What to do with hot headed barrel horse? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 12-02-2013, 01:48 PM Thread Starter
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What to do with hot headed barrel horse?

I got a new barrel horse about three weeks ago and she does just fine in the round pen but when i get her outside of it she wants to go go go all the time..no walk...just a long trot to a lope. I pull back slightly to let her know to slow down and she throws her head and gets mad. I do ride in a tie down so the head throwing does not injure me. Are there any ways I can change this? A different bit maybe? Right now she is ridden in a twisted snaffle bit, with noseband. I've been riding for years, but never ridden a hot headed horse..which I think is from the previous owners running her on the barrel pattern 3-4 times a week.
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post #2 of 12 Old 12-02-2013, 03:57 PM
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I do not believe the bit will make a difference (just my opinion). I do think you need to punish the horse for not slowing down...not hitting or whipping, but something it doesn't like. I circle my horse if she doesn't listen, she hates it, she then becomes more attentive. She can go just as fast as she wants....in a tight little circle.
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post #3 of 12 Old 12-02-2013, 04:16 PM
Green Broke
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I hate the bit you are using, and I dislike tie downs, except in specific situations.

I would back up, put her in a smooth snaffle, and start working on getting her to realize she needs to stay in whatever gait you put her in. I work with OTTB's extensively, and lately a very hot little aqha mare. Clinton Anderson has some GREAT excersizes for teaching speed control and softness, without using harsh bits as a crutch. One way is to ask her to go, and circle her down to the speed you want when she gets too fast. The goal is for her to learn that she needs to stay in whatever gait you put her in. For example, in the arena, ask for a trot. If she breaks into a canter, circle her in a small circle, so she has to reduce speed to a trot. then ask for her to continue straight. At first it will look something like:

trot-canter-circle-trot-canter-circle, etc. pretty soon she'll figure out circling is a lot of work, and you'll get trot-trot-trot-canter-circle-trot-trot-trot. eventally she'll stay put in a trot. then ask for a walk. repeat. ask for a canter, circling when she speeds up. I have used this method on a runaway speed demon gelding and it took one session of an our and I could point him home(where he got out of control the most) ask for a gallop, pick up my reins and have him slide to a stop, with no bit pressure.
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post #4 of 12 Old 12-02-2013, 04:41 PM
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I agree with what everyone here is saying. The gelding I used to lease was great until they moved him one too many times (6 barns in 2 years is a lot of uprooting) and he went nuts and would just break into a crazy canter whenever I asked for any impulsion.

With high energy inattentive horses, circles are your friend. Like others said, when she realizes that you're just going to give her a hard time every time she speeds up without you asking her to, she'll slowly stop speeding.

Even the most hot headed horses are lazy in that respect ;)
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post #5 of 12 Old 12-02-2013, 05:11 PM
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Lose the tie down. Its design is not meant to keep a horse's head down.

I myself do not like twisted wire in any bit, IMO. I would put her in a smooth mouth snaffle.

No bit you put into her mouth is going to change what she has been TRAINED and allowed to do up until you have gotten her. It is going to take months to re-train her to understand that she doesn't have to go-go-go-go all the time.

As BlueSpark said, do tons of circles and tons of serpentines. You don't want to have constant contact on her mouth with both reins all the time to slow her down; that's what makes a hard mouth. Instead, use a direct rein (one rein at a time) to do circles and serpentines.

Let's say you are walking along on a loose rein. She breaks into a trot. Let her go 2 or 3 strides (so it sets in), and then ask her to circle in a small circle until she has to break down to a walk. Then let her walk on. When she breaks into a trot again, ask her to circle back to a walk. Repeat, repeat!! You can mix up which circle direction. This will take a looooooong time for her to get the idea. I had very similar problems with my horse Red last year where he just wants to go-go-go. We went for a 2 hour ride one day and I didn't get any farther than 1/2 mile from the barn .... because he'd break into a trot, and I'd circle him. He didn't catch on very quickly that going faster meant circling.

Eventually, you'll get to the point where she'll quit trying to rush the walk.

Then you can repeat the same exercise at the trot. If she breaks into a canter, circle.

Always remember to RELEASE rein pressure when she gives.

If she throws her nose when you apply rein pressure, do not give until she gives to you. Do not pull with both reins; that sets you up for a rear. Instead, I like to (for example) take my left direct rein, and twist my wrist up and toward my right shoulder. When the horse GIVES their nose nicely to the rein, then they get release. But if they pull, I hold steady until they give.

And you must be consistent. If you let her throw her head without punishment (giving to the rein) or if you let her go into a trot without you asking her to, you have just set yourself back in training. ALWAYS correct her. ALWAYS be consistent.

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post #6 of 12 Old 12-02-2013, 05:58 PM
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Also, what and how much is he being fed? Please don't say sweet feed.

If he's eating anything with molasses in it, lose it for something that is molasses-free.

If he's being worked pretty good 2 - 3 times a week or more, he needs his grain but he doesn't need all that extra sugar that comes with molasses.

Every little thing helps
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post #7 of 12 Old 12-02-2013, 08:15 PM
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When she starts acting up at you for pulling back on the reins just turn her in a small circle (One rein stop) till she stops, it might take a while for her to understand that shes not going to get away with it!

If your horse is as resilient and determined as mine you have to be sneaky ;D

My thoroughbred gelding is not hot headed but is VERY forward and would rather walk mock 20 or trot than anything ells and will fight me for hours. This is sort of hard to explain but when he is wanting to walk FAST I just move my hands with his movement, so that there is never any slack in the reins but not so noticeable enough that he realizes that he is being slowed down. When your hips go forward your hands go slightly back.

If you horse is more resilient to the one rein stop and you try using the second method, just remember that this is a no conflict method because some horses you just have to reason with not tell what to do.
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post #8 of 12 Old 12-02-2013, 08:26 PM
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Tying the horses head down, using nosebands and harsh bits - this doesn't help. It just covers poor training.

In your situation I'd teach my horse part of the "one rein stop". I do it by teaching them to flex around on the ground, releasing when they are still. Then I ask them to flex from the halt, releasing when they stop, then the walk etc. Once the horse gets it I'd just walk in an arena or something on a loose rein with no contact. Each time he moves of to trot I'd ask for a walk, if he didn't respond to the first ask I'd one rein stop him. As soon as he stops, release. As soon as he goes back to the walk, release.

Don't get into a fight with the bit, and don't try to pre-empt the trot by holding a contact. Loose rein, letting them go freely when they're walking.

Once you have a quiet walk move onto faster gaits, always bring them back to a relaxed walk, rather than just moving on from it.
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post #9 of 12 Old 12-02-2013, 08:30 PM
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You need to teach her it's ok to walk. She has been taught to run all the time. You need redirect her thought process if she moves up to a trot you need to immediately redirect her thought process. Use a direct rein to the left or right which ever you prefer maybe do a few circles or figure 8's or change directions completely. She may only walk a few at first when she walks release pressure and praise. Also I agree that twisted bit with a nose band is not correcting anything. Put her in a snaffle. You also need to keep low key energy if you have excited energy it gives the horse excited energy. I'd also would keep this horse off any high energy feed. Also tie downs are not meant to be a band aid to keep a horses head down. This will take months to correctly fix everything and it sounds like she has a bit contact issue, if you have harsh hands I'm sure it hurts when you give her contact she has learned to avoid contact by swinging her head. I'd consider getting a trainer to give you lessons to correct these problems while you ride.
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Last edited by Peppy Barrel Racing; 12-02-2013 at 08:33 PM.
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post #10 of 12 Old 12-02-2013, 09:18 PM
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I would only be repeating everything that everyone has said. Tie-downs do not teach good behavior they only prevent or cover up bad behavior. Teach good behavior by rewarding good behavior and making your horse work harder for bad behavior. let us know how it is going.
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