Young horse giving problems - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 01-09-2009, 08:37 PM Thread Starter
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Exclamation Young horse giving problems

I have a 5 year old Standardbred who has just come out of racing. I have ridden him but he has a few problems I have noticed. First, he is very intellegent.... I know how this sounds... but when my rather timid friend (who had a scary riding aciedent a few weeks ago) rides him, he knows he can controll her and does everything he shouldn't do to scare her (like backing up and going the oposite way she tells him to go), he also trips up alot, mainly when walking but also while trotting. I also find he wont canter. The first time I rode him he cantered instead of trotting but now he only trots and just paces at a racing speed when i nudge him on to canter. I know he has a different bit to the racing one which contributes to some of his behavior but I don't know if having someone riding him is giving him a sore back or something.

I love him and hope this doesn't sound crittical but his behavior is just fustrating the both of us.
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post #2 of 9 Old 01-09-2009, 08:43 PM
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Go back to the basics.
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post #3 of 9 Old 01-09-2009, 10:32 PM
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If your friend is timid and cannot be firm with him she should not ride him. He's a young horse and he will pick up bad habits easily. Horses don't like trotting around in circles, and if he thinks he can get out of doing it he will try. With young horses its important to be confident and to push them through whatever they are doing wrong.

Tripping could be long hooves, or just laziness, some horses just don't pick up their feet well. Either way look at his feet. Most standardbreds have issues with canter it will just take time and practice for him. Work on circles and transitions. If he has difficulty with trot to canter maybe teach him walk to canter first. Even though he is five he has not had normal training so he is not going to be like all other five year olds with two years riding under his belt.

I would just stay on guard, if he backs up ask him to go forward, let him back into a fence if you have to but don't turn around. With turning he may not have much experience with the aids you are accustomed to. Start by turning him with an open rein. If he deliberately goes the other way pull in a hard circle the other way.

Good luck
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post #4 of 9 Old 01-10-2009, 11:18 PM
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Firstly... how LONG has your SB been under saddle? You say he's just come off the track recently, but how long ago was that? When they're sacked from racing, they go through a stage of losing all the muscle they had as a race horse... the muscle they need to pace/trot is completely different than the muscle needed to carry a rider.

I wouldn't be fussed about the canter right now, sounds like you need to slow the pace down and just go right to the basics of walking and trotting... do not underestimate a 20 minute session working on your walk over a session with some walk and trot that's got lots of moments of not working well. I was once taught that "a good walk leads to a good trot and a good trot leads to a good canter"... as someone who has recently backed and started a SB under saddle (3months now), I completely go by this guide!
I'd suggest you just ride him, not your friend... the more trust and bonding your horse can do with you, the less confused he'll be when some random hops up and asks him to work... thats not his Mummy! And rather than being "clever" I'd say he's going, but you're not Mummy, I don't have to work for you. Honey was the same... she refused to have others mount her cos it "wasn't Mummy"... but was good for them to ride her.

It really sounds like you need to slow the pace down and stop expecting something of a horse thats been under saddle for awhile (sorry if he has)... remember, a horse should take about a year to have a well established walk, trot and canter... and can take a shorter or more lengthier time depending on size and shape. If you'd like some exercises to teach your boy at the walk and then use at the trot, just reply and I'll pop back in here :)

All the best!

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post #5 of 9 Old 01-10-2009, 11:31 PM
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I am going with what everyone else says, take it slow and just walk and trot right now. If he is new to saddle, then getting a canter will take a while. I use to race standardbreds and they are never allowed to canter while in cart, so it is not something that is familiar to them. They do not have the muscles built up to be able to canter for extended periods and are built for trotting and pacing on the track. Remember also that they are taught on the track that pulling on the bit constantly means to trot/pace faster! I have watched many people who can not get these OTSTDBRD to slow down under saddle and it is because they do not know they are taught this on track. Start with the basics, lots of walking at first, add some trotting later, it will come, just takes time and patience.

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post #6 of 9 Old 01-11-2009, 12:16 AM
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I agree, if your friend is not firm enough to control him, she should not be riding him. That is just an accident waiting to happen. As everyone else already stated, start with the basics at a walk and trot. Work on getting him to maintain constant speed with no pressure on the bit. Do lots of circles and serpentines to get him responsive to bit and leg cues. Just take your time. He needs to learn his balance under saddle and build up some different muscles in order to canter. That will happen in time. Keep us updated and good luck.

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post #7 of 9 Old 01-11-2009, 10:11 AM
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OK, people seem to already be telling you to slow down; I agree. As for the tripping -- check his feet. If he just came off the track he likely has very long toes. That's the way it's done on the track. All my Ot's had at LEAST an inch taken off their toes. My one girls feet are now an inch wider in the back and almost 2 inches shorter in the front then when I got her from the track barn.

Also, he is probably used to very even ground. Anything that's not even is difficult for him. He needs to find his horse legs again.

This will all take time. And, yes, get your friend off of him. You are only making things more difficult for you and your horse by letting her ride.
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post #8 of 9 Old 01-13-2009, 12:53 AM
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Well first off, I am sorry to hear about your friends accident, however if she is timid rider than perhaps she should not be riding him. Secondly, I agree with Spyder that going back to basics would not be such a bad idea. Chances are these issues are not just going to go away on their own. Take a step back and re-evaluate your training techniques. I have a three year old, who was coming along nicely, and then decided that she was not going to work anymore, just buck. I went back to the basics with her, a lot of lunging and steady work. This has helped a ton, more than likely your horse just got overloaded, keep in mind that 5 is still quite young.
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post #9 of 9 Old 01-13-2009, 03:01 PM
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Your friend shouldn't be riding her. That's the main problem, and is going to cause more problems.

Start from scratch, don't push her, it will take time, she needs time to get used to you, being ridden, and her surroundings, and chances are she needs more groundwork.
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