Mare gallops off after jumping
I have a 15.2hh 8yrs TB chesnut mare. I have her on lease as the woman couldn't manage her as she is a novice.
I have recently moved to nz and bought her. I have worked with TB's for over a year in england, mainly racehorse and young stock so i have a lot of confidence and knowledge of TB's.
When i first started riding her she was very strong so i bought her a gag. She didnt like this in her mouth as she has a very sensitive mouth, so i bought her a market harbre. This sort of worked and i could handle her better but there is still this strongness there. As the days have passed she got better and started schooling really well. Then it was the time to start jumping. The first time i jumped her she was brilliant and loved every single bit of it. Then one day she decided to jmp and gallop off afterwards, and this seems to carry on. Also when we got out for a hack either alone or in company she doesnt settle and is always jig jogging. But as soon as i take her out to the arena down the road she is perfect and jumps everything and alhough the strongness is stll there she doesnt take off afterwards. I am really stuck, i dont know how to get her to the point of me not getting angry and always pulling on her mouth. I have never ridden a horse like this and have no idea of how to solve our problems because i think she would make a fantastic eventing horse in the future. :( PEASE HELP ME!!
What's a "market harbre?" Wait, I googled the term and came up with market harborough, a piece of equipment with which I am unfamiliar. Looks like draw reins?
The description online sounds like you're really using it wrong:
The Market Harborough, is a form of martingale, but is unsafe to jump in. It has a very precise action that only works when the rider chooses it to, and so relies on rider skill. When the horse has his nose perpendicular to the ground, the Market Harborough should be clipped to the appropriate rein ring, so the horse will be comfortable when he has his nose in that position. It will not be possible for the horse to raise his head but it doesn't make him overbend. It is very useful in skilled hands for as short a period of time as possible.
So that's part of your problem.
The other problem sounds like this horse is missing all of the basics. You sure can't jump until you've slowly built up from ground poles, etc.
OKay firstly, a market harbre is a piece of equipment I DETEST. I don't have many, but that truly is one!
Your TB is pulling, because you can't give or take the contact, her head is fixed in that positiong so she's using her head and neck against you. If she's been raced, she'll need retraining to accept the bit. You don't need a stronger and stronger bit, espeically is you say she has a sensitve mouth, try a snaffle, get her to understand what a contact is. This will take a week or a month, it depends on the horse, and a trainer will be best to help you with this.
Please get her out of that contraption though. My dad used one, and he last two weeks with it, you have no way to give the horse its head. Using it for jumping is a dangerous, dangerous idea, the horse has no way to balance itself on landing if its head is tied up.
12 months in the UK working on a race track is 12 months working on a race track.. I'm really sorry to say IMO that doesn't make anyone knowledgable about TB's. Your's has been programmed to run, she needs reprogramming to riding horse. You need to sort out basics first, as bubba13 mentioned, ground up. You can't sit on her and expect woah to be woah, she doesn't understand it. She needs education, and you need to give it to her.
Finding a trainer to help you that has dealt with TBs from the track would be a great benefit.
You need to start over, you only had the headset because it was forced, but you had no acceptance of the bit or brakes. Go light with a snaffle and do lots of flatwork with lots of transitions to get acceptance of the bit before you even consider jumping again.
You need to teach her to relax!! The only way to do that is to make YOURSELF relax first. She will never relax as long as you are riding in a tense defensive manner.
You need to learn not to hang onto her. This sends her a strong message about how tense you are. Yes, you need to check her speed, but you also need to help her relax at the same time.
I would have you give a good half halt, and then totally relax the contact (as in slight slack in the reins), then half halt again, then relax the contact....and so on.
The slack reins sends her the message that you are NOT tense (even though, deep down, you may be). Sit tall (don't perch forward as it signals tension, too) and half halt/relax/half halt. The SECOND the mare starts to relax, you relax even more and praise her. You need to be able to WILL your body into relaxing every muscle when you do this, even when relax is the last thing on your mind.
Once you have learned how to use your body/mind to relax her, you can then, and only then, start to use this technique over fences. I tell my students that whatever you bring a horse into the jump with, you can multiply by two what you will have after the jump. A tense horse coming in will be a VERY tense horse coming out of the jump. Bring her in with the half halt the release technique. Circle her until she can approach in a more relaxed manner. After the jump sit tall, and do the half halt and release. The release is SO important here. Without it, you will never signal your lack of tension (remember, you must at least ACT like you are relaxed).
I had a fabulous coach who drilled into me from a very early age, this mantra....
"The tenser the horse gets, the softer you ride"
I have followed this advice all my life and it has served me well while riding hot TB's.
Hope this helps.
Oh, yeah... That device you are using is what many call a German Martingale. I don't think it is the best thing to use right now. It is forcing a form of control on her, but it is not coming from her willingly. And, it should never be used over fences, IMO.
Race horses run faster as the jockey puts more pressure on the reins. When you do this she is back at the track. You will need to spend a lot of time in just a snaffle teaching her the opposite. At first your hands will make exaggerated movements. When you ask for a walk be sure there is a little droop in your reins. If she speeds up pull her into a tight circle driving her hindquarters around with your leg. When she wants to stop again walk her on a loose rein. This has to be consistant and don't trot until she is solid at the walk. The reason she's nervous on the trail with others is she's heading for the starting gate (in her head). Try taking the lead position and see how she is. Trail riding with others won't help you if they want to ride faster than a walk.
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