I have a 15 year old Standardbred mare. I got her in late July from the standardbred retirement foundation. She has a dressage background and from what I can tell she hadn't been ridden on the trails much. My mom and I try and go out on the trails at least twice a week and she's always very good and loves every minute of it. We live in a very "hilly" area so it's not uncommon for us to go up an down hills when riding. Like I said, she is very good on trails except for one exception, she likes to rush down hills. If I use a lot of contact to prevent her from hurrying she will immediately leg yield to the right or left at the same speed to compensate for the pressure on her mouth. If I use a little contact she'll just barrel through all the half halts and race to the bottom of the hill. I'm really not sure what to do. I can handle her speed down a hill but I want to stop the behavior because I want her to be safe and I want other people to be comfortable riding her. Does anyone have any advice?
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One thing you could do is half halts. If those don't work, another one, which I tend to do a lot more- is to actually stop the horse on the trail. Making her stop repeatedly will also teach her to get her butt under her, so she can go down it more controlled which means more safely, and also more slowly.
So walk.... walk... stop, stand a few seconds... ask for a quiet walk, go about 20 feet, stop again. Even back up a bit, if is safe. My mare lived on flat ground till she was 3 and a half, then we moved to nothing but hills, it took a bit, but she is learning it wonderfully!
You could even walk with her on the trails, if it is wide enough to be safe, and you feel comfortable with it. I.E. She doesn't try to rush past you. It is supposed to be hard enough for them to go straight down a hill, much less with a rider on their back. And be sure to lean back- when I forget, my mare spazzes and rushes...
Good luck and have fun with her. :)