Slow down a super fast trot and canter?!
I've been riding my friends little Thoroughbred mare recently because she can't ride and doesn't want her horse to sit for a year, and this mare is super fast. (She has never been raced either!) Her trot and canter are too fast, she does not respond to half halts, she's all go and no woah. She doesn't exactly stop with rein contact she just likes to throw her head. Her owner has a technique that works with her half seat but I ride western and don't plan on sitting that way the whole time. My question is what should I try to slow this girl down? My thought was do some circles but she can do fast tiny circles with those tiny legs of hers, it's crazy. I'd like to get her to be a nice calm (and NORMAL) riding horse when the owner can get back on. She'll probably only be ridden 2-3 times a week because I have 2 of my own mares to ride as well. Another boarder might ride as well so i'd like to share techniques that work.
Please help! :)
I don't know this mare personally, so what help I can give is limited, especially since it's pretty difficult via internet.... But, I'll try! An important question to answer is does she get hotter with more work, or does she tire out? It might help to take her into the round pen and try to find out whether she gets more and more worked up with work, or if she just has a lot of energy/ stamina and needs a lot of warm up. Try lounging her and seeing how she behaves afterwards. Push her a bit and try to feel for her limits. Hot horses generally fall into two categories, where they either need to be calmed down with slow consistent work or just need to get out and let loose some of their piss and vinegar. There's a thread on here about galloping a hot and fast horse, by QHriderKE, and it might help you out- her mare was pretty fast and she wanted to know if breezing her might help, but it turned out she did very well with slower work and a job to do and engage in.
I actually really like circles for hot and forward horses, the key is to engage her mind while you're doing them. Don't just whip her into a circle, make her stay balanced and round. If she wants to fall into the circle and make it tight, push her back out with your inside leg and some outside rein. Keep her moving forward, if that's what she wants- just make sure that every move she makes is on YOUR terms, not hers.
After i've been cantering around for a bit she slows down, but only by a little bit, not completely. I will try the lunging and try the slow work and see how that goes! I will need to work on balancing our circles as well, a couple of the horses I ride like to lean in with their shoulders, I was told to use the inside leg, but what else should I be doing? Thank you!
Then again she does get grain daily and doesn't ride as often maybe she is super hyped up too!
I take it she was at the track, but not raced?? So she has no training. The tempos of her trot are very much influenced by the rider's posting and balance. The rider must LEAD her, NOT follow. And the contact must not end up being a water skiing match. Ideally this is a job for a very experience trainer. And certainly no canter before the trot is established. In walk, on a circle, you can pulse the (outside aids) and think slow/down. Two seperate pulses (times to her gait). Expect little reward much. Half halts come later, and for sure circles help to slow the horse w/o the rider pulling.
The fact that the horse throws the head is typical of horses of the track (where only hands have been used), and also because the riders hands are too low and fixed at the withers (so the bit acts on the bars of the mouth).
It is a job of replacing one behavior pattern with another, and it starts with bit acceptance (NOT flexing to vertical, or low neck) in WALK. Slow/down/halt/relax there, do circles there, sustain the same tempo, nice inside flexion (see inside eyelashes), etc. Smaller circles are NOT to pull her around, but to create bend and balance. She does NOT yet know the 5 rein effects. The riders job is to educate (in walk first). If you are using them to pull the inside rein to turn the horse it will lose the quarters/lean/panic...that is not the point in trot or canter. Why not educate the horse in walk first since you have so few rides a week, and only if there is complete calm occasionally do the trot (even more slow trot if she will allow it).
If she was at the track she has a lot of training that can be dangerous to someone that hasn't worked with off tracks. Google off track TB and get some perspective on how shes trained
Next time, lounge her until she's nice and warmed up and focused, get on, and do it again. Once she learns to slow down when you ask, start working on building her balance in circles at the walk. After she has this all down at a walk, then start with the trot- make sure she'll listen to you when you ask her to slow down in the trot, then add circles and build up from there.
Doing this will help with leaning, too- usually horses that lean in the circles just need to build up that strength to keep them balanced, and starting back at the walk will help that. You could definitely do this with the other horses you have that lean in their circles.
Let us know how she does next time you see her, keep us updated!
I love One rein stops! I have a horse who is also very GO GO GO.. and not much WHOA. These are very effective when you have a horse who just wants to go and not really pay attention to you. They get a little too speedy.. yield the butt, or do a complete ORS. ORS are a heck of a lot more work than just moving out nicely. So they get the point pretty quick!
I started this on the ground first, then moved it up into the saddle. You want to start at the walk when you begin teaching this. This is more than just dragging their head to your knee. You want to ask them to give to one side, and only apply enough pressure to get them to disengage the hind end.
You will want to apply inside leg at the same time. Release your leg once the inside hind crosses over and they scoot that bum over. Don't immediately let go of the face though, you want them nicely giving. At first they are really going to stop rough and unbalanced, however after enough repitition they really start to understand what you want. Then you have a horse who nicely gives to the side and scoots that bum over and stops. Also don't release the face until the feet completely stop. This is also done on each side.
I was amazed at how quickly Duke got this. And how quickly he decided trotting nicely was easier than yielding the hind quarters! :lol:
You will never get a good canter from a bad trot. You will never get a good trot from a bad walk.
Start at the beginning. Ask for it, take what she gives you and if it doesn't work, go down a gait and try again.
Sounds like this will take a looong time lol. That's ok. Her owner can get her to slow down by riding half seat, squeezing thighs and half halts (sounds backwards and weird to me) and that doesn't work in my western saddle. I have no problem just doing work at a walk with her, thank you for all the tips! She was never near the track so she's not track trained, she was used as a broodmare before she bought her. She's used to having only her owner ride so this is different for her as well.
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