Our latest problem - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 3 Old 06-27-2009, 01:46 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Connecticut
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Our latest problem

So I guess my OTTB decided things were going along a little too well, so he gave me a new puzzle to solve. I have been asking more of him lately in terms of engaging his hind end, and I think this is his revolt. I brought this on myself by babying him for the first year I owned him. (he's 7 now) It took a recent clinic to show me what we're both actually capable of, so I've recently turned it up a notch. Guess it's time to pay the piper.

Here's the deal. Once we've done a warm up canter, he pretty much refuses to acknowledge that the trot gait exists from that point forward. I am trying to work on refining our trot-canter transitions. He's extremely willing to canter on the bit, but once I downshift to the trot, I can half halt, circle, leg yeild and serpentine my butt off and all he'll do is keep trying to jump back into the canter. He looks like he's doing little bucks every step. He comes above the bit and refuses to downshift into a soft forward trot. I've tried holding the contact steady and trying to flex the inside rein. I've also tried releasing the reins every few strides so he can't lean on them. Neither works. He simply has decided that trotting correctly is work and he's going to hold his breath until he turns blue. If I canter before he softens, he's won. If I drop to a walk, he's won. Luckily he's kind soul, but he's definitely thick in the head when he doesn't want to do something. He's really got my number this time. Thoughts?
MyBoyPuck is offline  
post #2 of 3 Old 06-27-2009, 09:27 PM
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Colesville, NJ
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Ahh yes - my OTTB used to do this and it was infuriating. What I learned to do with him was remove the canter from our workouts all together until he agreed to listen. In short, better canter comes from better trot, so do more trot. I'd do entire 45 min - 60 min workouts just w/t and doing like you said serpentines, leg yields, circles, bending, shoulders in, etc. etc. By keeping him IN the trot, and not letting him canter, you're working the right muscles to make trotting easier in the long run. Any time he feels like he's about to canter, back to walk. WORKING walk - with again serpentines, leg yields, shoulders in, etc. etc. etc. get the theme here? lol

It worked wonders for my TB who's super hot, and when out of work it may still take him some time to settle, overall it's really great in that his trot has come miles, and the canter work we do has been good - and we can now come back to trot and settle, even if he works himself up i can settle after a few as opposed to before where it became the same never ending fight you describe.

good luck!

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post #3 of 3 Old 06-28-2009, 04:00 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Connecticut
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That makes sense. I guess he can't start a fight if he never canters in the first place. Too bad I like to canter as much as he does!

He was actually considerably better today. I think maybe I was asking a little too much of him in terms on collection. I have a feeling I was taking more contact up front rather than riding him into it. All it created was a frustruated tense horse. Today I made a big effort to forget about his head and ride with my seat, really mixed up the transitions to keep him guessing, and we made some progress.
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