My horse, Shadow has a tendency to try and Canter even when I haven't asked her. I will be Trotting and she will break into a Canter. Shadow being the difficult horse she is will buck if I hold her back. I can't get her to stop with anything but my hands because she just looses her brain and doesn't listen to any other aids. I hate pulling on her mouth even though I have a loos ring Happy Mouth snaffle on her. I just need to know hoe else I can get her to stop...and stop doing this because she knows the difference from my aids she just won't listen. I had an experienced friend get on her and she did it even for her...Pain has been ruled out...
My horse gets excited and can do this occasionally from a walk or trot. I usually bring him in small circles until he is back in the gait he started then move out straight or on the bigger circle. It takes two or three tries until he gets the idea. Usually works much better than just holding them back.
First I will relate an account of the first ride I took with my horse with other horses when he was about 2 1/2 years old. He kept wanting to break into a higher gait no matter what gait we were in. Normally, what I do is double my horse in a very tight circle and then go on. This works good when you are alone. However, when in the company of other riders they get further ahead which tends to make the horse even more reactive. On this ride my horse got to the point that he began giving a buck or two when I slowed him down. I finally got off of him and banged him back about a hundred yards and when he stopped I kicked the dung out of him. When I remounted he was good for the rest of the ride. He had enough time on him that he should have known better. I just had to remind him who was boss. When a horse becomes ingrained with a dangerous habit it is then difficult to overcome the behavior, especially the particular one you describe and it often progresses to something more dangerous such as bucking. The problem here is that you are concerned with hurting your horse's mouth in the short term when you should be doing whatever is necessary to keep your horse from becoming unusable in the long term. I have no doubt I will be criticized here for the action I took with my two year old but my horse went on to become a wonderful, safe riding and driving horse.
Have you truly evaluated what you are doing when this happens to be certain you are not asking her w/out realizing it/meaning to?
How old is the horse and what sort of training has she had done with her?
Well my friend who got on her is an adult since I am only 14 and don't have much experience (7 years) and she is a very experienced rider and Shadow did it with her too. We have been riding together working together to try and get Shadow to stop doing this and countless rides isn't working...I have tried half halts...Everything. And so has my friend/trainer. But thanks for all the great suggestions. Turning her in tight circles works until my unbelievable smart horse can throw a buck in the circle. Don't ask how she does this but she can do it and she can do it good. So I am lost here. Shadow is 14 and she was barley halter broke at nine. She bounced from home to home from birth until she was nin so she didn't get good consistent training. I have basically trained this horse myself with my friend. But she is kinda messed up not having that training...
This winter while my home barn's ring is out of commission, I've been riding a lazy lesson horse...and he wants to break into a lope when I haven't asked for a canter of any kind, and he's doing it to avoid my actual request, which is to move into a more collected trot. The collected trot takes more effort than the canter for him. Any chance this kind of thing (breaking into a faster gait to avoid the work of a "better" slower one) is what is going on?
Horses are a 'herd animal' by nature. You have to actually 'train' them to listen to their rider instead of place 'being with their herd' as first and foremost in their minds.
It is not related to age or to training level under other circumstances. They may be high level show horses and still get crazy when left behind on a group ride out on the trail. When they head out on the trail with other horses, unless they have been trained to still be a submissive member of your 'herd of two', they instantly become a happy member of the new herd they are now with.
We start out schooling horses with two horses and riders. We play the 'leapfrog game'. This is where we start out together and then one horse goes ahead out of sight. The horse left behind is trotted in circles, trotted back the other direction or gotten off of and tied to a tree until they settle down.
When they finally walk quietly, they are trotted forward until they pass the first horse and are expected to go on past it quietly. This game is 'played' for as many days as it takes for them to learn that life goes on when they are separated from their current herd.
We start doing this when we first start going out on the trail with a green horse. The ones that we are training now, went out on the trail about their 4th or 5th ride. Their very first ride started with 2 horses and they were ridden off from the other horse on that very first ride.
We have found that the sooner you deal with their 'herd mentality', the easier it is to get good trail manners. Good trail manners (all necessary for any good trail horse) includes the willingness of a horse to stay behind when all the other horses disappear ahead of them.
When I ride a horse as a 'guide horse' on about 3 or 4 trail rides, I know I have to take him out with a colt and do the leap-frog thing or at least do the 'ride off in different directions' thing because he will try to whinny and will not be happy about going on or being left behind. It is just part of the ongoing training that every horse needs to become and stay a good trail horse.
The two main things that every horse is 'hard-wired' for are:
1) Their dependance on their herd for safety.
2) Their natural response to danger or perceived danger is 'flight'.
You spend much of every horse's riding life, training them to listen to their rider instead of natural herd and flight instincts. The sooner you start on these with a green horse, the sooner you get a dependable 'fearless' trail horse.
With horses with no whoa, keep her cantering until you feel her lugging under you. She will be puffing and wanting to slow down. Keep her going. You will become aware that she really wants to slow down. Push a little farther then ask for whoa. I'll bet she stops on a dime. Allow her to stand for maybe 15 seconds then walk her quietly until her breathing returns to normal. The walking is important to prevent lactic acid buildup in the muscles. Try cantering again. She will tire faster this time but you are reinforcing what you want. I've never seen it take a third time.