Diamond in the rough - another ex trotter; help please!!

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Diamond in the rough - another ex trotter; help please!!

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    12-30-2010, 09:29 PM
Question Diamond in the rough - another ex trotter; help please!!

Hi everyone

I've joined the forum as i'm in need of some advice.

My friend has recently acquired and ex trotter. He's a beautiful boy, and has a temperement to die for!

Anyway, she's asked for help in the task of re-schooling and training him. Obviously we've gone back to basics, with him being an ex-trotter he's never had any proper schooling before and so we're taking baby steps! Lol (bless him, he's so willing as well)

So i've started lungeing him & have noticed a vast improvement in only a few sessions. I've also ridden him several times and it's just the same old problem - giddiness/trotting habits!! Grrr! Anyway, when I was instructing my friend today I thought i'd put some trotting poles down to help him slow down a bit...oh no! I have honestly never seen a horse so scared of a trotting pole in my life! Now i'm stuck, do I A) force him over the poles & risk undoing all the good work i've done so far? Or B) find a way (this is where you guys come in btw!) of helping him overcome this fear of poles and gradually build up to it?

I really hope to hear from you guys as this little horse is an absolute diamond & has so much potential once we overcome the primary issues!

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    12-30-2010, 09:41 PM
Green Broke
So I am going to assume this horse is a Standardbred since you said he was an ex-trotter? Has he had time to let down after being pulled off the track? Why was he pulled off the track?

Lots of Standardbreds, as well as Thoroughbreds, wear shadow rolls to prevent them from seeing shadows on the track, as there are normally a ton of lights, which make shadows off of the other light poles. I even heard of a TB horse jumping over the dark spots that the light poles created because they thought it was a hole.

It is very possible, since this horse has only recently been introduced to ring work, that he has never seen a trotting pole in his life and is wondering what the heck you are trying to get him to do. I think your best course of action would be to do some unmounted work with him around the poles. Walk him over them. Show him that they aren't scary at all. Change the distances up slightly so that he understands that he needs to step over them. Then trot him over them on a lunge, but space them far enough a part that he can take several steps in between. Once he is going over them, then go back to walking over them under the saddle...working your way up to a trot.
    12-30-2010, 09:49 PM
From the given info what I would do is hand walk him towards the pole ( get him tired before doing this) and just keep rewarding him when you get closer and throw in some circles when needed. If the horse if food motivated then use a bit of food. Then when he will go over it ( make sure you walk over it first to show him it won't eat him) reward again then stop and move on or stop for the day. After he get good at walking over the pole well, then try lounging him over it and then eventually you hopefully can ride him over it.

To help him slow/calm down I would lunge him before getting on.

I hope that will help. BTW Is he a STB? Good luck!!
    12-30-2010, 09:57 PM
Green Broke
Originally Posted by stormy and trobby    
If the horse if food motivated then use a bit of food. Then when he will go over it ( make sure you walk over it first to show him it won't eat him) reward again then stop and move on or stop for the day.
I agree with your post except for the bit that is ^^ up there.

Of course this is just my opinion, so you can still do this if you want.

I do not encourage food rewards for anything. This could lead to the horse thinking he should get a treat every time he (insert learned behaviour here). You are better off praising with a "good boy!" and a few pats.
    12-31-2010, 08:53 AM
Thanks guys, much appreciated.

As far as I know (his past is a little sketchy to say the least) he was used only as a road trotter, though I know he is from racing stock.

Thanks for the tips on the polework, i'll definitely give that a go.

And as for lungeing before riding - i'm waaaay ahead of you on that girls lol its the only way you CAN ride him at the moment!!

    12-31-2010, 10:44 AM
Green Broke
My first horse was and still is a STB mare and she hated going over trotting pole! She either avoided them or tried to jump them! Lol so just be careful incase he tries to jump them.
    01-02-2011, 04:16 PM
Thanks guys!

Pole work is really coming on - he can now walk over three poles in a row calmly & quietly - thanks for the warning Ray, the first time I took him over could have been disastrous had I not been expecting it!!!
    01-02-2011, 07:04 PM
Green Broke
No prob! And I'm glad he's doing so good! Keep up the good work!

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