Can't get horse to trot! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 34 Old 07-11-2019, 06:56 PM Thread Starter
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Can't get horse to trot!

We recently bought a young ex-racehorse stallion, and he's quite nice. Calm and somewhat responsive but for the life of me I cannot get him to trot. There is nothing wrong with him because both my brothers can get him to trot. I start by giving him a verbal cue (clucking), then I lightly squeeze with my legs. If he doesn't listen I kick and then use my crop if I have to, but that doesn't matter because he completely ignores me. please help!
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post #2 of 34 Old 07-11-2019, 07:20 PM
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You mean he just walks?

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post #3 of 34 Old 07-11-2019, 07:21 PM Thread Starter
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Yes, he just walks.

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post #4 of 34 Old 07-11-2019, 10:49 PM
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How is your contact? How long ago did he stop racing? If it was recently, he might still require stronger contact to go forward. Just be careful with it, he might interpret strong contact as race time.
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post #5 of 34 Old 07-12-2019, 06:09 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Horsef View Post
How is your contact? How long ago did he stop racing? If it was recently, he might still require stronger contact to go forward. Just be careful with it, he might interpret strong contact as race time.
I did try harder contact but he won't budge. I think I'm the problem here because as I said he trots just fine with both my brothers. As for the racing, we don't really know. Getting information from his previous owner is quite hard.
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post #6 of 34 Old 07-12-2019, 07:15 AM
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1. would you mind sharing your age, riding experience and history?

2. step by step what do you do when you ask for trot and what do you do when he doesn't respond? (eg I will squeeze with my legs once, making sure I'm not braced in body or hand. If she doesn't trot I will give a more insistent squeeze and third time I will follow it up with a tap of the whip or a kick if I don't have one.)

3. his temperament overall. Is he a sweet compliant sweetheart most of the time? Or is he pushy towards you and you don't have a clear boundary of who is boss?

4. how much schooling has he had since leaving the track?

My horse is very willing, very compliant. If she doesn't do something it's usually because she's scared or confused (all smart horses can learn a trick or two I believe). I don't know anything about race horses but hopefully the extra info will help others help you. If I push the issue too much she will shut down and give up. Lastly, I have been fortunate to ride some very smart and well schooled horses, for me that is. And boy, if I don't press those buttons right I won't get anything out oft hem. If I don't ask for trot and canter correctly you bet they just will refuse to trot and canter. They wont care how hard I squeeze or kick. It's about technique not just pressure. Is this new horse of yours well schooled at all? How likely is it he is just confused by you? You aren't your brothers. Something you're doing must be different. Try see it!
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post #7 of 34 Old 07-12-2019, 07:38 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kalraii View Post
1. would you mind sharing your age, riding experience and history?

2. step by step what do you do when you ask for trot and what do you do when he doesn't respond? (eg I will squeeze with my legs once, making sure I'm not braced in body or hand. If she doesn't trot I will give a more insistent squeeze and third time I will follow it up with a tap of the whip or a kick if I don't have one.)

3. his temperament overall. Is he a sweet compliant sweetheart most of the time? Or is he pushy towards you and you don't have a clear boundary of who is boss?

4. how much schooling has he had since leaving the track?

My horse is very willing, very compliant. If she doesn't do something it's usually because she's scared or confused (all smart horses can learn a trick or two I believe). I don't know anything about race horses but hopefully the extra info will help others help you. If I push the issue too much she will shut down and give up. Lastly, I have been fortunate to ride some very smart and well schooled horses, for me that is. And boy, if I don't press those buttons right I won't get anything out oft hem. If I don't ask for trot and canter correctly you bet they just will refuse to trot and canter. They wont care how hard I squeeze or kick. It's about technique not just pressure. Is this new horse of yours well schooled at all? How likely is it he is just confused by you? You aren't your brothers. Something you're doing must be different. Try see it!
I'm 16 and a beginner. This has always been an issue, I've had 2 different riding instructors but it was no use. I just don't know what I'm doing wrong and it seems like no one else knows either.

I make sure I'm not pulling on the reins and start by giving a verbal cue followed by a light squeeze. If that doesn't work, I then squeeze harder with my heels and use a crop if I have to or kick.

On the ground, he is quite pushy but we're working on that. However, when I am riding him he is somewhat compliant and it is easier for me to get him under control.
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post #8 of 34 Old 07-12-2019, 07:40 AM
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Often, people think they are kicking and hitting with the crop, but it's nothing but a light tap. Best to ask with energy right off the bat. Like, a LOT of energy! Especially now that he's gotten away with ignoring you a few times. Say it like you mean it, and don't stop until he trots. Eventually, you'll be able to just squeeze a little, but for now, you need to be very energetic. It's likely your brothers are just using more force.
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post #9 of 34 Old 07-12-2019, 07:50 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Acadianartist View Post
Often, people think they are kicking and hitting with the crop, but it's nothing but a light tap. Best to ask with energy right off the bat. Like, a LOT of energy! Especially now that he's gotten away with ignoring you a few times. Say it like you mean it, and don't stop until he trots. Eventually, you'll be able to just squeeze a little, but for now, you need to be very energetic. It's likely your brothers are just using more force.
I'll make sure to try that next time, thanks!
But I've been told that doing that might desensitize him to leg pressure and I'll end up with a horse that ignores my legs?

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post #10 of 34 Old 07-12-2019, 08:03 AM
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Originally Posted by leen View Post
I'll make sure to try that next time, thanks!
But I've been told that doing that might desensitize him to leg pressure and I'll end up with a horse that ignores my legs?
Only if you do it every time for a long period of time. Right now, you are doing it anyway by teaching him he can ignore your cues.

I have a young horse who was like this at first. He hadn't had a lot of schooling. I really had to get at him with legs, body and crop to get him to trot initially, and he would only trot a little bit, then go back to a walk. I had to go at him hard every time he did that until he figured out that he's supposed to stay at the trot until I tell him he can walk. It wasn't pretty at first (picture legs flailing, crop whacking his butt, voice urging him on), but now, just a little squeeze is enough to get him trotting and he actually seems happy to trot. He has more energy and impulsion too, and I don't have to keep squeezing all the time or keep asking. So he hasn't become desensitized to my leg, quite the opposite. He now understands that if he doesn't respond to a firm squeeze, I will go at him hard, so he gives it to me immediately now.

Don't get me wrong, I don't go at him hard enough to scare him, just hard enough that he knows I mean it. It's difficult to describe. Just remember, this is a 1000 lb animal. Tapping him like you'd swat a fly isn't enough.

Just the other day, an adult beginner came to ride so we put her on this guy because he's so safe. Sure enough, they stood there forever while she gently tried to "ask" him to move forward. It was hard not to laugh. She would tap her heels on him, flick the crop like she was afraid to hurt him... he didn't care at all. Forget trotting. My daughter had to walk in front of him the whole time to get him to move. After about half an hour of watching this painful "lesson", I decided to hop on him myself just to make sure he wasn't learning a bad habit of ignoring his rider. The minute I got on him, he walked on, and we trotted in both directions easily. I didn't even use the crop. Completely different horse.

This often happens with beginners. Once you get him to move forward, you'll figure out just how much energy you need to use. Keep at it!
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