac.

I find myself pulling on his mouth to slow him down and I hate doing that, especially with the tom-thumb bit the barn owner uses for him (I don't know if it's my place to ask to use a different bit; I don't want to seem like I'm intruding on how they care for their horses). In lessons I ask if I'm being too rough on his mouth. They say no, however I still feel like I am when the reins are tight and the horse is pulling away. I ride Western; I shouldn't have to use that much contact with a Western horse. It's not his fault of course, and newbie me is trying to figure out how to solve this issue. The BOs say he was probably used as a Barrel or Roping horse in his last home and only trained to speed.

When I'm riding him outside of lessons, I've tried a couple of things to slow his trot down. One was to completely stop him everytime he went too fast. This is what I'm also told to do in my lessons. This seems to frustrate him even more, causing him to go faster and step heavier at the trot. I tried trotting for very short distances. Also seemed to frustrate him quite a bit.

So today I tried something different. Circling like there's no tomorrow. As soon as he speeds up we do a few small circles. This sends him into a lovely, comfortable trot. As soon as he does it I let off the reins completely and say, "easy" in the hopes he will make the association that "easy" means "I want you to slow down and go this speed when you're going to fast". After one or two circles we go ahead again until he speeds. Then the process repeats.

This seems to be getting some results! But (after my long post...sorry about that) does anyone have any other advice or tips on what to do with a speeding horse?
     
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    06-06-2012, 12:44 AM
  #2
Yearling
Use your seat. Instead of posting or just bouncing, really get down there. Keep your hands quiet, back straight, legs still, and do all the talking with your seat.

Put your weight into the saddle. Let yourself feel like your sinking into the saddle.
Just think, if I were a horse and my rider were light and energetic at the trot, I would be too. But if my rider is calm, still, and sitting deeply, I'd be more inclined to take it nice and soft.
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    06-06-2012, 08:58 AM
  #3
Weanling
I did try sitting heavier... to a degree. I admit my seated trot isn't all that great and paired with his bouncy trot, it's very difficult for me to sit quietly and deep. But I will certainly work more on this!
     
    06-06-2012, 08:46 PM
  #4
Started
Keep at it. You are getting results already and talking with your seat will also help. Something else that I have found to work is the way you ask for the trot. Ask gently for a tad bit more than the walk. Remember that it takes lots practice but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Good luck and I hope you get to enjoy smooth jog trots soon without lots of circles
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    06-06-2012, 09:03 PM
  #5
Foal
Slow ur butt. Down. Sit down a little bit more
     
    06-06-2012, 09:14 PM
  #6
Showing
Quote:
Originally Posted by Houston    
But his trot/jog is way too fast. It's to the point it becomes jarring and quite uncomfortable, if not nearly impossible, for me to sit without bouncing all over the place like a maniac.

I find myself pulling on his mouth to slow him down and I hate doing that, especially with the tom-thumb bit the barn owner uses for him (I don't know if it's my place to ask to use a different bit; I don't want to seem like I'm intruding on how they care for their horses). In lessons I ask if I'm being too rough on his mouth. They say no, however I still feel like I am when the reins are tight and the horse is pulling away. I ride Western; I shouldn't have to use that much contact with a Western horse. It's not his fault of course, and newbie me is trying to figure out how to solve this issue. The BOs say he was probably used as a Barrel or Roping horse in his last home and only trained to speed.

When I'm riding him outside of lessons, I've tried a couple of things to slow his trot down. One was to completely stop him everytime he went too fast. This is what I'm also told to do in my lessons. This seems to frustrate him even more, causing him to go faster and step heavier at the trot. I tried trotting for very short distances. Also seemed to frustrate him quite a bit.

So today I tried something different. Circling like there's no tomorrow. As soon as he speeds up we do a few small circles. This sends him into a lovely, comfortable trot. As soon as he does it I let off the reins completely and say, "easy" in the hopes he will make the association that "easy" means "I want you to slow down and go this speed when you're going to fast". After one or two circles we go ahead again until he speeds. Then the process repeats.

This seems to be getting some results! But (after my long post...sorry about that) does anyone have any other advice or tips on what to do with a speeding horse?
Okay, jarring and uncomfortable sounds like it's an unbalanced trot which coincides with what you are describing as "fast." When you begun the lease, what did the OWNER tell you was the training level of this horse?

Stopping him when he goes too fast is just putting a LOT of pain on his mouth, therefore when you go to move again, he's already bracing and anticipating that you're going to pull him back into a halt again. If you are going to stop him, spiral him with your body and an open rein so he goes from a large circle to a tiny circle and eventually a stop.

If you circle, circle with purpose! I like your idea but he's probably blowing you off. You need to be consistent but not monotone. Horses get BORED of monotone Do some circles, but maybe work some figure eights in there too, or a half circle to reverse, or get him back down to walk, or weave, or do any lateral work that you know.

Your goal is ANYTIME he isn't paying mind to his speed and feet, re-focus him. Give him something to do besides going straight. You know when you drive and it's a straight rode; no curves, no tunnels, no beautiful scenary? And you get really really bored and try to turn on the radio to keep your focus on what you're doing aka. Driving?

That's what you are doing to your horse atm. He is trying to go faster because he's hoping he can canter because it's different than trotting, or that he can be the boss and make decisions. So mix it up. Put in some circles, weaving, leg yields, poles to trot over, etc.

When my horse was VERY discombobulated trot (and he's green so this is different than a trained horse) I kept up with him at first and slowly asked him to do things to slow him down. When he got there, he got a release of a short rein. Do you do anything to reward this horse once he gets down to the speed that you like, OP?
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    06-06-2012, 09:38 PM
  #7
Weanling
Thanks for the advice everyone!

Skyseternalangel- The owner said he was probably a former barrel racer or roper, but unfortunately doesn't know the complete history of the horse. Before I began riding him he was one of the horses they used for their trail rides and lessons (although I was the primary, if not the only, person using him in lessons).

He's a horse that loves to just blast down the trails, so arena work isn't his favorite thing to do. I certainly need something to keep him entertained because while I'm occupied trying to work with him, he's probably bored and frustrated. We do figure eights and he was recently introduced to trotting poles, but I'll try to introduce different things for him to do since the majority is either circling or simply going around the arena. If I feel I'm being too repetitive and I'm losing his attention, I usually do some backing and stopping.

As a reward when he is doing everything I ask like going slow at the trot, I tell him "easy" then praise him and give him loose rein.

Eventually, I want to get to the point I can do less arena work and more work on the trail at all gaits. But we need to work on a few things before that. I have a feeling if I trot him on trail he'll get far too excited. But when we do get to that point I'm sure he will enjoy everything SO much more.
     
    06-06-2012, 09:44 PM
  #8
Trained
Continue to be consistent. SOme western horses are trained to slow when you hummmmm-at least here in the east, it seems. I sit really deep, little half halts with my reins, and say shhhhhhhhh. I also circle when they speed up. As long as they maintain slow, they get to go around....speed up, and you circle.

Keep in mind it takes MUCH longer to retrain than to train so be consistent and you will eventually get it.
     
    06-06-2012, 09:51 PM
  #9
Showing
Ahh.. since he isn't an arena horse that would make sense.

As franknbeans put so beautifully, it's going to take consistency because retraining is FAR more lengthy than training fresh.

Keep us updated!
Houston likes this.
     
    06-06-2012, 11:47 PM
  #10
Yearling
Huey is a rocket ship, flies over tall buildings in a single bound. His trot is prone to getting "runny". As a result, I've gotten a lot of experience with the Half-Halt. I don't ride on his mouth, but if he's going too fast, I will give him a half-halt up to 3 seconds, then let go. If he drops the speed, we're good. If he picks it back up again, it's another half-halt and then release. Rinse, lather, repeat until he gets the point, which he always does. Eventually...
     

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