Can anyone tell me like the attitude and characteristics of a TB? I'm working with one right now and I know more about quarter horses than anything.. Just don't know much about TB's at all:/ thanks!
The biggest difference I've noticed is how sensitive TBs are to QHs. Like you, I grew up around Quarter Horses, but now I own a Throughbred filly. I've never had to punish her as severely as I have the other horses, and she's very intelligent. She doesn't forget a lesson that she has learned...good or bad, so I have to be very careful to only let her learn good things.
Thoroughbreds are considered hot blooded horses, known for their agility, speed and spirit. Personally I love the longer strides of the TB but I will say that in all the horses I've ridden, TBs are much hotter compared to QHs which are generally more laid back. That is a generalization though and there are exceptions to each breed.
They were influential in the quarter horse and other breeds.
My experience with Thoroughbreds is that they can be sensitive and intelligent. For example, sometimes when teaching them things like yielding, rather than working up to more pressure to make them move, they move too much to hardly any pressure and you have to teach them how to slow down.
They're very reactive, some other breeds, like the stock breeds or the ones bred to be around people a lot tend to think things through. Where as Thoroughbreds don't tend to do that as much. It's something they sometimes learn, but it doesn't always come naturally, but they're often not problem solvers. For example, our grass arena is next to a paddock, when letting the horses loose sometimes some go in the grass arena and try to get to the others. The Thoroughbreds tend to panic when they realise they're in there away from the others, and start galloping the fence line and get so worked up we can't catch them. We have a stock horse, quarter horse and pony cross and when they get stuck there they just turn around, go out the arena gate they came through and join the others.
This can come up in training where if you apply pressure they respond in a certain way, and rather than trying different things to relieve the pressure, their responses just get bigger and bigger. Sometimes you really have to show them something, but they're intelligent (although not naturally lateral thinkers) so once you show them clearly what they need to do they normally remember it.
You can lose them (mentally) pretty easily, so I always have little exercises they know to bring their attention back.
When riding, they can often get worked up easily, so to me the important thing is to stay out of their mouth until they're calm and responsive. Sometimes they just need to move or you'll end up in a fight. So rather than fighting at a jog trying to get a good walk sometimes it's best to trot a little, and work on the walk later once they've settled.
Perfect description of my gal Saskia. She takes 1/10 of the pressure that the other horses I work with take to learn something. Me nudging her with my finger or smoothing and waving the rope at her chest are enough to send her in the right direction, and I've actually had a bit of a hard time helping her understand when pressure means I want her to move away and when it just means I'm brushing her or needing to feel her legs for heat. She's ultra-smart though when it comes to retention and doesn't take the 5, 10, 15 times to learn a lesson that other horses might.
She's also on the reactive side of things, and her first instinct used to be to bolt when she got scared. After careful training she rarely ever even bolts a little when she is afraid, but I can see a TB being too much for someone who doesn't know how to cultivate the thinking side of a TB brain.
That makes sense... What exercises has anyone done with them? To challenge them and get their attention?
I absolutely love TBs. I love how smart they are and like others said- you only need to teach them once. I have a TB gelding who is the laziest lump of fat you could find and I have a mare that's the stereotypical fit, lean, running machine. Just goes to show that you never know what you could end up with.
I agree that sometimes their sensitivity can sort of overload their brain and that's when it's time to go do something else and come back to that lesson later. They're very different learners from other horses and I seem to get along with them very well. Just because they're different doesn't mean they're wrong like many people think. People who have the hardest time with TBs are ones who don't know how to listen and adapt to their horse. If you LISTEN and CHANGE what you're doing to complement your horse, you will be successful.
I like that TBs always give you a response- its not always the right one, but it goes to show you that they listen constantly. My TBs have taught me how to be a gentler, forward thinking, problem solving, precise RIDER rather than the passenger that it is easy to become on other horses. I think that if everyone could learn a lesson or two from a TB, we would all be much more present and accurate riders.
Sorry for the book- I love my guys and I strongly believe that once you find the right TB you will never go back. They are friendly horses with great personalities- just take the time to really know your horse and what makes him/her think and work. Good luck!
For getting their attention: Any suppling activities. Serpentines, leg yields, shoulder-in, spiral circles in/out. MAKE them focus on you and they will work for you. In the beginning don't worry about being in a frame or what movements you can do. Spend your time building muscle on hills or over cavalettis and it will pay off in the future.
Also: use your voice. If your horse was ever on the track, they're used to being talkes to - it's comforting to them. It doesn't matter what you say, but the way you say it. Use a strong, no nonsense voice to get their attention and a clam, soothing voice to praise. Learn to make a purring noice because many of them respond to that as a cue to slow down or relax.
As Ashsunnyeventer said, circles, serpentines, yielding are all good. Thoroughbreds are more accustomed to "thinking in straight lines", when you get them to turn, bend, use different parts of their body they have to pay attention.
With my mare I taught her the one rein stop. When I used normal rein pressure to stop she'd lean against me, keep taking steps and eventually "jack herself up". I taught her to flex her head around on the ground, always releasing when she gave and was still. The moved to saddle.
It worked for us because she'd never been taught anything with that aid, so she knew exactly what I wanted. It's not an aid that changes or has different purposes (like reins can mean turn, slow down, stop, give to pressure etc) it always means the exact same thing.
I think the others have pretty much said it all :)
Some things I've noticed in addition to what the others have said is that they seem to carry their heads higher than other horses, and be much more sensitive in the mouth (and everything else for that matter). I use VERY VERY mild bits on them.
They also tend to be very "kind" horses. Many are spooky, but I've yet to find one that is "mischievous" or "naughty". Every TB I've worked with has had a genuine desire to please, and to to as you ask. For that reason, they are some of my favorite horses to train.
One thing that differentiates them from QHs in particular is that they are much more forward ("hot-blooded" as they say, though not as nervous/unpredictable as other hot-blooded horses, I find). QHs seem a bit lazy to me, though maybe that's because I prefer to work with hot-blooded horses :p
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