My horse just wants to run!
I got a new horse a few months ago. He's very responsive and an all around great horse. However, he just wants to run all the time. I'm having a hard time getting him to stay in a trot or a smooth lope. I try holding him back, but he just throws his head. And when I say run, I mean full speed, and he aint slow.
I have been using a dee bit, and just recently have tried a curb and a tom thumb. He throws his head the most with the curb. I guess I've had the most success slowing him down with a tom thumb, but I've only used it once (he still throws his head quite a bit with it). Again, he's very responsive (stops and turns very well) and has a pretty soft mouth.
He does great in the round pen, but as soon as he gets in the arena he just wants to go. I'm not entirely sure what the previous owner used him for, but I'm guessing barrels by the way he acts in the arena. He's only 8 years old.
Any ideas? Should I try a different bit, or just stick with the dee snaffle since he responds well with it? What kind of training should I be doing to correct this?
Thanks in advance for any help.
Never mind the bits, get back to a snaffle and take him the arena & occupy his mind. Do trotting poles, bridges, logs, sidepassing, gates, two tracking, all sorts of exercising that don't consist of going around in circles. That's how you get his mind off GO!
Does his tack fit properly? Saddle, headstall, cinch, etc
Once you've ruled out a pain problem, then you know you can go to fix the behavioral issue.
Does he want to run out on the trail too? Or only in the arena? Are you riding him out on the trail?
Serpentines are a great way to slow down a horse without hanging on their mouth. And this doesn't matter if you are in the arena or out on the trail. Start at the walk. Keep your reins loose in that there should be NO contact on his mouth. If he speeds up into a trot without you asking, start serpentining back and forth until he goes back to a walk. Then allow him to walk straight. REPEAT. This may take weeks. But you've got to be patient and you've got to be consistent. Do not go any faster than a walk, until he stops trying to go faster. Make sure you are using both rein and seat and leg cues to serpentine.
Then you can do the same exercise at the trot. If he breaks into a gallop without you asking, do serpentines until he goes back to the trot. Then continue on your way. Do not go any faster than a trot, until he stops trying to go faster on his own.
Same with the gallop. If he speeds up faster than you want to go, serpentine.
Again, this may take WEEKS or MONTHS. Be patient. If he's 8 years old and he's always been allowed to get away with it, it's going to take time to get rid of the problem.
You can also work on just plain stopping when he goes faster than you'd like, but you have to be careful when doing that with hot or excitable horses. For example, if you are walking and he breaks into a trot, immediately ask him for a soft stop. You may also ask him to back a few steps. Then make him stand nicely for 10 seconds. Then proceed walking like you were doing in the first place.
The main idea with any of these things is to teach him that the FASTER he tries to go, the SLOWER you are going to make him go. He needs to learn that there's no rush.
It takes time, consistency, and extreme patience. Also make sure you are always properly releasing the reins and leg/seat cues when he does something correctly.
While I agree with most of what has been said, what happens when you just let him run and push him until he's dying to stop? Turn his "cool" idea into the worst idea he's everrrrr had. :lol:
I just ask because I have a mare that needs to really all out run a couple times a week or she turns into a writhing ball of misbehaviors+bolting. Once she gets her run in, she's fine. She starts listening really well and her brain stays screwed on straight for about a week, unless I have her run again.
I deal with it by making sure that we have "me-sanctioned" running times at least a couple times a week. When we do, her behavior stays positively angelic.
Obviously, that's not the key for all horses but it might pay to find out if you don't already know.
I'd also really like to ask? Does he break gait? If you ask for a trot, does he want to slip into the lope instead? If this is the case, even if it isn't, with my horses that have the mind set of this, I 'one-rein' stop them. I don't like a horse that anticipates, and a lot of times in my experience, if I run them more, it's just doing what he wants to do (BUT - there have been horses this has worked for as well - I just don't prefer it).
I don't ride many of my horses (training/personal) in a curb bit, period. I think everything can be done in a simple snaffle. So that's where I'd start. Get him back into a snaffle, practice on the ground FIRST a one rein stop, but asking him to flex his head side to side, until he's soft and responsive at it. Once you accomplished this, THEN get back into the saddle, if you going to try to do the one rein stop, you're going to want that foundation on the ground.
Now, that you’re in the saddle again, walk him off - loose rein, out of his mouth. If he tries to slip into a faster gait, let him COMMIT to his mistake, then bend him (one rein stop) into a stop. He may spin his butt around and try to toss his head at this - LET HIM - once he is standing quietly, and soft - release immediately. Do this at a walk until he 'get's' it.
Once hes got it at the walk, move up to the trot, if he starts to rush into another gait, bend him around till he stops and is quiet. I recommend being to stop on both sides so he stays soft and supple in his neck. After you feels he’s got it at a trot, move up to the lope.
Does he know how to give to the bend vertically? Work on that on the ground too! Then practice at the walk/trot/lope. If you don’t know how PM me and I’ll give you some of my tips! :)
Even if you are walking/trotting/loping and it’s the gait you want, but he starts to rush or pull at your hands, bend him around. I don't like a horse that is rushing; bend him around till he stops. The lope shouldn't be stressful for him, and it sounds like it is.
Like I said before, I don’t recommend running him around. My personal horse Stoney, was a barrel horse, who thought she had to run nonstop, all the time. A simple trail ride was a nightmare of jigging and trying to rear. Don’t hold your horse back, or you might be setting him up for a rearing episode. With my mare, I just had to keep bending her around. Now, she’s calm, no more chomping the bit, no jigging, no head tossing, NO STRESS.
With my mare, the more I ran the ‘crazier’ for lack of a better word, she got. It did nothing but make her more anxious and stressed.
This, I think would be a good exercise for your horse.
^^^Also agree with DiamondK
1) There are horses out there that would NEVER stop. They would run themselves into a heart attack before they would stop.
2) You aren't really teaching the horse anything, because you are giving him what he wants. He wants to go faster. He should be doing what you ask him to do. Not what he wants to do.
3) It's dangerous. If you are having trouble just controlling his gait in general, what are you going to do if you give him the GO to run, and then you can't control him after?
This is all great information! Some tips I've used and they do work but it is a very slow process. I have a similar problem with my mare and she is one of those that will literally run her heart out so she doesn't get to run unless she's turned out in the pasture. In fact, it's even difficult in the round pen because she will just keep going like the energizer bunny! But eventually, it will die too if it runs long enough....
Very true Kctop72 - If is a very long process, especially when the thought process is immediately what the horse runs too. Change is time, and the horse will eventually make the connection. They need to know that it is work time, but that they need/should be relaxed during their job as well! :)
My comments are in purple. :)
For me, I feel comfortable running the snot out of a horse I know to be a bolting hazard. Others might not. That's fine but the OP deserves to know all her options. Maybe she has the perfect area to just go run and not so much for bending exercises...or maybe the opposite is true. In any case, she deserves to know the options that are open to her.
Different strokes for different folks, people! :)
My mare is 8 yrs old and does the same thing. She's great in the field and out on trail, but as soon as we get in the arena, she just wants to GO! I ride her in a dee snaffle. When I first got my mare she was ridden in a tom thumb. I immedaiately changed it to the snaffle as she was really throwing her head in the tom thumb.
Before riding, I usually lunge her to tire her out a little bit. After mounting, I will walk her, stop, back her up, make her stand there and then walk on. We do the same thing at the trot. As soon as she tries to run, I make her stop and back up and also trot small circles and counterbend her until she listens.
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