I have an OTTB. He ran his last race March 4th, and went to a girl who kept working him hard and didn't give him any time to unwind. She only had him about 6 weeks. I bought him from her a month ago, and have been giving him plenty of "down" time to rest, and recover mentally. I started w/ basic stuff while I started researching the best way to go about retraining him. He's a super smart guy, picks things up quickly and is very eager to both learn and please. I purchased a copy of "Beyond the Track" and have been reading it (I just got it last week).
In the last month he's calmed down a LOT! He no longer walks all over me on the lead, but calmly beside me. He's now calm on the cross ties in our barn, and the main barn and the wash rack. He's calm being sprayed off w/ the sprayer (he was nervous before), but still jumpy about being bathed w/ a sponge.
Today I started lunging him. I took it slowly, keeping the line short, and walking next to him in a circle practicing the voice commands. "Walk on" and "Whoa". He picked them up quickly, and I gradually lengthened the lead line. I added trot to it, and he quickly picked that up. I kept randomly transitioning him from walk to halt, walk to trot, trot to walk to halt, etc. and he did well. The only thing he had an issue with is:
Once I say whoa he takes half a circle to totally stop, and he walks in to me. I did manage to get him to stop walking part way, and allow me to walk to him.
Does anyone have any tips on helping him with this?
For a guy whose never worked on a lunge line before, and ran on the track for 5 years, I think he did very well. He's such a sweet guy.