great on ground, rocket under saddle
 
 

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great on ground, rocket under saddle

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  • How to work a missbehaving horse under saddle
  • Horse great pn ground and not good in saddle

 
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    06-01-2012, 10:14 PM
  #1
Foal
Question great on ground, rocket under saddle

Hello!
I have recently started riding again and have taken interest in a rescue thoroughbred named General Lee. It's been a few years since I've ridden. I have no formal training when it comes to saddle work, just experience in lots and lots of trail riding. I have greatly lessened some bad ground habits Lee had, like biting (he didn't do it at all today) and being headstrong on the lead. He focuses much better. I have worked on the ground with him in the arena (lunging and leading) He listens well and wants to obey commands. Today, I saddled him, walked him around the arena on the lead and he seemed fine, I put the bridle on him and he wouldn't stop messing around with it or holding his mouth in a slightly open position, bottom jaw off to one side a little, At first I thought he was just getting used to it, it was in the right position. Nothing pinching. I looked at the bars and they were healthy. I have also noticed him do this behavior once without a bit, when was anxious to get out of his stall. So I tried a halter and reins instead. He was better with the halter and reins (mouth problem? Or a psychological problem?) but he was still very antsy and wanted to take off on straight-aways. With the bridle I couldn't get him to stand still and cease moving forward. With the halter he would stand, but you could feel the tension and energy to keep moving forward. I wasn't sure that if I asked him to expend some of that energy, if I would be able to stay in control. He was not collected, somewhat frantic. I can walk him on the ground with no lead or halter at all and he follows my commands calmly and willingly. What got lost in translation? I can't tell if he needs more from me in the saddle, on the ground, or if he's just stressed by the situation of being ridden. (I don't know his past.) he's great until I get on and ask for movement. I could sit up there no problem. Ask for a walk and I get a revved up crazy trot. Can anyone offer me any insight or tips for next time? I've owned, rescued and ridden a few horses, and haven't come across this before. (I never had a thoroughbred either!)
Thank you!
Heather
     
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    06-02-2012, 04:34 PM
  #2
Weanling
Well I am definitely no expert but it sounds
as though he is still acting on "track training". Maybe work on the ground with your "whoa" verbal command and lunging also so maybe he will respond to verbal cues. Once he responds well to the verbal cues on ground try the saddle and offer the same cues and maybe some half halts to slow him down. I know this sounds elementary but that's what I am. Good luck.
     
    06-02-2012, 08:16 PM
  #3
Foal
Kudos to you for rescuing horses...I have unlimited respect for people who do this. As far as slowing your horse down under saddle, my favorite exercise is teaching my horse the one-rein-stop, or emergency brake. If it's done correctly and consistently the horse will learn to listen to my body language before I ask for the stop. If you'd like a training video for that, let me know. I have a link to one that I just made. If that doesn't work I start to use the one-rein-stop and then disengage my horse's hindquarters when she gets too quick. - this way, they are moving, but it's a lot harder than just moving forward. It's a lot of work for them to move around and around in a circle then to just listen to me and slow down. I can link you to a training vid for that one, too.
There's one more exercise I've used, but it requires some more patience. It's harder to explain so here's the vid:.
Training Your Horse To Keep A Steady Pace - YouTube
Let me know if you try this, and most of all whether or not it works! Every horse is different and needs a different exercise. Consistency is also key :)
     
    06-03-2012, 08:35 PM
  #4
Foal
Thank you both! Great video too. I'd like to see the others as well. I did more verbal cues on the ground first and once riding I used the one rein stop or small circles when he started going too fast and getting out of hand. We had a much better session, he really wants to please. He actually gets excited to come out when he sees the saddle! He neighs at me and paws at the gate. He still has problems stopping or slowing, but we walk much better. Oddly, he actually speeds up when I pull back to slow or stop him. Like he's panicking. He snorts and loses the tempo we had. I learned from the barn owner someone was really rough on him in the past. If he has a hard mouth, might a bitless bridle help? How can I use my seat and legs better to tell him to slow or stop? I will still work consistently and frequently on the verbal cues like whoa, walk, stand.
Happy trails!
Heather
     
    06-04-2012, 08:36 AM
  #5
Foal
So glad he's doing better!!! And now you know he's quick because he loves to go out. You're making him a happier horse :)
THe stopping thing is a common problem - pulling back on an untrained horse will freak them out. My mom's pony dumped my student the other day when she pulled back on him when he ran off with her. So I told her, you don't want to try to gain control back in a second. Because your horse is stronger than you and he will win. So, instead of trying to stop your horse quickly, take your time. Ride along with your horse, even if he's going fast, and try to take control back one step at a time. Ask for little victories, such as asking your horse to go to the left, then the right, essentially zig-zagging. This will get your horse back in a mind-set where he's listening to you, instead of freaking out. If your body pulls back and fights against him it will irritate or stress him out, but this way, if you're riding with him, you'll be more in touch with him and he'll be more likely to listen to you. Take as much time as you need to stop him. Once you manage to control his direction, pull him into a circle, like in the video, which will force him to slow down. Make the circle smaller and smaller until you feel safe to do a one-rein.
Here's a one-rein stop vid that will go over not just the one rein stop but how to teach your horse to stop from just your body language. I just made it yesterday.
One Rein Stop - YouTube

If you want to instead teach your horse to stop when you pull back on both reins, teach him this at the walk, not trot/canter. Pull back, and then give right away when he stops (timing is key). Eventually he'll understand. I prefer the one-rein stop because even though it takes longer for the horse to understand, you no longer need reins to stop the horse - he'll stop from just your seat at the end of it. (if you want a vid of the result, let me know :) )
Here's another handy vid - it's about horses that REALLY misbehave under saddle, not really like yours, but it demonstrates the "yielding the hindquarters" exercise I mentioned (I still need to make a vid exclusively for this exercise) visually so that you can see the result. If you horse is goofing off, whether it's rearing or going way too fast, this will make them work harder and communicate to them that it's the wrong thing to do. Your horse doesn't seem mean; it really seems like a communication issue between the both of you.

Does he stand still for mounting?

Sorry for this novel!!! There are so many elements to this problem...Let me know how it all goes!
     
    06-04-2012, 09:30 AM
  #6
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Horsefeathers28    
Thank you both! Great video too. I'd like to see the others as well. I did more verbal cues on the ground first and once riding I used the one rein stop or small circles when he started going too fast and getting out of hand. We had a much better session, he really wants to please. He actually gets excited to come out when he sees the saddle! He neighs at me and paws at the gate. He still has problems stopping or slowing, but we walk much better. oddly, he actually speeds up when I pull back to slow or stop him. Like he's panicking. He snorts and loses the tempo we had. I learned from the barn owner someone was really rough on him in the past. If he has a hard mouth, might a bitless bridle help? How can I use my seat and legs better to tell him to slow or stop? I will still work consistently and frequently on the verbal cues like whoa, walk, stand.
Happy trails!
Heather
Figured I would mention about the bolded--OTTBs sometimes will have this problem. I've run into it a few times. They're used to heavy contact and leaning on the bit during racing, so sometimes pressure is their "on" button. This gets better with time, but it might be another part of the package you're working with.

Good luck! I love OTTBs. Such wonderful horses. :)
     
    06-04-2012, 11:39 AM
  #7
Started
Sounds like a classic OTTB. On the track, saddle and bridle = hard, fast, exciting work out. Very little attention is paid to flexibility, softness, or even being easy to handle. They don't do much turning or stopping and no backing up. As a result they often get excited when saddled(know a gelding that is in his early 20's and still shakes when being saddled) and saddle, rider and bridle mean go fast. It will take time, patience and lots of flexing, circles and repetition.
     
    06-07-2012, 08:35 AM
  #8
JPD
Foal
Was having the same problem with a horse we rescued and I think he was a barrel horse that was only raced and never road for pleasure. Here is the link to my post. Horse runs off under saddle

Basically, start from scratch with round pen work. Build the respect and trust between you and your horse, when you and he have mastered this move to riding in the round pen, retraining him to walk under saddle. It takes time we have been at it for weeks but bcan now go out for a ride without him getting hot. The key is the trust & respect between you and him, if you got it he will listen to you when you say walk. If you don't have it he will defualt to what he knows, run and run hard. All four of mine came from rescue, Ash is a TB and he was kinda hot the barrel horse , Wally, was 10x harder to retrain.

I found these on the tube and think this guy does a good job expaining the steps. He is working with a unbroke horse but the process is basically the same. I do this with EVER horse we get because most horses do not know these things. Good luck and take it a step at a time.

SecondChanceEquine - YouTube

We didn't start getting good reponse from Wally untill we got to desniting training on balls and tarps. That was the point when he really started trusting us and listening under saddle.
     
    06-08-2012, 11:39 PM
  #9
Foal
Yes, JulianeAHS, he isn’t mean at all, just confused. I try to stop him at a walk and he takes off. Going forward I will do a lot of moves to ask for flexion, be patient and reward the good things. He does stand just fine while I’m getting on, and will stand while I adjust my footing or just sit up there until I tell him to go. I find its the contact with the bit that gives him anxiety (I’m not being rough or have a harsh bit either.) heymckate and blue spark, I’m glad you brought it up, because sure enough, he has a lip tattoo! I didn’t know he had been a racehorse! It all makes sense now, heavy contact equaling “go” mode. I always use voice commands for walk, whoa, stop and stand even walking to and from the barn on the lead. He lunges better everytime. More relaxed and getting my cues. I will do a lot of patterns when we ride and reward him for giving me flexibility. I just need to communicate well with my seat and legs too without confusing him. JPD- what you mentioned about desensitizing training is a really good idea to incorporate. He is a nervous nelly. Lol. I will try to incorporate some of that in our training too. Love the Second Chance horse rescue videos. I watched a bunch already and see where I need to go with more groundwork. Thanks! You’ve all been really really helpful!
     

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