Taming a 23 yr old TB - Page 2

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Taming a 23 yr old TB

This is a discussion on Taming a 23 yr old TB within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category

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    12-30-2012, 11:04 PM
I think I must have sent the wrong message. This mare has impeccable ground manners. I can free lunge her with simple word commands and she always pays close attentions. I don't even need a lead to turn her out. She simply does not respond to rein. She doesn't bolt, she steers just fine, but she has to be pulling on the bit all the time. It's a work out for my arms. I can walk with a loose rein, I just have to keep it super tight at the trot (at the canter not so much since she doesn't try to gallop) she just refuses to trot at a relaxed pace. I would just let her go, get it out of her system, but she's getting up there in age and I'm afraid her body won't handle it. Besides its exhausting, I describe her as "a brick with a jet engine inside"
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    12-30-2012, 11:06 PM
Originally Posted by boots    
What type of bit are you using.

I know we all wish every horse would be a peach in a snaffle, but occasionally you have to step it up a little to teach that whoa means whoa. I've found that with some that had a dicey background like yours may have had, that I have to teach "backwards," in a way.

After I develop a decent stop with a pelham (with two sets of reins), or some other bit with curb action, I can often reduce the potential severity of the bit and go to something with less or no leverage.

You need to be safe, of course, or you will be of no good to this mare. And, the mare will find working less stressful when she learns to respond better to what you need her to do.
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    12-30-2012, 11:12 PM
Originally Posted by Sadie00994    
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I've tried many different snaffles. I really don't like pelhams. I'm the kind of rider who feels that less is best. I'm going to try a bitless (let me point out that this horse is not crazy or illbehaved). I want to soften her mouth, not the opposite. A Pelham would be a last resort if I had to. She's not stressed about working, she's too excited about it.
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    12-30-2012, 11:18 PM
Originally Posted by boots    
So... cough it up. What do you think would help this young lady and her horse? Regardless of whether the horse was abused or treated like a running godess? Lol

I never care if a horse was abused. I ain't abusing it, so they will get treated like any other horse. Stop. Go. Right. Left. I don't ask for much, but I do insist on that.
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    12-30-2012, 11:22 PM
Actually I'm more familiar with running young TBs than training pleasure horses. But this one forgot she got old. Also, you're right, her past means nothing now. I've had her long enough for her to know that life is pretty good now. That's part of the problem I think. Now she feels good physically again. But how do I tell her she's an old lady and she should act like one? Lol
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boots likes this.
    12-30-2012, 11:35 PM
Green Broke
Here's my take: Lots and lots of slow work at the rate of 90% walking with the balance trotting time - no cantering at this point. As soon as she gets "excited" in the trot it's back to the walk until she quiets down and relaxes. Repeat and repeat this; ask for the downward transition in a very consistent sequence of weight/legs/reins. I've had a couple of OTTB. The key to success with them I found was always going back to walk to get them settled mentally - they`re were hot blooded and they learned best when there was great calmness around them.

You may well find a bitless bridle is helpful in your situation. That is how I rode one of mine and she went extremely well in it. Also remember, circles are your friend - if she`s getting overly excited in the faster paces, you`re better to start circling her and asking for the downward transition in the circle than start a pulling contest when going large.

Best of luck.
    12-30-2012, 11:57 PM
What a horse with Spirit! Don't have any answers but enjoyed reading about her. I hope she gets a chance someday to haul butt and run until she wants to stop in the pasture. Not with you on of course.
    12-31-2012, 01:17 AM
Sometimes the "backward" training works well. Going from harsher bit, one with more leverage, to softer. If you use operant conditioning, a very basic training technique, you will have success.

I've found that if I can pair leg and seat cues to the absolute of a harsher bit, I can eliminate the need for leverage all together. The bars of a horse's mouth are more forgiving than most of us think. You don't even need sensitive bars in order to have a handy, responsive horse.

My kids are great examples. They grew up riding lots of spoiled/ruined horses and one summer each took on two BLM feral horses. They got bored with the normal cues and trained their mounts to respond with all sorts of silly cues. Honestly, hand sewn carrots strung on fishing poles was one of them. Carrot out in front = go at whatever speed their scrawny legs indicated. Carrot taken away = stop. It worked! Craziness.

Then there was the fly swatter silliness. The three of them trained some to respond to a fly swatter placed in specific spots. To shake things up: fly swatter on the shoulder was "go," fly swatter on the hip was "stop."

Sure, they then eliminated the weird cues. We needed to sell these horses. But they did prove that basic psychology worked no matter what.

So, do what you want, or are comfortable with, most likely with repetition your horse will eventually figure it out. If it doesn't, try something different, or come back here and rant. Whatever.
katec1991 likes this.
    12-31-2012, 02:35 AM
This doesn't really sound like a "go" horse to me. The horse walks on a loose rein and doesn't try to trot? And canters without trying to gallop? Plus is quiet on trails. So it sounds like you have two gaits you can ride on a loose rein without the horse trying to go faster.

When a truly hot horse gets ramped up, even when under perfect control they are "asking" and looking for a signal to trot from the walk, to canter from the trot, and to gallop from the canter. And to gallop faster from the gallop.

Are you sure the horse doesn't just have a big trot? A lot of Thoroughbreds have big, energetic trots. It can be physically difficult for them to balance at a slower gait. Especially when getting older and maybe having arthritis or other issues.

What you consider a fast, out of control trot might be this horse's working trot and actually the pace where she can relax. Asking her to go slower may require some balancing and strengthening exercises before she can accomplish a slower speed. She may not be fighting you, but rather trying to find balance from the reins when you ask her to slow down.
Racehorses are often trained to use the snaffle for balance.

Is there a pace where she likes to stay consistently at the trot and finds a good rhythm? You may need to learn to balance at that speed either by posting or two-pointing, especially if she has a choppy trot. Where she is comfortable may be faster than other horses you are used to, especially if you ride stock horses.

It may be helpful to lunge her at the trot and notice where she is the most comfortable. Then imagine yourself riding this speed and think about how fast it would feel. If she can jog easily on the lunge, then consider that you may not be comfortable at the trot and giving her cues to speed up by gripping without realizing it.

I wouldn't worry about if she can handle a fast trot at her age. Many horses can easily trot for hours when in shape, up into their thirties. Many retired thoroughbreds go out for gallops well into their late twenties.
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    12-31-2012, 10:39 AM
Originally Posted by EvilHorseOfDoom    
I'd agree with you in 90% of cases but two of the best school and trail horses I knew were top racehorses in their day. But they had been retrained by someone who was a very old hand at that sort of thing. They were fantastic horses, would always take care of their riders, whatever their level. But I do agree that it takes a lot of expertise to bring a horse that was a real goer at the track back to work as a great trail or school horse.
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