help.....the trot turns into a canter then into a run!!
My horse Pilot is trained (by professionals) and has been shown in western pleasure. I rode him at the previous owners indoor arena and he was wonderful at all gaits. When i got him home I rode him a couple times and it was great. He listened very well and went wherever I took him. Now, when I cue him to go into a trot, he responds and does it well but gets faster and faster until it finally goes into a canter. Then, at the canter we get faster and faster until he runs full speed. I enjoy it and allow him to do it here and there. But, when I try to keep him at a trot or a canter, he won't do it. I pull back and tell him "easy Pilot, easy" and he will slow a little then take off. It's nothing that is dangerous or anything but I don't want him in that habit and I think he would be fine in an arena but he's not in the wide open pasture. It is especially difficult when other people (my mom or dad) tries to ride and aren't ready for what he does. Any advise? and trainers are out of the question so don't advise that please. He would probably do fine in an arena.
Another thing- We have a pretty steep him on our property and my older brother has taken him up it twice and I have 3 times. Now when we get to the bottom I think he will go, then he backs up until I have to turn him the other way. I have walked him up it, tried to have someone lead me, and I ride with spurs (the way he was trained) I just can't get him up it when I'm on his back. Thanks for the help!!!
Okay, regarding the speeding up:
It's probably a balance issue, or you might be cuing the horse without even realizing it. You are reinforcing the behavior, at any rate, by not correcting it. By not correcting it, you are saying "good boy, that's what I want" even if it isn't what you want.
- Learn to say no. If he takes off, or goes into a gait that you did not specifically cue, then he is wrong and you must correct it. Nip the behavior in the bud NOW. If you ask for a lope or gallop, then great - have fun - but DO NOT allow your horse to choose what he wants to do.
- Chances are you and your horse are off balance; hence the speeding up. I would suggest working with a trainer if at all possible to get this back - it is all very hard to explain in text. Learn what cues mean what (even if you shift your weight slightly (you might not even realize that you've done it, it's so slight) you could be cuing the horse) - and memorize them. For instance, my old mare would change leads with the slightest weight change, leg pressure, and rein aid. You could be cuing him without realizing it, especially if you don't have independent hands, seat and leg.
ETA - I would also get a professional to check the saddle fit, especially if he refuses to go up or down a hill - the saddle might not be fitting correctly.
But I don't understand why he went up the hill before and refuses it now(with the same tack). And the other thing that confuses me is that he was fine at the previous owners indoor arena.....but thanks for taking the time and helping me, I will try to focus on me position.
It could very well be that he's got your number - he knows now that he can get away with what HE would like to do rather than what you want to do.
I would work on what I suggested above, and it wouldn't hurt to rule out pain as well.
Well... There's a few things wrong here, and I'm sorry I gotta say that one of them was you. Don't ever EVER let the horse decide what gait it's going into. Just because he feels like running, doesn't mean he gets too. Because THIS happens. Just today I had one of the reining colts in the barn and he wanted to just lope right away, slide to a stop and be done so I had to go take him back to how I rode him day one - Simply walking and whoa'ing, because he DOESN'T get to choose. Because then they think they get to make all the decisions. Then you're in deep crap.
He were mine, the first thing I'd do is pull him back down to a walk. The second the jumps into the that trot, he's walking again. He keeps it up, he gets stopped, backed up, walk off. Until he decides he's going to listen to my cues and not the voices in his head.
The one colt (mentioned above) walked to work right away because he was lazy and wanted to be done. Another was just too hot and didn't know how to walk. Another one (older) because he was bored senseless and it was his way of telling me. He could just be flippin' you the bird. There could be any number of reason's why this is happening, but it's up to you stop it.
I realise you don't think this is dangerous behaviour, but you already pointed out that this is dangerous for people who are not expecting this behaviour from him. What if he decides to bolt (I realise he's not bolting now, but it's where he could be heading VERY quickly) on a trail ride? That's dangerous not only to you and your horse, but to everyone else and their horses around you.
If you want to gallop him, that's fine, but always make sure you're the one asking for it, and he's not. Because when you're not in control, anything can happen.
I agree that you can't let him do it. I also agree with JDI that it sounds like a balance issue where he has been pushed too far forward in his body. He is using defensive patterns to try to escape whats going on. It can easily turn into behavioral, but remember that with horses many behavioral issues start with something physical, even minor. This would explain why your first few rides were fine, why he is accelerating with speed, and why he is not wanting to go up a hill with a rider.
I know you said going back to trainers was out of the question, but you need someone to teach you a little more specifically how to ride him to deal with these issues outside of the ring, physically and mentally.
If it wasn't a problem, you wouldn't have posted --- the advice and evaluation so far is spot on, imo, and you'd be foolish not to give it honest consideration. The horse can be as trained as trained can be but if the horse and rider are not on the same page, no amount of training of the horse will help. Either the horse is not as trained as you believe or you are cuing for things you don't realize you are asking for. The behavior IS a problem and it needs to be addressed (which takes us back to the very good advice given above)
hope this helps.
Here it is in very plain and simple text.
If he wants to run, make him walk.
Do the opposite of what the horse wants to do. I can't blame him for taking off every time now, because you say you think it's fun and let him do it sometimes. Well how is he supposed to distinguish between when you feel like letting him run and when you don't? Of course he's going to try it each time, you have taught him to do so.
Ask him to trot, and trot at YOUR speed, even if that means a slow jig jog trot for a while. If he speeds up, check him with your back and rein and bring him back to your speed. If he takes off into canter, sit deep, block him with your back and check hard on the rein and bring him to halt for a few moments until he is not wanting to take off again. Then ask for walk, trot and keep it at your pace. He'll soon come to realise that you are serious about him staying where you want him and that taking off means a whack in the mouth.
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