My horse wont stay on the rail.. - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 07-31-2017, 01:13 AM Thread Starter
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My horse wont stay on the rail..

Hi! I've been having trouble with my horse lately. I got him a few weeks back and I've noticed that he veers off the rail and moves towards the inside of the arena. He is a VERY stubborn horse and I've tried a few things but they don't seem to work. I've tried the pressure and release thing with my leg.. hair, then skin, then muscle, then if he doesn't respond kick him over. He just doesn't seem to mind. (He's a draft horse) He just does what he wants, especially when we canter. I'm not sure how to get him to stop moving off the rail, it's like he thinks it's a short cut or something. Thank You!!
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post #2 of 7 Old 07-31-2017, 01:24 AM
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Teach him to be responsible for his own feet. Draw an imaginary line a certain distance off the rail (I usually start at 10 feet unless a horse is really scared and doesn't want anything to do with the rail) and start off at a trot (easier to get things accomplished as the horse is moving a bit faster). Let him do whatever he wants AS LONG AS HE STAYS INSIDE YOUR IMAGINARY LINE. As soon as he crosses your line though, pick up on your outside rein and steer him back to the rail. Use leg as well if he knows what leg pressure is. Don't drop the rein/take your leg off until he reaches the rail. Then release him. Let him trot along, again don't mess with him at all until he crosses the line, then steer him back to the rail.

At first your horse will be travelling like a drunken idiot, veering all over the place, and that's okay. He will get better the more you practice. The object of the game though is to NOT CORRECT THE HORSE UNTIL HE CROSSES THE LINE. Let him make the mistake, otherwise you'll be constantly fighting to keep him in line forever. When you put him on the rail, he should stay there until you say otherwise. I usually take about 3 days to get my 2 year olds following the fence pretty good, working at it at all 3 gaits in both directions for probably 20-30 minutes per day. As the horse gets better at the exercise, start to bring the imaginary line in - first 10 feet, then 8, then 6, etc until he has to stay close enough to the rail for you to reach out and touch it. Obviously do it gradually and make sure he gets it before bringing the line in, but it won't take very long until he's travelling on. The. Rail. This is an exercise that works very well, that I use on all of the colts I break, and everybody gets it fairly quickly.

-- Kai
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post #3 of 7 Old 07-31-2017, 01:29 AM
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Forgot to add, once he's good at the trot in both directions you can up it to the canter. But get a starting point established first or you'll look like you're riding a drunken shopping cart lol

-- Kai
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post #4 of 7 Old 07-31-2017, 01:31 AM
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One thing to note, when my WB was green, I also had trouble keeping him on the rail. I thought he was just spooking at stuff on the rail.
He got shoes put on for another reason and his rail problems disappeared. The rail was packed down and too hard on his feet.
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post #5 of 7 Old 07-31-2017, 11:04 AM
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There are many reasons ahorse wants to drift off the rails, with reason being the cause, and the horse's ability to do so, lack of quide and softness to aids
Horses that have been shown a lot, on the rail, soon learn that when they go to center, the work for that class at least is done, esp after they have reversed direction.
Plain boredom or that horse constantly being schooled on the rial, so that the rail becomes a bad place to be
Thus, never school on the rail. Do your schooling on the middle of the arena, and then take to horse to the rail, where you let him be, trust him to stay correct, making the rail a good place to be.

Do you also ride this horse out, or do you ride endlessly on the rail in an arena?

I don't school ahorse to follow a rail, quite the opposite! I get control of the horse;s body, so he learns to stay evenly between my reins and legs.
Horses follow their shoulders, until we teach them to follow their nose, with their entire body in correct aleignment.
I would forget about riding the rail for now, and really get some body control, and lightness. Then, when he does drift in from the rail, take him to that center of that arena and then really school what the problem is. Get him really moving off of that inside leg and rein that he moved against. Yes, this is a time to apply that spur. Then take him back to the rial, and give him a chance to do the right and easy thing-respect that inside leg and rein
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post #6 of 7 Old 07-31-2017, 11:11 AM
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Gonna tag on to Smilie: Do most of your work in the middle, take him to the rail to relax. When he drifts off the rail, take him back to work. He'll quickly find out where the comfortable spot is. Afterwards, switch it up, focus on minimizing routine so he doesn't start to anticipate. It starts with always getting off at a different spot at the end.

And do get him some enrichment outside that arena. No horse should spend its life between stall, pasture, and arena, doing the same thing day-in, day-out.
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post #7 of 7 Old 07-31-2017, 07:44 PM
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I’ve dealt with similar. He was a very large 5yo cob who’d been bought from his breeder to work as a therapy horse. Basic training and soft/unclear aids from the riders meant that he started to take advantage of his situation.
His age, size and lack of schooling meant that he was finding the school work hard and probably boring and was trying to escape as best he could.

He moved like he didn’t know where his legs were and he was very unfit so I started in the walk and worked up to the canter. He was asked to do plenty of circles, transitions and changes of rein so he wasn’t out on the boards for long; he didn’t have an opportunity to think about falling in. Gradually the time he was on the boards increased and if he still attempted to fall in he got plenty of inside leg and outside rein. Every schooling session ended with a relaxing walk around the edge when he was still expected to behave.

As he got more control of his body, understood what riders were asking of him and that he wasn’t going to get away with the habit he stopped doing it.
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