Traininng my OTTB - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 09-19-2010, 07:13 PM Thread Starter
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Exclamation Traininng my OTTB

I have had my off the track TB snce April. He is 17.1 hh an dis 6 yrs. bought him from a man who purchased hm off the track from the breeder. The man I bought him from did not do much training except for ground work. I have been working him more and plan on a jumping career with him. I have a trainer but this is my first horse and my first time trying to train a horse. He is a very willing and smart horse. My problem is that I can ride him in a round pen just fine. He walks, trots, canters, stops, backs up and is getting contact with the bit. The other day I decided he was ready to go in the arena and ride. I lunged him first and he was just fine. BTW I have free jumped him to 2' but he kept kocking down 18". I put down trot poles and got on to ride. This is where the problem started. He became very anxious and wanted to take off, I stayed calm and relaxed but he started backing up hard. I pushed him into a working trot trying not to mess with his mouth too much but he still wasn't listening. So I tried taking him over the poles to redirect his mind but it seemed to agitate him more so I asked him to walk an d he took off in a full gallop. I tried everything I learned to calm him down, I didnt pull on the reins, I didn't get tense but he tried to jump the two sets of ground poles and then saw the arena fence which is almost 5' high and there was no stopping him. His neck was tense so I was unable to turn him and he jumped the fence but caught his back legs and flipped over the rail throwing me off. HE is perfectly FINE. I had the vet check him, me on the other hand have broken my left forearm. I am trying to see if anyone has any suggestions as to why and how to fix the problem.
No I will not get rid of him I bought him knowing the dangers and challenges and am willing to work with him. He is a great horse I just need some good advice.

Last edited by txhorsejumper; 09-19-2010 at 07:15 PM.
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post #2 of 8 Old 09-19-2010, 07:45 PM
Green Broke
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You really need to work closely with your trainer on this. Get a trainer that knows about training horses and Thoroughbreds and work with them a lot.

Think about things clearly. You have been working in a round yard, somewhere safe, enclosed and very familiar. Of course he is going to be best behaved in there. Then you take him to an arena that is open, unfamiliar (at least with a rider on his back) and he freaks out. Pushing him over trotting poles will not help. He is young and inexperienced. When horses are scared they run - and that is what he did. That is what he has been trained to do.

When you lunged him did you lunge him in the arena? That would be the appropriate thing to do, to get him used to the new working area.

Start doing ground work in the arena, then get someone to lead him while you ride to start with. I wouldn't worry about trotting so much - I think it is important to get a really good, responsive walk first. Walk him everywhere. Walk in the round yard, the arena, go out walking with friends, walk around the stables with someone leading etc. Always practice the aids. Stop, go, turn, stop, go, turn, go, stop. etc.

Once he is quiet and calm with it all then I would consider trotting. In the arena. Round yards are great tools but a horse off the track doesn't have very good balance. Making them go on a small circle with the rider is just going to unbalance them. Once you have your trot really good, just like the walk, then consider trot poles. Then cantering.

Do shorter sessions rather than long ones. Also, consider training your horse to do the one-rein stop. It works very well for some people and might be a good tool for you if he tries to run off again.

I'm glad you're not too badly hurt, and that he is okay.
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post #3 of 8 Old 09-19-2010, 07:46 PM
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i really dont know what to say to that... some times OTTB just freak out over nothing ive been there but i got out of the situation fine... is that the first time hes been in the arena? like ever with you on him? maybe the arena makes him uncomfortable for some reason or maybe there was something wrong with the tack at this time? there are many reasons he could have done that...

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post #4 of 8 Old 09-19-2010, 08:54 PM Thread Starter
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I did lunge him in the arena before I rode him and he seemed calm and did just fine. He has been in a a pasture right next to the arena so he should be pretty familiar with it. I guess I just took him too far too fast. Any advice on stopping him if he does it again although I'm going to follow the advice first but just incase. I just wasn't prepared for him to try and jump a 5' fence
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post #5 of 8 Old 09-19-2010, 08:55 PM Thread Starter
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post #6 of 8 Old 09-19-2010, 10:05 PM
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Young TB's need things to be very simple and straight forward. They can get easily frustrated if they do not know what you want. Take things very slowly and do not push his limits. It sounds like you simply overfaced him. Just go back to what you were doing before you introduced the poles until he's calm again. TB's are very straight forward with their emotions. He'll let you know when he's ready to learn a new thing.

You just have to see your don't have to like it.
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post #7 of 8 Old 09-20-2010, 10:52 AM
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My advice would to be to teach him "whoa" first and foremost. With a horse that is bred to run (and thats pretty much it) you need to make sure that if anything goes wrong or if he starts getting tense, that you can ask him for something that he knows and that will keep you safe.

When horses get frustrated, they handle things differently. Some buck, some stop and wont move forward, and others bolt. Its his nature to bolt. If you can catch him in the early stages of his frustration and just ask him for something simple that he knows, it will help calm him.

As I have stated before, I teach my horses a reining stop. This is where the horse's cue to stop is by you placing your hand on their withers and saying "whoa". This may or may not work for you. You can teach him the cue by gently pulling the reins and saying whoa also, but just remember to say whoa BEFORE using the physical cue. I would say start by teaching him this FIRST before trying anything else other than walk/trot/canter.

When he has it down pat every time, then you can start incorporating other things, but always resort back to the stop several times in your ride.

If he gets overly excited and agitated, just remember to ask him for something simple. Turn a circle, leg yield...something that doesnt ask for a lot of forward movement and gets his mind preoccupied with something else.

Sounds like you just need to take it a little slower with him.

Good luck!
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post #8 of 8 Old 09-21-2010, 02:39 PM
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Treat him like a green broke horse. Most OTTBs are just that. Pulling on the reins in race-talk is telling them to go faster. It's imperative that you master your basics before you go on to ground poles and jumps... Get him working on the ground in the arena. Then when you DO get on, just walk him on the rail, do some figure 8s, get him relaxed and flexing. If his neck is stiff then you need to loosen it up with flexion. Since you've jumped him already, he has it in his mind that it's alright to sail over fences when you're on his back. That's why steering and basics are extremely important before you get to that point. He freaked out and went into a 'jumping frenzy' it seems... He wanted OUT of that big scary arena, that's for sure.

Take things super slow. When working in an arena, especially for the first time, that's important. If he's tense or confused, stop what you're doing and wait for him to relax.

Glad the wreck wasn't more serious. I hope you recover soon!

Working with your horse should be like dancing: Someone must lead, but you must both work together to accomplish what you want.
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