Your Opinions: Slowing the trot - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 23 Old 08-22-2010, 01:44 AM Thread Starter
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Your Opinions: Slowing the trot

I've recently started exercising my friend's QH mare, named Magic. She has had tons of training and will do anything you ask. However, she is not a horse for beginners. She has a very strong "STOP nagging, LEAVE me alone" kind of attitude, and I've seen her get pretty pissy with other riders.

When I first started riding her about a week ago, the moment I got on her back until the moment I dismounted was a battle - she was high-headed, and kept attempting to break into a trot. Her trot is unacceptably speedy and out-of-control. She even attempted to break into a canter a few times. It was incredibly difficult to achieve a down transition - she'd just throw her head in the air and continue with her ears pinned.

I've ridden her maybe 5 times or so and we've already improved majorly. Our second ride involved only walk-halt transitions, and she will now halt with lots of seat tightening and a light touch of the reins.

With more trot-walk transitions, figure eights, circles and trot poles, her trot is now an acceptable speed about 60% of the time. She no longer throws her head in the air, and gives to bit pressure very well.

I am by no means a trainer. I'm just a teenager who is excited to figure this mare out and see how we can improve. I'm curious: What would YOU do to get an agitated, sensitive mare to relax and slow down? I'd love to hear some ideas (:

Thanks! Oh, here are a couple pictures of this beautiful girl:

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post #2 of 23 Old 08-22-2010, 03:07 AM
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What you are already doing :) Transitions transitions transitions! Trot poles and interesting figures are great too. Half-halts also. Think and adjust as though you wanted the horse to walk but then at the last moment keep the trot. Really though it has been transitions and trot poles that have helped me and my green horse improve his crazy trot so so much!

Good job :) Sounds like you are doing it all right!

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post #3 of 23 Old 08-22-2010, 03:25 AM
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Yep transitions, changes of rein etc. And KEEP YOUR LEG ON! Don't take it off, very common rookie mistake to take the leg totally off when you get on a horse that likes to take off on you. Keep the legs on, and keep the rhythm that YOU want with you seat.
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post #4 of 23 Old 08-22-2010, 08:36 AM
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What does that mean, keep the leg on? Are you bumping the horse with your leg to the beat of how you want the trot to go?
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post #5 of 23 Old 08-22-2010, 12:00 PM
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try training forks also.

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post #6 of 23 Old 08-22-2010, 12:09 PM
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Leave the training forks in the tack store and use your hands properly. I would let her trot at whatever speed she wanted but she would do it for far longer than she wants and THEN I would ask her to slow down. I would only ask her to slow when I started to have to work pretty hard at keeping her at a fast trot. Let your idea become her idea then execute it.

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post #7 of 23 Old 08-22-2010, 12:14 PM
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training forks will aid you. help you.

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post #8 of 23 Old 08-22-2010, 12:19 PM
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Sounds like you are doing very well with what you have started her on to begin with (sounds like my silly mare when I first bought her!). You could also try slowing your post: holding it for a fraction of a post longer than you feel is the horse's natural way of moving in that moment. Patience is virtue, although I'm sure other, much more experienced people on here may have more efficient advice: Kayty's advice always seems to be straightforward and key! I must admit, with my mare, that is how we started out (I was scared to put my leg on her for fear that she would take that as a cue to run madly): I learned that keeping the leg on helps keep the forward motion more consistent and then from there bumping (lightly) helps set the rhythm and using your seat to help guide the speed (such as slowing your post - it will feel awkward, but it works)! I think that getting off of your hands except where necessary and properly effective will help keep her from tossing her head: just keep steady hands, especially if she offers to pull/throw her head.
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post #9 of 23 Old 08-22-2010, 02:41 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for your input, everybody (:

Just out of curiosity, what are training forks? I've never heard of them, and I don't think I'll buy any, but I'm interested to know what they are.

Kevinshorses - that was originally my plan. The problem with this girl is that she's one of those horses that has a huge reserve of energy. It would take such a long time for her to be tired that I'D be tired haha (woops, maybe I should get more exercise?). Even in a full body sweat and breathing heavily, she's still a speedy girl.

I'll certainly try keeping leg on. That seems like an intimidating thing, but I'll definitely try it and see what happens.

Thanks again!

Edited to add: I've been trying to slow my post - it's tough! I usually end up pinching with my knees and getting mad at myself, haha. I've managed to get it a few times, though, and will keep working at it!

Last edited by azarni; 08-22-2010 at 02:45 PM.
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post #10 of 23 Old 08-22-2010, 04:01 PM
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What I do with my wanna-be stbs (lol) is let them trot their pace a few strides, THEN ask for them to slow down. Ask, release, ask, release. Once the horse is at the pace you like, let them walk. Give em a pat, then start again. In time your horse will be slowing down to look for rest.

Also, you could try walk a few steps, trot a few steps all the way around the arena until your horse walks and trots at a good pace.

Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world. ~Harriet Tubman
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