The Need For Speed - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 08-12-2013, 02:30 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2013
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Unhappy The Need For Speed

About one year ago I broke my horse and am just recently trying to hone in on certain problems. My main problem is speed. I avoid letting her run as much as possible so she doesn't think that is all we will do, but as soon as I let her break a walk all she wants to do is GO GO GO. She trots so fast it is impossible to post and I cant take her in pleasure or equitation classes because her canter is a sprint. I have tried different bits from tom thumbs and hackamores to snaffles and curbs. I just can't get her to slow down. Any suggestions?
I plan on going into jumping because she has a natural ability for it but the fact that she goes so fast over ground poles and cavalettis worries me. I don't want her to hurt herself, or me if we ever try to really get into jumping. Thanks for your time!!
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post #2 of 4 Old 08-12-2013, 02:43 PM
Join Date: Jul 2008
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This isn't a bit problem. Are you 100% sure that your saddle fits her? Tack pain can sometimes cause horses to try to "run away" from the pain.

If it fits, then it's a training issue. I just posted the other day on a thread with a similar problem so I'll just link to that post...

Exited horse won't listen. Help!
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post #3 of 4 Old 08-12-2013, 10:08 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2009
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What do you do when she runs?

I think you've got to look at why this problem has occurred. Assuming you've checked all pain sources, I'd look back over what you've done. Do you remember the first time she did this? What she do and what was your reaction?

I would probably start by doing a lot of arena work, turns, circles, serpentines and transitions. Walk and trot. When she runs I'd give the aid for her to slow. Remember as soon as she responds to your aid to release the pressure. For now I'd probably work in stages. Ask for "slower" and even if you get a little but not as slow as you want, release the pressure, then ask again. Until you get steady pace, I'd probably ride with only a very light contact.

Another thing I've seen used sucessfully is the one rein stop used as a "shutdown" aid. Basically whenever the horse does something it shouldn't, like start running, you one rein stop them. The trick is that whatever you choose to do stick with it and do it everytime. Never give in, never let them go this once. Always have the same response and the same progression.

Last edited by Saskia; 08-12-2013 at 10:16 PM.
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post #4 of 4 Old 08-12-2013, 10:30 PM
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Mid Northern TN
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There are really two different ways to go about things once you've confirmed that pain (medical, saddle fit, etc) are not an issue. One is to get the speed you want for a moment, release (reward), realize she'll rush, pull her back firmly/one rein stop then release (reward) for the correct speed again, which she'll probably only hold for a moment before rushing again, then repeat. You might repeat this cycle 50 times or more in 5 minutes of riding. If your timing is good, it is very effective. I finally got my guy to give me a nice even trot (rather than jouncy speed demon) and am getting a jog this way.

What you don't want to do is just try to 'hold her' back to a speed on a tight rein. That just makes rushing worse and will never work if you want a nice relaxed horse who will stay at a given speed on a loose rein or light contact. She has to learn to choose to control her speed herself. So let her make the 'wrong' choice, correct her, and repeat until she starts choosing correctly.

The other method, that requires space, skill and also endurance on your part, is to let her run it out until she tires and wants to slow down, and then keep her running a bit further before asking her to slow down on *your* request. This works best with lazy or unfit horses unless you want to be out there all day. On my guy it worked beautifully for his canter, because once he realized that if he started rushing he might have to keep running, he decided that it was easier to just not rush off at a gallop in the first place.
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