Slow down an OTTB
I've had a few Off Track Thoroughbreds now, and they've all been really different.
Velevt, my new one, is a real sweetie to me on the ground, dopey and affectionate. To ride, she is nice but:
-She is very forward
-She only stops when you put pressure on the reins. I can say whoa and relax in my seat all day long, and nothing.
-Her trot is very fast
-When I ask her to canter I either get a super fast trot or a gallop
-She doesn't always focus on me, she's often looking around nosing at the other horses or people on the hills.
What I have done so far to try and make it a little better:
-When I ride and ask her to stop or slow down, I ask with the reins but also with my seat and voice.
-Trying to collect her trot when ridden (keep doing half halts etc)
-I'm going to start doing serpentines and figure 8s in trot with her (not done that yet as only thought of it the other day. To get her mind focusing on where her feet are going and not how fast.
-Even her walk I'm doing half halts in as her walk it like a power walk.
-Yesterday I decided to lunge her. I've never been that keen on lungeing, but I thought it'd help with the voice cues, and it kinda stopped falling on deaf ears and she started listening a bit more, and I had an ear on me the majority of the time once we got going. I made the circle quite tight after a little while, and it made her walk and trot much slower and collected. It was way too wet to canter (I don't have an arena, just a round pen and paddocks) I didn't ride after, so I haven't seen if it's had an effect on her ridden work.
-I've done lateral flexion from the start, so if she does ever take off, I can one rein stop, among other reasons for LF.
So that's what I've done so far (I may have left some stuff out, so forgive me if I later go "ooh, I've also done this...") Any ideas/pointers. Please nothing too critical.
I used to own a mustang who's previous owner apparently did nothing but run him. So for maybe a month or more we did nothing but walk, no trot, no canter. It was a bit of a fight at first but when he would finally walk he got lots of praise then maybe a short break. In the beginning it was a fast walk but I would keep asking him to slow and even if he took only took a few slower step he got lots of praise. When he would relax his body even if it was just a little bit lots of praise. We would take the same trail everyday being around a familiar area seemed to help the relaxing process. Sometimes he would refuse to walk home when he did this I would woah him then try again. If that wouldnt work I'd take him farther away from home then try again if he walked we went home if he didnt we went farther way. Id turn back to going home if he walked he got praise and reward of going home.Then once he would consistently walk without fighting me I started to trot him again I'd trot a short amount of time then make him go back to a walk and we would walk again for awhile when he relaxed lots of good praise. Basically walk trot walk trot. Once he mastered that then we would walk the slow canter walk as I did with the trotting. Once that was going well I'd mix it up walk trot walk canter walk mostly you can mix it up how you like, most important thing is beginning and ending in a relaxed walk. I hope I remembered everything we did its been awhile 7 years since then.
That's good advice, thanks Peppy :-)
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Sounds like you're doing OK. I would get her going well on the ground first, then start riding in a small area - half arena or such - getting her good there before the whole arena, before going out & about. I would be teaching her the basics before attempting to 'refine' stuff.
She may have never been taught voice aids, & as jockeys have their knees up in their armpits, & bums off the saddle, it's a good bet she's never even heard of seat & leg aids. By teaching her to yield to fingertip pressure on her sides on the ground you can help her understand leg aids better when you get on, but otherwise I think using reins in conjunction to other aids is a good way to teach them - I'd be doing them at the same time, then when you think she may have the idea, you can 'test' it by just trying seat/voice & backing it up with reins when/if necessary.
Agree with lots of slow stuff & transitions, but I wouldn't bother trying to refine gaits yet - eg. accept that fast trot & don't try for different speeds within gaits until you've got the basics down pat.
Give her reasons to pay attention to you. First ensure she's confident with you & not looking everywhere else because she's afraid & wanting to escape. Then I'd be using a combo of positive reinforcement(reward, Good Thing) when she's paying attention to you & asking her for stuff on the ground that keeps her concentrating, or she'll 'get in the way of' pressure. I put it that way because I think it's best not to come across as attacking or aggressing 'at' the horse, but if she's not paying attention, doesn't move pronto, she will be in the way. I wouldn't expect too much/too long from her & would *allow* her to be a horse most of the time, mind on whatever she likes, but teach her a cue that means you you expect her to pay attention at a particular time. When she's doing that well, then you can ask for more.
HollyLolly you're telling us your horse is a runaway^^^^
If this offends you and is too critical, sorry. But I've owned runaways too, just not for long because it's easy to fix. Horse is too "forward"?? Make her think backward. When you feel the gas pedal start to stick, stop and back up. Every time. You might ask for a trot and go 5 feet before you have to stop and go backwards. You might spend more time backing up than going forward. I promise you'll see big results in 1 hour. And your horse will improve in numerous areas. She'll start backing better, and if you use your hands right she'll become softer in your hands and more responsive to light cues. If you pay attention and give release and reward at the right time you'll see the start of collection, which will lead to improved performance and a nice ride :thumbsup:
Thanks for your input guys! Peppy, I'm sorry to hear about your poor mustang. My amazing horse, Indi, had to be put to sleep due to being poisoned, it was tragic, I feel terrible that you went through a very similar thing :(
Thank you loosie, I've taken on board what you have said, especially about getting her to pay attention more.
Amazin, this is also very useful, could you elaborate on backing up. Like, do I do it on the ground or ridden, or both. How many strides do I back up, then, do I stop and walk on, or stop and back some more. Or just mix it up? I have had her do some backing up work, but only to mix things up a bit.
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How many steps backward? Well at first you might have trouble getting any. Might have to jiggle your reins and hold tight, or see-saw. At first I go about But the more you back, the faster and more fluid they become. My rule of thumb is, back up until you get to the place where they speeded up. May be 4 steps, may be 20 steps. You don't necessarily need to do alot of turning, more just straight likes forward and backward. A video would probably help
P.S. Just read the post above me and it said pretty much the same thing. Oh well hopefully it'll help
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