OTTB help!

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OTTB help!

This is a discussion on OTTB help! within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category

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  • 1 Post By Kmbrly7

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    05-24-2013, 10:36 PM
Smile OTTB help!

I'm currently a new OTTB owner. I love everything about my horse but she's a whole new world to me. She's 13 yrs old. On her papers she last raced in 2005. So she's had sometime off, but between 05 and now I have no info on her. I rescued her from the meat buyer. She came jam packed full of worms and crawling with lice. Now here's my problem:

Bit? Im currently using a French twist D ring. I switched from a regular snaffle cause I felt like I was getting ZERO contact. She also collects hard. I know this is from the track but she get so collected she runs into things! So in return I feel like I'm all over her mouth with hard hands.

I'm just looking for some kind suggestions. I don't know how many more times I can ask Greenhawk for help! Haha.

Thank you for reading! :)
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    05-24-2013, 11:08 PM
Do you have any video of a specific problem?

For a lot of OTTBs, I like circles to help them find a rhythm in all three gaits. Let her understand that forward is not bad as long as she is responsive.

As far as bits go, there are many options. What are your goals for her? I would try a bunch of different snaffles until you find one you both like. I always use different bits on my horses, even if it's just different kinds of snaffles. I like them to be able to go in anything, but sometimes they work in one bit better than others.
    05-24-2013, 11:21 PM
What do you mean my "collects hard"? Does she tuck into a ball and suck behind the bit?

I would think with any OTTB, retraining to accept contact is kind of a backwards thing. You would first have to teach her how to carry herself with little to no contact to get that whole concept of grabbing the bit and run out of her head. For now, forget about contact and collecting, and just get her used to rhythm and stretching out her neck. Walk and trot around on large circles or take her out hacking and let her find her natural rhythm so she can start relaxing and reaching forward with her neck. Most TBs are very quick learners, so depending on how much baggage she's brought along with her, this will take from a few rides to a few weeks or months. The initial goal is just to get her to relax.

Once she's got the idea of stretching her neck out and letting go of the tension, start taking up light contact. The big caveat here is, be sure to follow her motion with your hands/elbows. At no point do you want her to feel she hit a wall. You should be able to feel her mouth on the other end, but she should not feel like she is being hit in the mouth. Over-exaggerate the motion at first until you know you are in sync with her.

Once she's starting to accept your lighter contact and not tucking her face to her chest every time she feels the bit, you can start to take up some slack, but again you need to keep following her mouth. I don't know about other breeds, but a TB will happily reach into soft allowing contact but slam on the brakes when they feel the wall on the other end. They are night and day that way. Also remember to reward her when she does what you are asking. Any time you feel her try to reach for the contact, soften you elbows and tell her what a superstar she is. Any time she reverts and sucks back, ride her forward on a large circle until she figures out that is not the solution. She'll get it eventually.

As for the bit, the mildest bit I know of is a french link snaffle. The rings are a more personal choice. O rings move around in the mouth the most, egg butts to a lesser degree and D-rings offer the least amount of movement but can encourage a locked jaw. Maybe split the difference and try the egg butt first.

Hope this helps.
    05-24-2013, 11:30 PM
No sorry I don't have any video footage. I've tried 6 different bits. I always put her in the round pen before rides to calm her down and get her thinking but once on I get the same response. Circles turn into sloppy ovals, so I collect my reins more then she collects her head deeper and I feel like its not a positive experience. My long term goal is barrels. Short term would be like you said, moving forward as long as its responsive.
    05-24-2013, 11:32 PM
It sounds like she's trying to evade the bit. Try getting her out and moving. Get her used to leg aids to steer. Use circles to slow her down when she speeds up. She needs less contact right now, and to learn to relax.
    05-24-2013, 11:37 PM
You're riding the wrong end. Forget about her front end. If you're going to ride barrels with her, she needs to learn to use her hind end and learn how to pivot and turn on it. If she hasn't had any training since her racing days, all she knows is straight.

After she's blown off steam in the round pen, when you're warming her up under saddle, teach her 'turn on the haunches'. It will accomplish a few things. It will get her started understanding her back end can execute turns, it will calm her down since it focuses her attention on what she's doing, and it will produce a small amount of bend in her body which will help with that aforementioned stretching her neck out thing.

I can guarantee you 100%, if you try to take up contact without addressing any other part of her body, you will run into big time problems.
    05-24-2013, 11:51 PM
@ MyBoyPuck. It did help. Thank you very much!
    05-24-2013, 11:57 PM
It all makes sense now that its been explained. I was just so in the dark I didn't even really know where to start or if I even had a problem.
    05-25-2013, 12:00 AM
:)all info is locked and loaded .
waresbear likes this.

ottb developement, ottb rescue, thoroughbred, training advice

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