I hope you can help.
I have a 5 year old TB, ex racer. I am taking him back and trying to help him make the transition from racer frame of mine to a schooled horse.
When i lunge him he is brilliant, we've come so far and he is listening really well. I can now lunge him with just one lunge line. However, the problem I am having is he won't got from transition from trot to walk. He won't do it. He just keeps trotting. If he doesn't do it I send him into canter, then back to trot, then ask for the walk again and if he doesn't send him back to canter. Even doing this doesn't make him listen when I ask for walk.
When he doesn't walk instead of cantering him make him stop. Then ask him to walk on.
Easier said than done, he won't stop either!
I'd first want to get him fully checked out by a veterinary chiro or such, as it's quite possible, as an ex racer that there are physical probs making it hard for him.
& basically as far as training, agree with foxhunter. If you want him to slow down & he doesn't, don't just tell him to go faster again - you don't want him getting the idea that's what he does every time you ask him to slow!
I use lunging as a training step - teaching/reinforcing 'cues' at a distance that have already been established up close - so I'd expect the horse to know what I'm asking, or it would indicate a 'hole' in my prior training, so if the horse didn't slow when I asked, I'd generally think 'whoops, I missed something' & take a step back to cover what we missed. But in the moment, with a horse that won't slow, just get in front of him & block him, with your body, rope, lunge whip, etc. And ensure you reinforce (pref positively) all the Good Stuff you do get.
What did you use 2 ropes for? I noticed you said you can now lunge him with one line - I'm curious as to the way you've gone about it, as I think of using 2 reins as a step up in training from one rein - I always start teaching the basics before getting more 'particular'.
Well when I first got him we were on a different yard and we had a round pen which wasn't very big. We weren't allowed to lunge in the school so we had no option but to use it. He would kick off big style when we asked him to do anything, the problem was that he used to do the kicking, bucking etc while trying to come into us so it was quite dangerous. We used to use 2 lunge lines to be able to pull him back out when he started coming inwards.
While a lot of race horses are lunged, it isn't an "indepth course" - it's a quick step towards long-reining during the breaking process. He won't have a great idea of what verbal commands are, and you will need to rely on your body to direct him as to what you want him to do.
When I started as manager at a pre-training yard, there were 5 horses in the process of being broken. I was told they could all lunge and were all great at it. Yup, they could all gallop around like eejits in a circle all right, wouldn't call it lunging though! Back to basics, make sure YOUR body is in the right place and telling the horse what to do. By the time I was done with those 5 they all knew the verbal commands as to what I wanted them to do. Remember you tell a horse a heck of a lot with the way you carry yourself, angle yourself and direct your shoulders.
First, are you in a caveson? With side reins? OR are you lunging off the bit? From trot to walk (right), or trot to halt.....
In any case you are in the center of a circle, right? First the horse goes around you (marking the spot ) IN WALK.....YOU move toward the wall BEFORE the horse gets there. Present the horse with a visual barrier, it will stop. WHEN it has stopped, stay whoa. Then YOU back up a little and let the horse continue in walk. WHEN that works. Then do the same thing in trot. In effect you cut the horse off from going. If you are too slow they will go through the space, if you are too aggressive they can stop and go the other way. It should work in about 5 minutes.
Retraining can take up to 10x as long as training an unspoiled horse. ALL ex-racetrack TB's come with baggage. They have been trained to run as if a predator is chasing them, and the new training is very confusing to them.
YOU NEED TO BE MORE PATIENT.
If you are not, this horse will be on a cycle of changing owners and just get worse.
Just let him continue to trot on the lunge. Whistle a happy tune or just talk nice to him and sooner or later he'll decide to slow down. FIRST TIME THIS HAPPENS, praise him and walk him back to his stall. Spend at least one full week working with him on this one thing. The time will be well spent.
If you don't love him enough to train him right, maybe I'll buy him from you.
I'm not sure if my advice will help, but I will tell you what I do!
When I am lunging or round-penning, I am engaging the horse's attention the entire time... setting his pace, telling him when to ease up or work into his movement, etc. When I want my horse to stop, I totally disengage him after or while I ask for a "ho." I look away, I stop following his movement (or fall behind his movement), I will even crouch down and act totally disinterested until he stops and faces me, inevitably looking confused and a little curious as to why I am no longer engaging him! At this point, I praise him and either ask him to walk on or I turn him.
Once your horse is used to being engaged on the lunge, you can slow him to a walk by just dragging behind his movement (not following him as fast as he is going). I will normally repeat "aaand walk" while I gradually lag more and more behind his movement.
For now, it sounds like your boy doesn't know that he can relax on a lunge; it's a place of up-and-go work! I would start by controlling the speed of his trot with your body language and once he is more receptive, asking him to take on the idea of a walk on a lunge line.
give him small tugs, and say walk or easy. Just keep repeating it every time, and if you have to pull his head in and make him look at you and pay attention
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