Rushing at the trot
I recently bought a 5 1/2 year old Clydesdale/QH (don't ask) mare, and she always rushes the trot. I can get her to do a super-slow trot (with constant effort)- but no "happy medium." After an hour of working with her today, I finally got her to take one lap at a working trot (still- I was using a lot of effort- not a comfortable position). I don't think it's an energy issue, because when I canter her, she goes at a nice, constant, working pace. She won't round her neck, and when I try to slow her, she shakes her head, and pulls it up almost vertically. I'm using a basic snaffle bit- her previous owners were using a snaffle, too. I've tried circles- doesn't have any effect. She just had a vet check yesterday- no back problems or anything. Also, we've had the saddle checked- it fits fine. Help?
Lots of halts. Trot her for a few minutes and halt. Do some backing and some pivots, some roll backs into the trot. You want her to anticipate the whoa, starting the trot strait out of the back will also get her up underneath herself, she'll be more balanced and start collecting for you. It sounds like she's just a little green and maybe unbalanced. Keep working with her, you'll see results.
My mare had the same problem. It helped to work her off the rail in the center part of the arena. We only went to the rail when she was "in the jog or lope". She quickly learned that it was much easier for her when she slowed down. The rail was her reward. I also changed her to a high port, medium shank when we began neckreining. This bit seemed to help her get her hindquarters under her and I can ride her on a loose rein for her pattern work.
However, this type of bit is not for a beginner horse or rider.
work off the rail - and don't let her shoulders poke to the outside - keep her under herself.... it takes a lot more muscle to slow down and go collected than it does to "just go fast"
also, given the age of your mare, you might want to check for wolf teeth - and make sure that her teeth are not giving her any problems. (could be why she's tossing her head)
good luck :-)
this is a neat website...
How to Slow Down on a Horse While Riding English Style | Expert Village Videos
How about teeth? Did the vet look at her teeth?
If teeth are fine, then I would work her over ground poles. You'll need to fiddle with the spacing to get them just right for her stride. Generally, you want them 3-4' apart for a regular working trot. Working her over poles will force her to regular her speed and watch her feet. They will also help improve her balance.
Leave 4-6 poles set up in the arena. When she rushes, turn her in and take her over the poles. Keep working her over them, back and forth, until she stays at her working trot when not in the poles, then go back to the full arena.
Another thing I would work on is lots and lots and lots of transitions. Walk/trot, trot/canter, walk/halt, and transitions within the gait. Work from slower trot to working trot, back down to slower trot. As soon as she speeds up, take her down to a walk or up to a canter, or down to her slow trot.
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