11-15-2013, 10:24 AM
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I used to retrain a lot of OTTBs and OTTQHs. Most are OK with a whip on the ground but only know how to run faster when you 'cock' or move a whip on their backs. I was able to get all of them to accept a whip. Some always got a little nervous, though.
One of the first things I did with every horse off of the track was teach it to 'give me its head'. This is now called a 'one rein stop'. Then, any time a horse tried to have a 'come apart' or tried to 'bolt', I could simply take its head away and bring it to an instant stop. Then, I would start all over with what made it come apart and after a few stops, it just gave up the behavior of blowing up or bolting. You MUST teach the horse to give you its head at all gaits BEFORE you try to take its head away in an emergency!!! This was about the first thing I taught every horse off of the track -- no exceptions.
I also found that it helped A LOT if I did not try carrying a whip when I first got on a horse. I introduced whips (like every other NEW or scary thing) at the end of a long ride. I figured out years ago that a 'fresh' horse was a lot more reactive than a tired one, so I do anything new (or upsetting) at the end of a long ride, never at the beginning of it.
Then, I used to start waving a whip when I was riding on rough trails (not dangerous ones hanging off of cliffs) and going into brush and really rocky and rough footing. Husband always rode to a place south of us where he could ride in deep sand where a creek changed courses. A horse does not stay silly or scared very long in ankle deep sand.
I went through this same routine if the X-race horse was going to be tried for polo or roping.
If this horse has already learned that it can bolt with you if you carry a whip, I would also do this:
First -- teach it to give you its head. That should be first no matter what.
Next -- at the end of a long ride, take him into a tiny pen (I would recommend one only 20 or 30 feet across) and get him to where he will let you move a whip around when he has no place to go. That would be a good time to end your ride, dismount there and lead him out.
Hope this helps.