Reschooling the exracehorse- Ideas?
At my barn, my instructor bought 4 new school horses.
Kelly -TB, gelding, 12 y/o (now 13)
Newton - Appy/QH, gelding, 5 y/o
Betsy - Welsh/Morgan, mare, 5 y/o
Charity - TB, mare, 5 y/o
Now, all are excellent to ride and are used in daily lessons, except for Charity. Charity had just finished the track a month before she was sold. I've rode her on the lunge line, bareback and under saddle. We are currently reschooling her, trying to get her to relax and take things slowly.
Is there anything I can try with her? She is really sweet, and does lunging nicely with no problems. After like 15 or so minutes of lunging, I get on and we slowly walk only around, stopping and going and sometimes, little backups.
Thank you for any ideas. =] Charity is my summer project horse.
try doing figure 8's and serpentines...you will have more freedom to try trotting and cantering with control..just keep in mind that if she should try something just keep you cool and confidence and begin turning her into a circle. until that circle is so small that she will walk then stop. these tricks helped me a lot over the years...good luck
With OTT TBs its a lot different than reschooling other horses... most of the time they dont steer very well... and are pretty forward. And most people don't realize but they are very on the forehand, which is some of the lack of steering.
As someone suggested, lots of serpentines, figure eights, big turns to get her to start understanding the steering aides. Once she is comfortable under saddle and isn't nervous you can start things like turn on the forehand to get her to understand the leg aide. Once you start trotting her, the most important thing is to get her to go forward, dont haul on her face as tempting as it sometimes gets. Get her pushing more with her hind end before you ask her to circle at the trot, it will be a lot easier once she is off her forehand.
Break each aide down so that you are asking her for a single command when you introduce something. (If you are serpentining its ok if she isnt bending correctly, just work on steering so you dont overwhelm her.)
good luck! :)
Thanks for the ideas! I'll be sure to add them to my little training plan for her. =]
Besides all the stuff that has been listed already, do a lot of trail riding too. I have trained a lot of OTTB's and i've found that a lot of trail riding will get them to relax bc they are out having fun and you can still ask them to do things like circles and stuff like that on the trail, a lot of them are nervous bc all theyve ever done is work and train and if u continue to do that with them all the time they tend to get burned out and go sour. so that's my suggestion, it's made all my horses very very happy.
I use a lot of voice commands, especially with the OTTB's. "Whoa" is very important because when they get going, putting pressure on the reins will only make them go faster and until they start understanding the difference between the "bridge" the jockey uses and the pressure meaning stop, you need a reliable method to ask her to stop in case she takes off or spooks.
The jockey makes a bridge by shortening his or her reins and crossing them over the horses neck, then pressing their hands into the lower neck. As they move them up and create more tension on the reins (shortening them) the horse leans into the bit and runs faster. This is why racehorses will usually go faster as you tighten up on the reins.
I know when I was first getting used to OTTB's, if I got into a panicky situation I would forget about their "gas pedal" and while I applied pressure the horse would only go faster creating an unnecessary situation.
My only real advice is lots of voice commands as well as flexing excersizes for the right side (which will have less flexibility/muscle). When you get to cantering, most OTTB's will have trouble picking up their right leads so one trick is to do a spiral from a large circle to a small circle at an trot and as you got smaller ask for a canter while straightening back out down the side of the arena.
Hope that helped and sorry if that came out as more of a "lecture on information you already new"!
Ohhh I just remembered one thing that I found particularly helpful:
"Reward your OTTB for any attempt they make at doing what you ask regardless of how small."
The rest of the article that this was on also said that even if you don't get your horse to do what you are asking, any progress is good progress and end on a good note. They will always remember what you did yesterday so you can add onto the previous lessons like building blocks.
Once again, I hope this helped, good luck, & keep us updated!
-Christy & Indy
Lots of transitions and slow, methodical round pen work. Also tying will teach the horse to stand and watch the grass grow. What are you feeding her? That may be a place to start. A diet of unlimited hay and water will help too to get all the high octane feed out of her system.
Wow, thank you everyone for your ideas and tips.
2 days ago, we lunged her out in the front field, for a different taste of environment and footing. She whinned loudly at first (right next to my EAR!) but was totally calm after that. Later, Sue, my instructor, told me to walk her around in the field as she was really good. I felt she had done well and she seemed to enjoy the walk in the "woods", except for the flies.
She eats (like the others in the barn) a ice cream bucket of soaked beet pulp, half a ice cream bucket of grain and a 1/4 flake of hay. Also, she gets lots of water.
Today, I will be seeing her again for more lunging and also a small ride on her in the arena. Sue would like to have me ride her after my lessons/barn chores so she is used and not a barn decor. =]
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