OTTB getting harder to slow down
Sorry, this is a bit of a novel.
My mare is a 10 year old OTTB, and her last owner basically ran her bareback on trails for 5 years. Needless to say, she doesn't have much experience with the concept of 'stop'.
Nobody around my barn has much OTTB experience, so I was wondering what's the best way to slow her down? She's obviously had time to come down from being on the track, but the fast paced mindset was reinforced in her last home, making it even more difficult to get rid of.
I've been slowing my post and doing frequent half-halts, and when warming up and cooling out, asking her for halt transitions and then making a big fuss when she stops and stands. Any reduction in pace gets a big reward. This usually works pretty well for me, I've done this before with younger OTTBs.
However, she's starting to get really heavy, more so than she was when she first arrived, and she's recently started bucking...
Since I just got her, she's been seen by a vet recently, had her teeth floated, gotten new shoes, and had her feet trimmed, all with no problems.
I'm not saying I'm the most qualified person for the job, but I'm all she's got. Any help and/or criticism would be appreciated. Thanks!
Make sure she knows how to do a one-rein stop. It can be very effective with horses that like to run away. Work on getting her to bend at all paces, especially a run so that when she bolts or starts to buck you can pull her head in.
I've said this to others before but for a horse like that the best solution can always be turning. They dont like to do it. The trick though, when she gets in a bad way with you (bolting, buck, etc) is to turn her & keep her nose to your boot toe until she stops spinning on her own. Do this every time & she will eventually catch on that trying to take off means lots of turning.
She will also learn to stop turning quicker over time. Let her stand & calm down & start over again.
Hope it all works out.
I exercised a super speedy horse for a little while and had the same issue. I got lots of great answers on my thread:
Good luck! I found that getting her more responsive to my seat was the most effective; as soon as I could get her to slow just with my seat, I suddenly needed almost no rein when before she would've needed her face hauled on for the same request.
Saddle fit? Have you had the saddle that you are using, professionally assessed to ensure that the fit is correct? Sounds to me that there is some back pain issues going on here.
I agree - seat into legs into hands to soften, but if you using your seat to slow the horse down isn't working, then perhaps there is something going on with the saddle / back.
Circles are your best friend. She can only run so fast when your going in a circle. Whenever she starts to get antsy on you, start doing circles and serpentines. Also, make sure you stay relaxed. If you tense up she will feel it and want to go faster.
Okay, so bucking is one of the MOST DIFFICULT habits to break. I would check saddle fit, and re-check everything else to rule other causes out. That way, you can take further steps, knowing that it's sincerely an act of disobedience. What I find works well, if the bucks are small and just..... nudgey, then you can just immediatly turn your horse in tight small circles. Did I mentiion quicklly? Although it doesn't always work, if you do efficiently every single time there's an act of disobediance, your horse will generally get tired of being ripped around in small circles around your leg. Other than that, what I found worked well for OTTBS is trainsitions. Check out my new post for 'Working With OTTB's Tips, Knowledge and Advice' . Thanks!
When ever she gets going to fast stop, back a few steps, turn around and go the other direction, as soon as she gets fast again, just stop, back, turn around and go the other direction, just keep doing that until she figures out she cant just go at her own pace, it really does help, and it helps put a good stop on one, I've done it with everything from Western Pleasure Horses to Racehorses. If you say whoa when you stop them they will eventually associate it with stopping and backing. And just make her stand there until the relaxes, as soon as she relaxes then move onto something else, and dont over do what your trying to work on, stop when you get a good responce.
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