retraining standardbreds

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retraining standardbreds

This is a discussion on retraining standardbreds within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category
  • Standardbred balance trotting turns
  • Training standardbreds to do circles

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    12-26-2008, 01:28 AM
retraining standardbreds

Few things here he is now 16 and only finished racing when he was 11. Was retrained then forgot and retrained agian by me now having trouble trotting when I ask. Wont do trot poles properly. Canter is very flat and rather horrible. Can't canter slowly. Doesnt bend in the turn puts his head to the outside and wont bend. Umm if you have any answers for my problem that would be great thanks.
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    12-27-2008, 03:07 AM
My horse was the same. I've since retrained him (he was never trained) and now he is so much better. Work on bending at the walk. Do serpentines and circles and make your horse really stretch out. Do transitions. Then work on those trotting poles. Let him do it on the longe a few times so he can balance himself without the rider first, and then can begin. His canter can be fixed mainly through the trot. Work on the transitions, from a collected trot, don't let him just run into the canter, that will make for a flat nasty canter. Then work on canter poles and always always remember to do plenty of circles
    12-27-2008, 11:23 AM

Hi, I have more questions than answers, but here goes. This flat canter that you talk about, it is quite an interesting gait to ride, but I have accepted it from my standardbred because it seems the next logical step to get him out of the pace. He seems more and more willing to go into a canter every time I ride him.

Can someone tell me specific exercises I might do to encourage him to canter in a collected way instead of, as you mentioned, allowing him to run into it?

Would I be better off just doing more walk/trot/bend exercises in the meantime or is it good to let him feel the 'freedom' of breaking pace?

    12-27-2008, 08:18 PM
He's always had a fair amount of room to turn when he raced and even when he was being turned out after his racing career. Avoid small circles and turns because they are difficult for him. People stress "ride deep into your corners". That is VERY difficult for an unbalanced horse! Also, a standardbred ALWAYS exercises "on the right rein". The only time they are turned to the "left rein" is when they are either racing or training, which is like doing a practice run with or without other horses. If you turn him in a semi circle (like a u-turn) he may think it's time to run! As for bending his head to the outside, you have to remember that he was never asked to bend as a racehorse. Actually they sometimes put poles along the lines (reins) to prevent the horse from bending his neck - although it's not a proper riding bend anyway. Try giving him an open rein through large circles and serpentines.

Any out of shape unbalanced horse will have a difficult time cantering, let alone one that was told that cantering is forbidden for the first 11 years of his life. Work on halt/walk/trot transitions within and between gaits. Trot 5 steps, walk 5, trot 5, walk 4, halt, trot 4, walk 4, etc. This will help him find his balance, give him strength in his hind end, and allow him to round his back. At any time he breaks into a canter, praise him, ride it, and don't work against it. He has to learn that it's alright to canter. It won't be a smooth, collected, round canter for a looooooong time! It's the same as if you took an experienced hunter horse that had been off for a long time... you'd have to do a lot of w/t/c transitions, bending, suppling, balancing, etc. before he could have a correct, comfortable canter. When he raced he had an overcheck bit in his mouth which he was supposed to lean on and hollow out his back in order to run faster. He has to learn to round his back now and balance himself instead of relying on the bit. The thing is with Stbs is that sometimes they have to learn the canter too! You really need a lot of patience for this - but thankfully standardbreds are patient, kind horses.

I absolutely love Stbs. They are intelligent horses who are very forgiving. They are often bred with a longer back which is a bit of a disadvantage for cantering (or an advantage if you want them to do well in their racing careers!)

Now I have a few questions for you. What do you mean he doesn't to trot pole properly? Is he jumping them? Running out? Stopping? Does he know how to lunge properly? Do you have a kind hand?
    12-29-2008, 03:27 AM
This is a very common problem and much of the difficulty lies in the fact that many instructors just don't know how to retrain standard breeds - it's quite a specialized field. Many people disregard them because they are a bit more work in the beginning. This is why most people give up on them, because they get frustrated and professional help is hard to find.

I have answered this question many times over the last year or so (you're not alone!!). If you go back through my question archives you'll find it. The exercises are the same for your issues as the others.

Good luck!!!
    12-29-2008, 09:59 AM
Thanks for the advice ill try it when I ride him next. He knows how to trot and canter he did it every ride every day for months and as soon as I stopped working him every day he decided to pace again. He gets very excited now which I absoloutely hate...if he paces I pull him up and hell just go off at a fast walk almost an amble and the more I pull him up the worse he I did a bit of work in a market harborough which I think is great and worked on him well....but he has the most beautiful trot (to look at not to ride) very extended and pretty but extremely fast...faster than some horses canter....and I can steady it...almost like he can't collect he has to have it extende...any help with that? Im not too worried about cantering atm he will do it if I *kiss* and hell do it from a stand still or a walk I just want the trot...its the key to keeping him calm and to get his canter...any help is great thanks guys :)
    12-29-2008, 06:34 PM
(Sorry in advance for the weird ès and stuff... canèt figure out how to get the French off my keyboard lol)

How long have you been riding him consistentlyÉ If heès been off for a while he wonèt be able to collect no matter how much he knows how to.

Remember when you pull him back heès remembering Pull and release = faster in the race world! My horse, even though she knows how to trot a bit (not a lot though lol) sometimes paces instead of walks when she is being lead around, especially if sheès excited. If you get her to trot on the lunge she still breaks into pace when she gets scared or excited because itès easier for her and more natural.
    12-30-2008, 03:23 AM
Yeah...he never paces on the lunge. But as soon as im on him everything is different. Well I bought him when I was 11 which was 5 yrs ago and didnt ride him very often...then when I did he didnt canter and was pretty horrible to ride....i wasnt exactly a good rider at the time so for a few yrs I rode him just every so often mainly doing trail rides or stock work then got sick of him not being able to canter and got a new horse....then the new horse after a while I figured out that he was too energetic for me and was really into jumping which my standy was good at and I didnt want to do on this horse coz he's older and he injured himself...then I was going to give him to my sister so started riding the standy and figured out he was a good horse...eventually figured out that he always paced and if he trotted he would canter so brought him into work...every day I would ride and he learned to trot and canter when I asked...he couldnt keep the canter wifout going faster but yeah...and now since its hot I havent been riding often and he decided to stop trotting again.
    12-30-2008, 08:35 AM
Part of the reason he doesn't pace on the lunge is because it is very difficult for Stdbds to pace in a circle. Hence the advise to bend, circle, transition, etc. etc. Also, if you have any uneven ground to work on, including hills, they will more easily fall into a canter and trot. Pacing is not a very easy-to-balance gait I have found, though fun to ride when you adjust! Remember to canter up AND down the hills!
    12-30-2008, 12:10 PM
I've lunged dozens and dozens of standardbreds who would pace on the lunge because they find it easier and more comfortable, especially if they get scared or excited. My horse was bred to pace and she often reverts to it when she gets "over stimulated" lol

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