My gelding wants to rush down hill...
 
 

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My gelding wants to rush down hill...

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  • Would a minature pony walk up a steep hill on its own
  • Horse rushes down hills and bucks

 
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    05-24-2010, 11:58 AM
  #1
Yearling
My gelding wants to rush down hill...

Any tips on how to slow him down a bit? He is great going up, but rushes a tad more than I'd like going down. I have a few ideas, just curious if anyone has any tips I haven't considered. Thanks!
     
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    05-24-2010, 04:38 PM
  #2
Yearling
Make him kind of weave when going downhill. Hold the right rein a few strides and make him go a little right, then hold the left rein and make him go a little left. It does two things...when only using one rein at a time they can't brace on the bit so they have to slow down and carry themselves. The second thing it does is that it weights each leg pretty independently when they are doing a slight turn when going down hill so they will sit a little hard on their butt and will lift each foot a little higher. The key is to only hold each rein for long enough to tip the head and shoulder. You don't want to be turning them sideways or else they might just decide to turn around and go back up the hill instead. You can also do things like a very gentle check and release the whole way down the hill to help them continuously weight the back end a little more than the front. However, don't confuse a nice loose balanced walk for running away down the hill. Until your horse is in good shape, a very collected walk up or down hill is very difficult to do and sometimes they need to move out a little bit to maintain their balance.
     
    05-24-2010, 06:00 PM
  #3
Banned
Can you lengthen and shorten his stride on the flat? That's the key.

He's rushing, most likely, because he's unbalanced. Working on flat ground, make sure you can get three clear speeds of trot: a slow, sitting trot, an active, working trot and a lengthened trot (ask for this on a straightaway.)

When you feel like you've mastered this, find an area with a slight slope, and and ask for your shortened trot downhill and your lengthened trot uphill, with your active working trot in between. Practice the same exercise at the walk, and as an advanced exercise, at the canter.

Some horses learn to balance themselves up and downhill on their own after a period of time, others will require a little support from the rider no matter how familiar they are with the exercise.

This exercise should transfer readily to trail rides or hacking out; when you're approaching a downhill section; ask the horse to shorten stride and you should be able to stay in balance and in control down the hill.
     
    05-24-2010, 06:42 PM
  #4
Banned
If he's wildly galloping down a hill, I suggest getting off and calmly walking him down to show him what you want. Repeat this several times until he seems to understand, then get on and try riding him down. As previously stated, he is probably unbalanced and doesn't know what you want. Be sure to use very definite and clear aids.
     
    05-25-2010, 05:33 AM
  #5
Yearling
My mare was the same when we first started out, she tended to rush down hills too and it could be a bit scary. Using a half halt method has worked for us, when she started to get too quick I would put a bit of pressure on her mouth and sit deeper in the saddle also telling her to "ease up". As soon as she slowed I would release all pressure, sit back and let her get on with it again, repeating anytime she got to quick.

I did the opposite to Nittany and made Phoenny walk straight down hill rather than let her mince down semi side ways, she is now a very competant hill horse whom I can trust on the steepest hill ( and we have some pretty steep hills! ).
     
    05-25-2010, 08:51 AM
  #6
Showing
Quote:
Originally Posted by kiwigirl    
My mare was the same when we first started out, she tended to rush down hills too and it could be a bit scary. Using a half halt method has worked for us, when she started to get too quick I would put a bit of pressure on her mouth and sit deeper in the saddle also telling her to "ease up". As soon as she slowed I would release all pressure, sit back and let her get on with it again, repeating anytime she got to quick.
That's what I did too. Sometime there is not space on trail to do zigzag.
     
    05-25-2010, 09:21 AM
  #7
Yearling
Thanks for the replies everyone!

He definitely doesn't gallop madly down the hills,lol, and I am fine with him not plodding down as long as long as its controlled but right now he gets a bit of momentum going and just goes with it. He's only 4 and hasn't had as much trail experience as I would like due to my trailer issue so is inexperienced.

Maura-Jack is a Kentucky Mountain Horse, meaning he's gaited. He will walk, show gait and pleasure gait on cue. We have not worked on his canter a huge amount up until now BC he's gaited and I wanted him firmly set in it.(He was VERY trotty when I started him under saddle). He is improving quickly, but still a bit unbalanced.
They have recently taken out some cornfields around the farm and leveled most of it for construction, but they've also built up some of the really nice big hills with a level top that are packed down pretty hard but not TOO steep, perfect for playing on!
I will definitely be working on these suggestions! Thanks again!
     
    05-25-2010, 08:31 PM
  #8
Banned
Sorry, Jacksmama!

Please just substitute the gait of your choice for the words "trot" and "canter" in my post. The principle of shortening stride downhill still applies.
     
    05-25-2010, 08:56 PM
  #9
Showing
Quote:
Using a half halt method has worked for us, when she started to get too quick I would put a bit of pressure on her mouth and sit deeper in the saddle. As soon as she slowed I would release all pressure, sit back and let her get on with it again, repeating anytime she got to quick.
This is the same method that I use too. It really doesn't take very long for a young horse to start rating and collecting themselves down hills once they figure out what you are asking for.
     
    05-25-2010, 10:27 PM
  #10
Yearling
I have a horse that is very sensitive to pressure on her face and a big half halt when she's unbalanced can make her go a bit mental. So I had to learn to slow her down without getting on her face, hence the mini-weaving. What also works is to close your thighs and knees and squeeze just a little bit and that helps to slow their movement as well. I was just giving a way to slow down without getting on their face because as we all know half halts are great but they can be used incorrectly and some horses don't tolerate a big half halt so I was just giving other options =).
     

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