OTTB Issue, Need Advice - Page 2

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OTTB Issue, Need Advice

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  • How to get my ottb to dlow his brain down

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    06-27-2010, 02:30 PM
My OTTB was the same way, in the feeling good way, not the bronc way. He got to hot for me at one point and we had to lower the protien percentage he was getting because he didnt need all the extra energy anymore and he was feeling really good.
Wind and bad weather are sure ways to get a calm horse riled up, especially if the temp drops a little.
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    06-28-2010, 02:31 AM
MIEventer is VERY right!!
If an ottb gets upset, and then you panic, grip and freak out, you will send the horse absolutely off the rails and all you can do is hang on for dear life until he gets his brain back in his head.
I'm sure the storm would have un nerved him a little as people have said, my boy is the same, he's recently off the track, had 32 starts so he's certainly got his head around the racehorse mentality, but he's usually VERY quiet. Get a big storm come over and he doesn't blow his brain, but he gets very toey and tense. I find just walking him around on a long rein and working on walk-halt-walk transitions is the bets thing to do in these situations. Lunging them can help, but you can't wear a horse out contrary to popular belief, you'll get tired lunging before he does. If you allow him to kick his heels out and carry on like a pork chop on the lunge, that simply winds a horse up more and you have to get on it after! If you lunge with the horse under control then that's a different story.

I wouldn't worry about it if it's a one off... but you have to realise that you're dealing with an ottb and he WILL test you out, they finish racing and will lose muscle mass and fitness extremely quickly once taken out of that lifestyle. When you start feeding them up and building some fitness again, they start feeling very fresh and will certainly have a good play. This is a BIG reason why I like to let them down for 6 months before starting re-education, you get that racehorse mentality out of them.
    06-28-2010, 01:32 PM
On the storm day, he actually had his head up high and his nose in the air, like he was smelling something. Then he reared. He hasnt done this since that day with an incoming thunder storm.

The weekend was REALLY hot and we hacked over poles and practices walk/trot transition. I only kept him going 20 minues each day because of the heat, and I like to end our sessions when he is being good, to reinforce things!

I have not cantered since he started crow hopping 3 weeks ago. He stopped that little habit for now, and we may reintroduce the canter again soon. He's finally holding his head in a better place, and I am riding with very little contact on his mouth.

Ok, so here is my next OTTB question for you experts out there: I am used to riding hunters that just keep going until you tell them not to. If you get into a canter, for example, they don't generally stop until you ask them to transition down. With my OTTB, its work for me to keep him going in ANY gait. He doesnt just "keep doing it". I cluck a lot in the trot, and he responds to that. Sometimes when I sit back a bit to signal to go from trot to walk, he STOPS completely, and I need to let yield him back to the walk, then we start all over. He is doing what I ask, he just doesnt KEEP GOING unless I remind him.

WHen does it become natural to KEEP GOING?!
    06-28-2010, 03:59 PM
Just reread this thread.
Years ago Spike had lost a fair bit of weight because the place I was boarding at wasn't feeding him. (Yes, you read it right.)
The next barn told me they had a supplement that would help get the weight on him.
I have to admit, it got the weight on him, but the whole time he was on it he was Very hard to manage while riding. Once he was off the stuff he was back down to his old self.
I will never use the stuff again.
    06-28-2010, 04:05 PM
That is interesting! He is getting a scoop of Fat Cat in his feed twice a day.

He gets to graze in his paddock for several hours, and he gets all the hay he wants. He's a bit picky about the hay....

I am going to talk to the trainer about taking him off Fat Cat.
    06-28-2010, 04:16 PM
Well one horse I ride isin a tb but whenever a storm is near she is almost completely different for her normal demeanor. She gets so worked up she starts dripping with sweat!! The storm could have been a big factor in the way he was acting.
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    06-28-2010, 09:09 PM
Ok for your second question, biggest thing is I know how tempting it is with them to keep pestering to keep them going. But your pestering all the time is not going to help the situation. You need to install 'gears' in him. Again it's another pretty typical ottb trait, they are unsure of what they need to do, so they'll switch gaits. My boy used to do it all the time as well so I know how frustrating it is!

So, get him into trot, and then stop fidgeting around, just let him trot. The second he slows to come back to walk/halt, put your leg on again. Then when he goes, just let him, don't touch him at all, let your reins out, don't pester with your legs, just let him go. And when he slows, ask again. He'll come to the realisation that he just has to keep at the same pace until you ask. Keep him trotting until he'll trot consistently on his own for one length of the arena, then halfway down the next long side ask for him to walk. If he halts, pick him back up to trot again straight away, until he's moving by himself then ask for walk again. Don't pull back on your reins for walk, just look up, take your legs off and lift your chest. By the sounds of him I'd be confident that he will react to just that for a downward!
    06-28-2010, 09:17 PM
Saratoga, I have two OTTB's and they both do the same thing. They will do anything you ask them to but one trip around the round pen and then they stop, get them going again and they stop. It's so frustrating! I too am interested in any suggestions on how to make them keep going?

My girls are 14 and 15 years old. They were broodmares and were given to a friend last year, she rode them around 10 times, then decided she had too much going on in her life and gave them to me. For the last 2 weeks we have been working them in the round pen on most days. It's been too hot to do much but at least 30 minutes everyday to get them going.

Funny how you have an OTTB and so do I that stop like that.
    06-29-2010, 10:12 AM
Squeak, read the post prior to yours! Kayty gives excellent advice on this. I am going to start thinking of this in terms of "gears". He needs to know that once in a gear, I won't mess with him at all...but sit quietly. When its time to change gears, no pulling on the mouth, just sit back and use a voice command.

When we trot by the gate to the ring, he always tries to stop! I am going to never stop him there from now on. On the racetrack, I see the riders stop and make the horse face the opposite direction before exiting the track.

Funny how these super fast athletes are so good at stopping!
    06-29-2010, 10:19 AM
Yep that's the idea :) It's all I work on with the tb's before worrying about anything else. You can't get a horse truly engaged and soft unless it is willing to go forward on its own.
As for stopping by the gate, haha smart horse! Knows that the gate means home and food. Get off in the middle of the arena facing the other end. And don't just finish a ride by going trot - halt - get off. Always walk around on a long rein for 5-10 mins, making sure they're still listening to your leg and will turn when you want to to. Ask them to walk a little bigger, than a little shorter etc. all on a long rein, so work doesn't stop so abruptly.

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