Reforming a Foxtrotter...the journey begins
Bought a Foxtrotter mare for my husband almost two years ago, hubby rode her 2-3 times and lost interest; she is apparently now my horse (I've got 4 others). I have ridden her a handful of times, but my primary ride has always been my RMH. The Foxtrotter is now 15, was used as a trail horse at "dude ranch" and bred several times; we bought her on an impulse at a dispersal where we had gone to look at farm equipment. She is very well trained, has alot more buttons than my RMH, but is VERY forward. I have decided to make her my primary trail horse for a little while with the goal of perhaps selling her, or getting her to a point where I enjoy riding her. She was extremely barn and buddy sour, but at this point she will just stall and then move forward with some encouragement rather than throwing a full blown hissy.
Major issue is: cannot rate this mare on a trail ride, she boogies on down the trail with the goal not just to be in front, she will pass the leaders & keep going. I have a very difficult time getting her to walk...her preferred gait is a foxtrot. I am constantly in her mouth, when she walks I give her some rein & she immediately speeds up. How do I get this mare to a point that I don't need constant contact to slow her down?
A little background on me...54, extensive background with horses thru my 20's & then a break for about 15 years. Was badly injured by a fall from a green Arab mare some years ago which totally killed my confidence. I am regaining that confidence (finally), but this mare does scare me a little. She is not mean or spooky, she's just so ****ed quick. My RMH thinks and then reacts, she is also not very athletic, so the reaction is sort of slo-mo.
I have no clue about gaited horses other than that they're horses, but I'll try.;-)
You say she's barn-and buddy sour....but she will keep going past everybody.
I'll triple check saddle and tack fit, maybe try different saddles, have her looked over for back pain and also have a closer look at what she eats.
If all that comes out negative, you'll have a training problem.
A lot of start/stops! Everyone I have talked to with that has dealt with a horse that is forward says that you need to teach them patience. Walk 10 meters, stop, walk 5 meters, stop, walk 30 meters, stop. Change directions every time they try to get ahead of the cue. Make them work hard when pushing and work them easy when walking. It will take a lot of patience on your end to endure this as there is no predetermined clock on how long it will take.
Someone with hands on experience will hopefully find this thread and give better advice as I am only going by hearsay. I would think that the above advice given to me should work on any breed of horse since it is a respect training exercise. The horse doesn't respect your authority in the decision making of how fast to go. That leads to disrespect in every other aspect of the relationship with you and will become dangerous.
The above advice worked on my 8 yr old black and white after 2 sessions, but I started correcting it as soon as it happened so it was relatively easy to turn it around.
Good luck and hope you can get her to an enjoyable level for you or the new owner.
I have a simmimilar issue with my TWH gelding, not the buddy sour, but the too fast part... I will stalk this thread for tips lol
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These horses were bred to motor along and riding with non gaited seldom works out unless the horse is lazy.
Saddlebag, I'm generally riding with other gaited folks. I went gaited when we moved to AR cause my QH could not keep up....now I have the opposite problem! My RMH has a couple of different "gears" at the walk; I can rate her to pretty much match our riding partners (mostly Pasos and Walkers). The MFT has a naturally fast walk, which is fine if I could keep her at a walk. She wants to gait ALL the time. I have to keep her on a tight rein, she ends up over collected and behind the bit....and still gaiting rather than walking. Saddle fit is fine, she is pastured 24/7 with no feed or hay (and she's still rather, shall we say, voluptuous). I will try the stop/start thing & see if that helps.
I have an OTSTB racking horse that was way to speedy when we started trail riding. Since he's an ex-trotter from the track, if I got into his mouth too much, he would grab and go. I honestly had to change bits and do a series of schooling
I start out teaching the horse to disengage his hindend, I do this by teaching the horse how to cross over with his hindlegs on leg and rein cue. I start on the ground with me on the left side of the horse, put my hand on his left rib close to where my leg would go and pull his head near me while pushing on the rib and saying "over" (I also do driving so I teach all my horses voice commands) and I don't progress to saddle until the horse can cross over his hindend easily from both sides. I then progress to saddle and then teach the one rein stop which is a natural extension from disengaging the hind end.
On the trail I start with half halts, then progress to half halts with circles, and if the horse is still too forward, we do lots of serpentines. If the horse is still not coming back to me, I disengage the hind end and make them stand.
This takes time and patience, and sometimes tack and bit changes. What bit are you using?
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