My ex racehorse won't track up
Close to a year ago my TB horse came off the track and I brought him. He goes so well at dressage comps but the one thing that lets us down is that he seems slightly stiff in both his back legs, he tracks up naturally in the walk but I have never been able to get him to track up in trot. I always warm him up well so I don't understand what coudl be wrong?Anyone have any advice/triaining ideas?
First thing to rule out is any physical reason why engaging his hind end and tracking up could be uncomfortable for him. Is his saddle properly fitted? Could it be in need of a reflocking? Is it possible that he has an injury from his track days that could bother him a bit at the trot? Has he been seen by an equine chiropractor or massage therapist? He could be "out" or stiff in his back and/or hindquarters. How are his teeth? If his mouth hurts, he's not going to want to work forward toward the bit and use himself fully. It could be lots of things that have very little to do with training.
Do you work with a trainer/coach/instructor? If all of the above checks out, then it is probably a matter of building up the right muscles, and a year is a pretty short timeframe for that to happen even under the best of conditions (i.e., highly experienced trainer aboard, daily workouts, stellar conformation, etc.). If it is simply a matter of training/time, give yourself and your horse that time to build up the muscles to engage better. Enlisting a good coach/instructor/trainer (if you haven't already) can be a great way to fasttrack your success and make sure that you and your fella are on the right track. :wink:
Will he track up if you put him in a roundyard and free lunge him? If not, then I would be getting him to a vet when you get a chance to, to do some flexion tests and possibly nerve blocks on him to see if there is any lameness.
How old is he, and how long did he race? Arthritis would not surprise me, probably in the hocks.
Medical aside, as the post above said, I would be look at back issues and possible saddle fit issues. If he has something pinching, he's not going to track up and be very unwilling to use his back properly under saddle. A sacroiliac issue could well be the stem of the issue.
If he is physically 100%, you need to look at how you are riding him. A horse won't track up under saddle if it's not being ridden forward. And the typical ottb has quite a 'sewing machine' trot so will not willingly reach forward and under its centre of gravity with the hind legs. You need to encourage the hind legs, by riding forward, and starting some work on leg yield, spiralling on circles, transitions etc.
Maybe have a more experienced rider get on him and see if they can get him tracking up under saddle.
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