Hot TW (ridden by a novice) - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 04-04-2011, 12:18 PM Thread Starter
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Hot Tennessee Walker (ridden by a novice)

Hi, started riding Tennesee Walkers with friends at field trials several years ago. Got hooked. Bought Spot a year ago. Spot is a 16 yr old, that was supposedly taught bad habits and bullied previous owners. He was used as a "spotting horse" by bird dog trainer, which basically means that he got rode and worked hard the 2 years my friend owned him.
I brought him home and rode him all over the township. Not sure if it's what he likes, or just what he's used to, but he always wants to GO!
I can put a kid on him and he walks around gentle as can be.
He also does alot of head shaking.
Last spring when i got him I think I overdid it a bit the first week. The 7th day he locked up on me, and did this several more times last summer.
When he would do this he would be very wound up, muscles quivering.
I realize maybe not the best choice of first horse(as my champion barrel racing girlfriend repeatedly points out), but I'm sure i have learned more than I would have on a dead head, and realize I haven't even begun as far as all I need to learn!!
So, that's why I am here, and open to suggestions and advice.
I listened to an endurance riding lecture at the Hoosier Horse Expo last weekend, and am wondering if this is a good direction for Spot and I.

Last edited by mruelh; 04-04-2011 at 12:28 PM. Reason: better title
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post #2 of 11 Old 04-04-2011, 12:39 PM
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You need to get his tying up issue under control before you even consider doing endurance. I'm assuming that's what you mean by 'locked up'.

Just because a horse has a lot of energy doesn't mean they'll be good endurance mounts. Endurance horses have vet checks before, during, and after a ride, and many of them are dismissed from the ride if their fitness levels are lacking.

Also, endurance is done primarily at the trot. Cantering for extended periods is frowned upon. The idea is to make decent time, but not overtire the animal. Fitness levels at the end of the ride are part of the overall scoring.

If he's head shaking, when was the last time you had his teeth looked at by a vet? Horses rarely head shake 'just because'.

It's not unusual for a ramped up horse to turn into a lamb when children are placed on their back. They seem to know that these are small, fragile beings.

You want the truth? You can't HANDLE the truth!
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post #3 of 11 Old 04-04-2011, 12:45 PM Thread Starter
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Yes, I am aware of some that would go into the endurance rides. Got some pretty good info at the lecture, and would start with resting heart rate and of course alot of conditioning! There are limited distance competetive trail rides that I think would be my starting point providing we get through our other issues.
I had his teeth floated, as well as coggins and vet check before I brought him here from Mississippi.
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post #4 of 11 Old 04-04-2011, 01:13 PM
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I have a tennessee walker also, and when I first got him I wondered what I was thinking, because he moves out with more gusto than my quarter horses. But I finally figured out thats just him...and possibly a walker thing. A friend of mine has a walker too, and on any trail ride they just tend to out distance the other horses because their walk is just so much more energetic, now that I have gotten used to it, I really enjoy riding him..but I guess to some that were not used to him he would probably seem "Hot". But he is fabulous with kids, and even if Im riding him and he may not want to do something...he may try a bit to fight me but nothing dangerous..which I love, just ensures I dont get bored. And with kids he absolutely loves to please, and get attention. But any endurance stuff, definetly would have to condition and get your horse checked out by a vet as to why hes tying up. Mine is also one of those easy keepers that tends to be fat on just grass/hay. My walker also has great attitude towards new things (wish my quarter horse was the same:)...new things that are scary to other horses just make him determined to check it out..he may snort the whole way to the object/thing..but its like obsession to him to check new things out. I laugh because there are times I have to make him leave something out in a field etc because the others are leaving us and dont want to wait:)
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post #5 of 11 Old 04-04-2011, 01:16 PM
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To add on the headshaking, if his teeth have been floated, try a different bit..sometimes that helps. I just have my walker on a myler o-ring snaffle with the comfort break in the middle...but different bits can cause horses to head shake too if its not what they like. And Snap always moves out like hes on a mission and wont stop until he thinks we are done.

Last edited by hhadavis; 04-04-2011 at 01:19 PM.
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post #6 of 11 Old 04-04-2011, 10:20 PM
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If he was floated a year ago, he may need to be rechecked at this point.

I think just an over all health check to figure out what may be causing him to tie up, and then just slowly bring him back up to fitness.

My mare is a Walker cross (QH is her other half), and she just likes to move too, so he may just be one that doesn't move out slowly with his head down like a pleasure horse; I would say as long as his behavior doesn't interfere with your cues to stop, or turn, or slow down, whatever, just move with him, and enjoy the ride. Part of his 'anxiety' if it really is anxiousness could be coming from your lack of experience, so just be aware of how you are feeling in the saddle...relax, and breathe.

"The ideal horseman has the courage of a lion, the patience of a saint, and the hands of a woman..."
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post #7 of 11 Old 04-04-2011, 10:33 PM
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Honestly... Endurance would turn this horse into a monster at this point.

If a horse has a lot of go that you can't control, don't take him. Endurance magnifies hot horses ten fold. He'll be uncontrollable by the time he gets through conditioning and running a few 25s.

Slow him down before you speed him up again. Running races clicks something in a horse's mind that makes then GO, sometimes constantly and incurably. You want to be able to calm your horse down to a quiet dog walk at any point. Fix the locking up and his speed issues before you do any endurance.

I rode my little endurance prospect a little too hard for a few weeks and she turned into a speed beast. Head throwing, rushing through my hands... I couldn't go on pleasant rides anymore. It was all about the GO. I had to spend twice as much time slowing her back down as I did conditioning her.
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post #8 of 11 Old 04-05-2011, 11:14 AM Thread Starter
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Thanx!!

Brighteyes, you're answer has really hit upon my problem,(that maybe I didn't express well enough).
Being ridden hard and fast was exactly what this horse did for 2 years in the field trials. Though when I first got him I will admit he scared me, I can and do control him now, at least from running off with me.....but this is my main problem;It's just not enjoyable to fight him all the time!!!!!
I am as soft in his mouth as I can possibly be, and suspect some of our problem may be that he remembers and knows the completely green rider I was a year ago.

So, please tell me your method for slowing him down.
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post #9 of 11 Old 04-05-2011, 08:29 PM
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Slowing them down is tough, especially ones like your boy, who has had two years, not two months, of excessive speed. My girl had the advantage of not having it impressed on her mind as much as your walker does. (Speaking of, she is a part TWH -- the rest is NSH. Little coincidences.)

For the first rides, I allow nothing beyond a slow flat walk. If he speeds up, try the following:

If the area is open enough, I would pull him into a circle (relatively small -- 30 feet or so) and allowed him struggle. He can trot, pace, walk... His choice, but he wasn't getting anywhere. He hopefully will realize that all going fast will do is halt progress and make hard work for him , so he will slow to a normal walk . Once he is calmed down, allowed him to walk forwards along the trail as usual. The second he starts trying to take off again, repeat the circling.

In a perfect world, you would first do this exercise in an arena, so he gets the point before heading out onto the trail and already knows a little of what you're asking for.

The KEY is to be consistent.. Never let him get away with changing speeds without permission. The other most important thing is to never get mad. Go into the ride with patience, knowing what is about to happen isn't going to be fun for either of you. When circling, act like it's a nothing special section of trail. Let him figure it out without worrying about how mad his rider is.

I have several different slowing down methods. If this doesn't work, we can try another. It depends on the horse. What worked for my speed demon may not work with yours. Your speedy will probably also take several weeks to "fix". Keep the faith! Nothing is impossible.
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post #10 of 11 Old 04-05-2011, 08:54 PM Thread Starter
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Thanx. I will let you know how we do tomorrow!
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