Racehorse Mode - The Horse Forum
  • 2 Post By Speed Racer
  • 1 Post By MySerenity
  • 5 Post By calicokatt
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post #1 of 10 Old 06-17-2012, 08:37 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2012
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Racehorse Mode

I've owned my thoroughbred for about 9 months. I bought him on the last day of the season last fall, he had raced that day actually. He was a lucky horse, very sturdy, and well taken care of. Wonderful owners.

He's now 7 years old, and at home, I couldn't ask for anything better.
(He's good under saddle, but I'm talking on the ground strictly speaking for the purpose of this post)

At home while leading him he's very calm, head down, not rushing, sweet heart. Respects your space, and never pushy. Took a while to get him there.

He loads like an angel, it's nice, but as soon as you back him off. Which is the easy part of that trip. He turns into a racehorse again. He is running you over, completely disrespecting you, not giving you ANY of his attention, swinging his butt into you. I don't mind him being curious and a little spooky. But it gets out of hand fast. He can't be tied to a trailer at a show, he has to have his own stall because he turns into a dangerous racehorse again.

I never ever let a horse get in my space when I don't want it there, Lesson horse or racehorse, doesn't matter. Whenever he does swing his butt at me when I'm by him he recieves a slap which has been helping I suppose. Yes, he is still a young OTTB, he does need time. I understand this, but I'm curious as to what you guys would suggest.

Also, I am currently training him to lunge, so we do that after we trailer him, it gets him lisening to me for a bit again, but not an incredible help.

JumpingJiminy is offline  
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post #2 of 10 Old 06-17-2012, 09:03 AM
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That has nothing whatsoever to do with him having been a racehorse. He has gaps in his trailer training.

I have an ex-racer who has no trailer issues. He did however, have issues with being shod and having his feet handled. I never blamed them on his being an OTTB, just that he needed more training.

You want the truth? You can't HANDLE the truth!
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post #3 of 10 Old 06-17-2012, 09:04 AM
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I suspect he has been unloaded many times in strange places and raced, so is anticipating this. If you have ready access to a trailer, I'd start by loading only one hoof and backing him off. Do this until he will do it quietly. Then load two hooves. Don't let him go in, but just stand there a few seconds then back him out. Try to keep it low energy. If he gets upset with two hooves, go back to one. Gradually work this until he is loaded, door open, then closed momentarily and back him out. He won't tie to the trailer because all his racing life he's been taken to a box stall soon after being unloaded and that is his expectation. The OTTB's that race until 5 or 6 are harder to get the track out of their head than a 2 yr old. When he becomes reactive, try to think of his old routine and how the changes affect him. This may help you work around them.
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post #4 of 10 Old 06-17-2012, 09:31 AM
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As Saddlebag said, I don't think it has anything to do with him being an OTTB. Plenty of racehorses I've known were very respectful. Yes, some of the colts are a bit silly but generally more high-spirited than disrespectful. One filly I knew was a right nasty, but I've seen the same in school horses. It sounds like he's got some association with being backed off a trailer and that's blocking out all other thoughts.

Not that I'm in any way an expert on loading and unloading horses whatsoever (I can't drive), but have you tried repeatedly unloading him at home and putting him back in his box, rather than just unloading him in places where he receives sensory overload (like a show)? Just a thought :)

Also it's possible that being a racehorse he was only transported on trucks (many of which unload at the front) and is freaked out by the idea of stepping down a clanging ramp backward - could this be the case? Would his old owners know?

EvilHorseOfDoom is offline  
post #5 of 10 Old 06-17-2012, 09:49 AM
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My horse was having similar issues and I worked on the trailer after she had a good solid workout so she was tired. She fought with me less (so it was less dangerous for me) and gave up quicker because she was tired. I don't know if this would work for your horse but it's also the way I got her to accept cross ties in the wash rack (I only put her in there after our ride when she was tired). Just a thought.

Good luck!
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post #6 of 10 Old 06-17-2012, 03:02 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2012
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Ok, you are not understanding me, the trailer is NOT the issue. He is a dream to load and unload. It's simply after he's OFF the trailer and being walked around seeing new surroundings that he is like this. It IS because he was a racehorse because the only time he's ever been shipped he's to be at the same racetrack for a season, so he's expecting to race.
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post #7 of 10 Old 06-17-2012, 04:44 PM
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Im not an expert, but I will add my little bit...

Sounds to me that he just gets really excited about being in a new environment? My OTTB was like this when I first got him, But after a few trips to my friends farm, he calmed down a bit and began to accept new places. Maybe all the excitement at the shows just gets him excited too?

Maybe you could try floating him to a quiet area and unloading him there, just so he knows that not everywhere he is going is going to be a show etc. Get him use to floating to quiet places and doing some light work, making it fun and enjoyable, but keep it to a "low hot level".

I don't know if anyone else will agree with this, I'm not an expert, but I think this might help

"No one is stupid, however if you judge a fish on it's ability to climb a tree then it will live it's whole life believing that it is stupid."
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post #8 of 10 Old 06-17-2012, 04:54 PM
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I had a horse like this (a couple actually)... my solution has been to bring them to several shows where they do......ABSOLUTELY NOTHING BUT EAT AND DRINK. If I expect the horse to be able to tie to the trailer, then I tie it there with a haybag and stay nearby. I might untie for a little bit and go for a short walk, but then its back to the trailer. I also usually bring a steady eddy old hand (usually one of our older horses) at shows along with me to tie next to the 'problem horse' for a little emotional support. After a couple of times of just munching at the shows, we graduate to riding in the warm-up but not showing. Once we can manage that calmly, we're good to go.
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post #9 of 10 Old 06-17-2012, 07:22 PM
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Yeppers, haul him, haul him and then haul him some more. Take him to quiet places, to friends barns, to anywhere you can unload him and not do anything but load back up and go somewhere else. Spend as much time as it takes, just taking him places.

He is doing exactly what you think he is, expecting to be an unruly race horse again. Give him time to realize his life is a lot better now and he can relax.

Good luck with him.
FaydesMom is offline  
post #10 of 10 Old 06-18-2012, 12:04 PM
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my experience with any horse that is difficult to handle in-hand in new places is to keep its attention on you, which involves lateral flexion and making him pivot, back, things like that. you'll notice it's working when the head drops down and he starts to work his mouth (licking/chewing). i don't encourage lunging though, unless you are in a controlled area away from other horses.

Equilove is offline  

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