Retraining a former racer - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 16 Old 12-21-2015, 02:11 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by beverleyy View Post
Maybe I missed it, but when did you start him under saddle? How long have you been asking for canter work? Is he good for your trainer and on the lunge?
I think I did not include that. We started ground work in may and at the end of August we started under saddle. We worked simultaneously on ground/voice/lunge commands while I was doing w/t in the saddle and started canter work from the ground then as well, with an emphasis on downward transitions and voice commands.

We took him on a few very simple, easy trail rides in October after we moved barns (and he's beautiful on trails, listens like a dream, not spooky at all, a complete angel).

I was riding 3 days a week in October and I think mid-October we did our first canter, one rotation of the arena and then started to work that in gently as he's still getting his topline, gaining weight, etc.

He's great at everything as long as third gait isn't introduced or allowed. We do pole work on the flat, figure-8s, serpentines, etc, and he enjoys and is very focused when given something that he really has to think about.

It just seems like he STOPS THINKING when third gait is allowed, and once that happens, it takes almost an hour to get him to settle back down so he'll listen.
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post #12 of 16 Old 12-21-2015, 02:29 AM
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It seems to help horses like that to have some days with "wet saddle blankets."

We take or send those on big, long circles (checking one or more pastures). Days that will take 8 or 10 hours.

A few days like that and horses start being a little more conservative of their energy. They have no idea whether they will be going for 30 minutes, 4 hours, or doing a long circle.

I realize some don't have the country to cover, but if you can manage it, it really helps. You haven't exhausted the horse, just made them not so eager to rush through anything. For most it is a lasting lesson.

If it isn't one has to consider feed vs available time out of a stall.
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post #13 of 16 Old 12-21-2015, 03:42 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by boots View Post
It seems to help horses like that to have some days with "wet saddle blankets."

If it isn't one has to consider feed vs available time out of a stall.
Thanks for the recommendations! I don't think we quite have the space for such a long circle, and we're working on trailering him so can't just whisk him away somewhere better, but I will keep that in mind during his training.

Right now he's out around 8AM, in around 5PM or a little later and is with two pasture buddies that he likes to play halter tag with and get completely mud-covered till you can't tell he's bay. We have him on 2 large coffee cans of Purina Strategy 2x a day for the winter because he was underweight., plus as much hay as he can eat morning and night.
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post #14 of 16 Old 12-21-2015, 06:20 AM
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Honestly, this excitability is not any more common in horses off the track vs just your regular young Thoroughbred. It's a hotblood thing/breed characteristic.
They get too excited about going fast and lose their ability to think straight. In the end, it takes time and experience. I agree with Boots, miles and wet saddle blankets. A young hot blooded horse has to learn to work hard until he realizes it's not all that exciting after all.

If your horse pulls the line, it is usually easier to free lunge initially until he begins relaxing at faster gaits. But I make horses go around until they relax. The idea is not to wear them out, that's probably not going to happen. What you want is for them to canter long enough to realize it's not exciting and until they start to relax. I'll stand in the middle and just wait while the horse runs around, but make sure I direct the movement in a circle around me. If the horse bolts off, I relax and don't look directly at the horse, just wait for him to calm and keep my body neutral. If he drops out of the canter, I make him canter again, which usually means another burst of excitement. But keep it up until the horse can canter calmly. Then practice on the line. It's just practice that will help the horse control his emotions. It's teaching him that you want him to not just canter, but canter calmly. So you repeat the canter until he is calm, then reward him with rest.

This is a different concept than what I've seen people do which is put their horse loose in an arena and amp them up, get them excited. That's teaching them to be excited when turned loose versus teaching them to work the energy down until they can eventually start the canter with a low level of energy. Once they already have this practice of being relaxed at a canter, it is easier to relax under saddle at the canter. You can even start by doing a relaxing canter on the line, then saddling before doing a relaxing canter under saddle.
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post #15 of 16 Old 12-21-2015, 07:22 AM Thread Starter
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Gottatrot, your approach seems right up my alley and it's exactly what I want to be teaching my boy and how I like to approach things with him. Our arenas are a little large to free lunge him- requiring two people to keep him moving in the direction we want, but I think we might be able to work something out where cantering is sort of... almost a "punishment" and the reward is not having to do it anymore even so. Thank you so much for your suggestion!
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post #16 of 16 Old 12-21-2015, 11:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oraien View Post
I think I did not include that. We started ground work in may and at the end of August we started under saddle. We worked simultaneously on ground/voice/lunge commands while I was doing w/t in the saddle and started canter work from the ground then as well, with an emphasis on downward transitions and voice commands.

We took him on a few very simple, easy trail rides in October after we moved barns (and he's beautiful on trails, listens like a dream, not spooky at all, a complete angel).

I was riding 3 days a week in October and I think mid-October we did our first canter, one rotation of the arena and then started to work that in gently as he's still getting his topline, gaining weight, etc.

He's great at everything as long as third gait isn't introduced or allowed. We do pole work on the flat, figure-8s, serpentines, etc, and he enjoys and is very focused when given something that he really has to think about.

It just seems like he STOPS THINKING when third gait is allowed, and once that happens, it takes almost an hour to get him to settle back down so he'll listen.
Again, does he do this just for you, or for your trainer as well? Is this a recent issue at the canter, or has this been ongoing from the first canter under saddle?
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