how to fix this? - Page 3

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how to fix this?

This is a discussion on how to fix this? within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category

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        12-22-2009, 04:58 PM
    Originally Posted by barnprincess    

    As I've worked with over 20 OTT tbs I don't suggest them to people who have not the slightest clue in re training them and starting over. Most ott tbs need a down time to be a horse. We turned ours out for 2 - 6 months THEN started from ground work up. That's how you do it the right way. If you don't know how to fix it I suggest you get off the board and call a REAL trainer or some one who actually knows what they are doing.
    I have a feeling we may not agree on a whole lot but I do agree with this^^^.

    If YOUR trainer doesn't have the experience then find one that does. Knowing the reason behind the behavior isn't always important. Sometimes you just need to show them an easier way and the horse will leave the old behavior behind.
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        12-22-2009, 08:40 PM
    Beware: a novel is ahead!

    My husband paced tbs at Remington Park, in OKC for 6 years. Most tbs are mild dolls on the ground. It's only when they're mounted that they know they're going to work. Here is what I KNOW as fact: Racehorses aren't taught anything but forward motion by their trainers. That being said, they WON'T know how to be a riding horse.

    Originally Posted by barnprincess    
    dont want to get off topic here but I have to disagree.... OTTT's are pretty high stung 90% of the time and only want to run. Most rh's period know when it's time to race, and it's then that they get most worked up. When my husband was galloping them, sometimes he had to whip the crud out of them to get them to run. But there are very many that are pretty hyper with a rider. Then there are some that have the on/off button. re-training them, esp one whos been on the track 9 years is going to be a very hard task as he's never done ANYTHING else but run an oval.... This is very true. Imagine moving to another culture and having to learn a new language without a translator. It's going to take some time. i've got 3 relatives who train and jockey at belmont and my best friend jockeys and we've trained a few who came off the track with bow's , chips after rehab of up to 7 months off.. EVERY horse is diffrent some come off the track sane but that's about 1 in every 100 maybe higher.. I don't think the number is THAT slim, as the majority of the professional barrel horses are OTTBs. it's not easy. Oh and a lot of those 'little men' just hang on believe it or not. It's NOT easy, imagine standing on the sides of the seat of your saddle on a running MACH 1 horse. And a lot of the time that is spent on their backs outside of a race is by people the trainers direct, and not an actual trainer. It is up to the trainer to decide who works the horses and to design their individual workouts depending on what each horse needs/lacks. My husband is not a "Little man." He's short, but has weighed 160lbs since high school. The jockeys and their equipment must be under 115lbs when racing, but to build strength and endurance, heavier riders are put on them to pace and train. not the same jockey always trains that rides the race. Most of the time yes. Not always though. Usually not the case. There are trainers, and there are jockeys. Trainers are there to "train" the horse. Basically, they oversee the workout process and make sure the horse is fed and supplemented correctly, they handle the business end, the sales, etc. Jockeys are mostly hired out by the trainers. just keep in mind its not a day in the park re training an ottt.
    This horse you have may or may not be in that hyper percentage.

    Here's what my husband gave me as background, and what he has suggested.

    For background, the typical day for a racehorse is this:

    Fed first thing AM in a 12x12 stall
    He is put on a walker for 30mins
    Brought out, rode hard (ONLY ON THE LEFT LEAD)for at least an hour
    back on the walker for 30mins
    put back in the 12x12 stall
    Fed again at night.

    This is what your horse has lived and breathed for all those years. My husband said, "If that was MY horse, he would NEVER see a walker, and he would NEVER see a stall. He should be turned out in a run, and if at all possible, in the arena I'm going to be riding him in so he can see that it's not a track, and get comfortable with the boundaries. He's going to have ground work, every day, and I wouldn't even get on his back until his transitions are keen. I want him to know "Whoa." and "back." because they don't learn this. All they learn is "GO STRAIGHT!" They don't learn stop, they don't learn turn, they don't learn back, they don't learn leg cues. Those are all things that need to be approached as I would on a colt that doesn't know anything. He has only been worked on that left lead, and when the jockey rides around the corners, the horse does not know to turn, the jockey has a constant pressure in that horses mouth and turns his nose in for him."

    He put both his fists together, directly in front of him and says, "Look, this is all the jockey has to do to crank his face enough to get around the bend." and he rocked his left fist forward, enough to shorten the left rein. He said he would work on getting the horse light in the face, getting him to flex left and right so well he thinks you're stupid for making him do it. Since he's used to the constant pressure in his mouth, "You may want to put a twisted wire or a small shank bit in his mouth so he learns that it's there as a learning tool, and not to brace against. The best bet would be to ride him in the roundpen, or in a really small pen so he can get used to the boundaries you set, and learn to respond to your cues. Whatever you do, you do NOT want to expose him to anything he's associated with running, if anything, you want to deter him from it. Also, you might work him in a long, narrow pen, like an alley, and try my WTC to the middle, then work on his transitioning down from CTW. He will learn that he has to stop at the end, and it will be narrow enough that he won't be able to turn and bolt."

    Whatever you do, try to keep him from his old routine. Work him as slow and patiently as you can. If you get to where he gets away with a mistake, even once, he's going to think he's doing the right thing, and he'll keep doing it. If you hit a bump in the road, don't be discouraged, just do something you know he's good at, and end your session confidently. If you have any other questions, please, feel free to ask!

    Consider longing before a ride to be a warm up for a race, as that's what he's learned all these years. OTTBs should longe after you ride, if you're going to. Most times, the more you run and work a TB, the more endurance he's going to build. So teach him to go slow, and that it's ok to just "ride."
        12-22-2009, 08:54 PM
    Originally Posted by barnprincess    
    if you read what I said that's not true. . . My hrose rode in an ill fitting saddle for THREE MONTHS without incident. Untill she had enough of being pinched and exploded into a bronco. Three times she did this untill I realized hey idiot somethings wrong. And sure enough her saddle was sqeezing and pinching her shoulder movment as most ill fitting saddles do. Look up on you tube how to make sure. And unless you had a fitter look you can't be 'know for a fact' because I said that too untill I had a professional come.
    We've done the "chalking" process and whatnot...the only problems were his withers, as they're enormous (like most TBs) so I also use one of those English half-pads under the regular western one. I can almost fit both of my hands stacked on top of each other in between the pommel and his withers, and there's light coming from the back when he drops his head.

    Originally Posted by barnprincess    
    as I've worked with over 20 OTT tbs I don't suggest them to people who have not the slightest clue in re training them and starting over. Most ott tbs need a down time to be a horse. We turned ours out for 2 - 6 months THEN started from ground work up. That's how you do it the right way. If you don't know how to fix it I suggest you get off the board and call a REAL trainer or some one who actually knows what they are doing.
    He was out to pasture for a whole year before I bought him and started working with him. I say that's she's never re-trained a horse to this degree because, although she's retrained horses, its been to the effect of "a show jumper to a barrel horse" or something like that....something with basic knowledge of how to actually be ridden.

    In the round pen, he's excellent. It takes him two minutes and he's a different horse, he'll follow me around, stop and go based on my boy language, all of that jazz. So what would be the next step up after that, other than riding? BP, since you've done this so many other times, your advice would be what I'm looking for....I want to be as big of a part in re-training him as possible, but everyone just seems to want to tell me "leave it to the professionals". Well those people had to start somewhere, its not like you're born with this knowledge. So suggestions of how to do this, how to "fill the hole" are what I'm looking for.
        12-22-2009, 09:05 PM
    Just as a random edit, possibly for future reference, whatever.....

    I have his race records. They came complete with notes made my the trainers, and most of them said that he started out strong, and then gave up towards the end, which is why he didn't win. I've seen some of his race tapes from his later years, and that seems to be true. He may not have an on/off button, but I don't think that he was the "straining at the bit" type either.

    I have been considering going back to round pen riding until I can get him properly transitioning again, but I never considered working in a chute....I always assumed that would get him going. We do have one on the barn property (our arena is made for rodeo events) so I'll definitely have to try that at some point.

    I ride him in a hackamore, he absolutely abhors any kind of bit in his mouth, as his mouth is actually kind of small. He does work very well in that, and its taught him to bend pretty efficiently also....however, when he gets running (as I found out a little too late) he still stiffens/ braces his neck.
        12-22-2009, 09:53 PM
    and there's light coming from the back when he drops his head.
    that means its pitching in the back and means it DOES NOT fit.

    I would do tons and tons of ground work. Keep joining up with him , keep him thinking keep working on respect and transitions with your voice. Untill you have all that perfect I woulden't ride him . Work him in the arena free lunge , or on a lunge let him see where your going to ride him and that it's not a track.
        12-22-2009, 10:18 PM
    I believe I said this in an earlier post that I really would rather not over-lunge him.... too much stress on his joints that have already been stressed out enough. Plus our round pen is small, I think something like 50 feet. It could be less. Here's a link to the picture....that pole in the center isn't there anymore, but you can see that its not very big.

    At a minimum, I was riding him three times a week...I've let up on that and he's since gotten fat, but I prefer to work in the saddle rather than on the ground with him.

    Maybe I should take some pictures of saddle fit then and post it up here. They told me once when it looked a little funny (when I went out and bought the half pad) so I would assume the people at my barn would show the same courtesy again if it was really that wrong. I still don't know how an ill fitting saddle would make him speed up suddenly when I asked him to slow down, however. He's had no problems planting his feet when something was wrong before.

    On another note....we've been working for six months. At what point would I stop the ground work? He does transition very well with my voice alone, but its not perfect....its perfect when I can be on his back and use my seat to clue him in.
        12-22-2009, 11:03 PM
    Originally Posted by justsambam08    
    I ride him in a hackamore, he absolutely abhors any kind of bit in his mouth, as his mouth is actually kind of small. He does work very well in that, and its taught him to bend pretty efficiently also....however, when he gets running (as I found out a little too late) he still stiffens/ braces his neck.
    Are you refering to a bosal hackamore or a mechanical hackamore? He obviously can wear a snaffle and has for 7 1/2 years of his life so he should deffinately be used to it. You should work on bending more. Learn how to do a one rein stop CORRECTLY and get him breaking at the poll. Use light steady pressure and release as soon as he gives even a tiny bit. Start this standing still and work up to going at a walk. When you can get and hold vertical flexion for a few strides then do it at the trot and so on. You have to get him soft in the face and soft through the body. I would bet that you can't yield his hindquarters. This is a must. Your horse also needs to back with lightness and cadence. You also do this with light steady pressure and a leg cue(squeezing).

    1. Yield the hindquarters both directions with ease.

    2. Ask for and maintain vertical flexion at all gaits.

    3. Back with lightness and cadence.
        12-22-2009, 11:27 PM
    I'm talking about one of the english hackamores.

    Korsteel English Hackamore Weatherbeeta Inc (Equine - Horse Tack Supplies - Bits - Working)

    Wearing a bit for racing might as well not be wearing a bit at all....all they do is blow past it. He is much more willing as far as bending, turning, and stopping goes in the hackamore than in the bit. I can hold my reins in one hand and squeeze, and he'll stop. I bought a plain d-ring and ditched it after almost four months of struggling to get him to work in it.

    He actually backs better than he walks forward sometimes. I spent something like two weeks straight breaking him of his gate sourness by backing up (he wouldn't turn left or right, so I'd back him up ten steps and ask him to turn again. If he didn't turn then, I'd back him up some more) When he doesn't feel like going forward while free lunging, he'll walk backwards. That's actually pretty funny to see. How I cue is I move my seat/weight forward, and squeeze my reins in my hand ( creates light pressure on his nose ) and tell him to back. The difference between the "stopping" and the "backing" cue are that my hands are lower, in between my belly button and my hips, whereas for a stop, my hands are in front of the pommel/horn. To him, leg pressure means "forward", or "faster".

    On the ground, he bends very nicely (with the hackamore on), but in the saddle he does have some trouble to the left....he'll turn pretty good, but that's with my left leg pressure and right rein on his neck. How can I get him to bend around without food, which is what people suggest to me? Usually he just assumes I'm trying to back him and starts moving.

    I guess pictures AND video are in order, although they might have to wait until my tailbone is a little less sore.
        12-23-2009, 04:50 AM
    I know that I am probably treading where I have no business going as I have never tried to re-train an ex-race horse, I have ridden steeplechasers though and that was hard work.

    I was reading your post and I have a couple of questions. You say that your horse is excellent with groundwork and that you have achieved everything that needs to be achieved. I am wondering if this is quite true, you see I am coming at this as a person who has been in a very similar situation. You say that your horse is excellent at backing, so good in fact that he does it to avoid other exercises. You can have a horse that does the required things on the ground but that does not neccessarily mean that they are well schooled. I have come to understand that it is not just the movement of an exercise but MORE IMPORTANTLY the cessation of an exercise. It is very hard to explain what I mean. For example if you want your horse to move from a feel, well anyone can give a horse a push and get them moving, the question is does your horse stop at the point that you want it to stop? If you want to circle the hind quarters of your horse do his front feet stay almost still or does your horse walk forward while doing the exercise? If he is walking forward in order to circle his hind quarters he is not doing it correctly - though still doing the excersize - on his terms. You also said that he assumes that you are are trying to back him and starts moving. I know that this is from the saddle but if you had a clear backing signal on the ground that would transfer to under saddle. You want to use as close as possible the same signals on the ground as you do for riding so it translates easily.

    I am just wondering if you have achieved everything on the ground that needs to be achieved.
        12-23-2009, 07:56 AM
    I think I understand what you're saying....moving his hindquarters, no, he does stay perfectly still with his fronts. Moving his forequarters however is where he has trouble....if I remember correctly its on his left side also. On his right, he can cross his legs over and give me an excellent front turn around/side pass, but he only does it sometimes to the left. The cues can be exactly the same (I actually made sure of it when I tried to film him not doing it one day) and he just seems stiff in the left shoulder/neck area. He only does the backing to the left, I think because he can't naturally bend the way he can to the right.

    When we're bending from the ground, I stand underneath his neck (I actually fit there, lol) with the opposite hand of the way I want to bend on his face. I do a gentle push/pressure, and it usually takes him three times to reach all the way back on the right. On the left side, he stiffens up and jerks his head away a lot more, so we work a lot slower....A lot of times I end up poking him in the place where his shoulder and his neck meet "no, bend here" In the saddle I make sure to use zero leg pressure and bring the rein I want him to bend into around slowly, with complete slack in the other side (I use the thick trail reins). Should I start doing it against a fence so he has nowhere to go (although he'll probably be cheeky and start moving forward)?

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