Transitioning to Neck Reining
I'm working with a 13 year old gelding on WP for his owner, he was originally trained for WP as a 2/3 y/o but his previous owner barrel raced him a lot. We've been together for 3 months and he now is walking and jogging calmly two handed. I have him in a shanked copper training bit with a snaffle mouth. He neck reins at the walk but when I one hand him at the jog he speeds up. I one hand him and reward him for extended times of keeping his slow jog but he still does it. Any tips?
Also, due to the fact that his previous owner rode him in a tie down all the time, when I lope him he tosses his head and braces. He used to do this at the walk and trot, but doesn't anymore. If I loosen him to let his head relax he takes off, if I put even a little bit of pressure on to slow him down, he tosses his head. How can I change this? I have ridden him in a running martingale with a smooth d ring snaffle but that hasn't helped.
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It sounds like he doesn't like your bit. Every time you put pressure on the reins he tosses his head? That is evading the bit. I would probably put him in a a double jointed snaffle like a french link.
It will be difficult to get a former barrel horse to be wp slow. You are in for a long ride! But it sounds like your off to a good start. You need to be patient because he doesn't understand SLOW. Let him be a bit fast for a while, then ask for slow, reward anything you get, even if it's only 3 strides!
I would suggest jogging or loping for a few strides then stopping, backing and taking off again and repeating this cycle until he slows down a bit, but this may backfire on him. It might make him hotter because of his barrel racing past. But it may not. It'd be worth a try at least. If not, circles, circles, circles! It might sound mind-numbingly boring but it does help. Take him into a circle and don't let him go back to the rail until he has slowed down. If he speeds up again when he gets back to the rail, start over.
I know how difficult it is to turn a non-wp horse into one. I'm still working on mine! lol We only do wp for fun because he just wasn't made for it. He's a hunt seat horse. Good luck!
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