Attitude when asked to trot - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 10-05-2007, 02:15 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2007
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Attitude when asked to trot


I'm new to this forum and just wondering if I can get some advice on a little problem I'm having.

I've been having a bit of an issue with my horse....4yr old thoroughbred originally from the racetrack....
When I ride him, he's fine at the walk, but over the last month or so, when I ask for a trot, he pins his ears back, tosses his head, turns his head to try and bite my leg, often also kicking out his heels abit, threatening to buck or rear. It's really getting to be annoying. Some days, it's only the pinned ears and head tossing and I can push him through to the trot and he chills out, but other days he's downright nasty and quite intimidating. I know if I don't push him through this behaviour that I'll be effectively training him to do this, but sometimes he puts up a real fight. This is a relatively new behaviour
Otherwise, his ground manners are great, he lunges niceley (even at the trot)....he's generally a very sweet guy. He also doesn't seem sore in any way.

Any suggestions?

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post #2 of 6 Old 10-05-2007, 02:24 PM
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Blacksburg, VA
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Sounds like a pain issue to me. I'd think about how I was asking him for the trot and check your saddle fit and position.

ed. Pain or imbalance, I should say. What you describe is a reaction I've experienced in a lot on ottb's; they aren't really taught to balance themselves well with a rider in their early training. Especially if he has a long back, or the saddle is too far forward (interfering with the shoulder), he may just feel off-kilter and showing his frustration at it. Try to be very quiet with your aids when you ask him and make sure he knows you are about to ask him for something (half-halt). Talk to him also; if he's going well on the lunge, use your voice commands.
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post #3 of 6 Old 10-05-2007, 07:18 PM
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Florida
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Yes, I agree with Sara. I would get a chiropractor out to see him, and maybe an equine massage therapist.

As for your saddle.......triple check to make sure it fits him. Get a professional saddle fitter to look at your saddle. Like Sara said, you could have the saddle too far forward. Here is how I position a saddle.

Have someone else hold him. With a piece of chalk, mark the back of his scapula (shoulder). Lightly press on his shoulder until you feel it drop off, like the edge of a cliff. A lot of people are told to place the saddle directly behind THIS mark, but it's incorrect. Some horse's scapulas can move 6 inches further back from the resting position! So now, ask him to pick up his leg, bring it to your hip and stretch his leg out in front on him. With your other hand, lightly press around his shoulder until you feel it drop off again. Mark that with the chalk. This second mark is where his scapula moves at maximum extension. You want to place the first weight-bearing part of your saddle directly behind THIS mark. That way the saddle bars do not interfere with his shoulder movement. It gives him maximum freedom of his shoulder.

Now, when you place your saddle in this new position, you will notice that your saddle looks very 'downhill.' This is where SHIMMING comes into play. You will need to shim the saddle up so that it is level. Do you ride western or english?

For shimming material, get some felt that has some 'give' to it. That way when you shim the saddle, his shoulder will be able to press into a soft material, yet still be able to move. You will want to place the shims under the first screw, either on a western or english saddle. It's where the bars start.
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post #4 of 6 Old 10-06-2007, 01:18 AM
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Location: new jersey
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pain is always the first step. but if you have checked and feel certain it is not pain, my best suggestion is frustration. he may not yet be accustomed to the gate/cue/balance. racers go one direction, one speed, this effects their entire body, sometimes permanently. a client of mine actually has two different size/shape feet from it!
try to focus on flexibility exercises in both directions and make absolutely certain he gets praised everytime he goes into a trot (whether he argued first or not, after the hits a steady trot, lots of pats and nice words so he knows trot is a fun gait)

if none of that seems to work.... ummm.... well..... try, try again??
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post #5 of 6 Old 10-06-2007, 05:32 AM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Delregans Way Performance horses QLD AUS
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Hey, and welcome. I had the same problem with my 4yr old (when he was 4) although mine was in the canta mostly. I get all my tack fitted properally, it was just him. Having alot of attuide, it was just too much energy to canta. But yes as they stated above, check your tack and get him checked over by a chiroprator.

ALSO: I love Bowen therapy, it works wonders. I know many pple think it is crap, but i think it is wonderful!!

Delregans Way Performance Horses
Bundaberg, QLD
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post #6 of 6 Old 10-18-2007, 02:06 PM
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Location: Canada
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I had a bit of the same problem with my mare. At the time of her doing it about a year ago, she was a 3 year old pretty much right off the track. We had her back checked, and could press anywhere on her back and she wouldnt flinch, and had the saddle fitted properly, and everything was fine, she just had an attitude. She wasn't balanced with a rider on her in the trot, seeing as how all they have to do at the track is walk and then run as fast as they can with a rider on them, and they aren't trained to carry a rider while trotting. With my mare I worked a lot on getting her to relax and drop her head in the walk, because she was a typical TB off the track and had the head up in the air majority of the time. After that I started asking her to trot, and she would move into it easier and not be such a grump about it. It took a while for both me and my horse to get used to eachother and get balanced. I just kept working on transitions from walk to trot/trot to walk while having her keep her head lowered, and soon enough she wasnt tossing her head or having attitude about going into the trot. Not saying it will work for you, but thats what I did with my ottb
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