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Discussion Starter #1
Ok, so my big guy showed up yesterday. Here's the low down. He was raced from 6-8 years old. He was cut when he was 7. He's 10 now. He's alert and nervous but very gentle. According to the previous owner (I'm on a 30 day, and havn't ridden him yet) he tends to walk off on you when you're getting on and also runs through the bit.

So far I've come to realize that:
1) He is not trained to stand in the crossties. I put him in them today and took a step back and he started to freak. I then calmed him and held is leadrope while in the crossties. He was wary of them but OK. How can I work on getting him trained to crosstie?

2) He won't let me blanket him. Apparently he has been blanketed in the past, in fact, he was blanketed in the trailer that brought him. I tried to approach him loose with the blanket. He snuffled it and let me touch him for a moment with it and then trotted away. I didn't pursue it. I figured that tomorrow I would put him in his halter and touch him with it until he quit running.

He is much less broke than I first anticipated. He's big and beautiful but unexposed. It's like working with a 2 year old.

Any advice on anything would be appreciated. I'm going to be gone for a few days here and wasn't planning on riding him for the first time until I got back. I figured I would free lunge the crap out of him and then ride him in the round pen...
 

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Cross ties- sounds like you've got it right, just keep on the lead rope and give him time, he'll get used to it.

Blankets- I wouldn't put on blankets with a loose horse. What if halway through he trotted off? Just crosstie or lead rope him, approach slowly and don't toss them on, slide them on
 

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Discussion Starter #3
He was actually in his stall. I know. I'm awful. I was less actually trying to blanket him as much as I was just seeing if he'd let me touch him with it voluntarily. I don't intend on doing any training in his stall. Honestly it was a one time thing and I was being lazy. I shouldn't have been doing that there or in that way. If I keep up doing dumb stuff like that I'm going to really do some damage or get myself hurt. I know this. Next time I'm planning on having him out in an open area, either tied or being held, and slowly let him see whats going on and get used to the idea.
 

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Yeah, my OTTB didn't really like it when I first approached him with a blanket either. He pinned his ears at me, but got over it. My guy also tends to walk off after i've mounted, but not while i'm swinging myself over. We go through a battle where he always ends up wedged in a corner because he cant listen.

He should be cross-tie trained. Most race horses are cross tied in their stalls to have any kind of work done to them except shoeing. But I would just continue with what you're doing, he'll get the picture eventually.

I don't think unbroke is really the right phrase. He's broken in very well, just not your way. He can handle fast movements around him, standing for the farrier and the vet, loading and unloading, loud noises, being around other horses, an exercise regime thats very demanding, and a bunch of other random things that you'll learn along the way.

Be careful, most race horses have NO CLUE how to lunge, on a line or just in the round pen. Also, lunging to get him good and tired won't teach him anything except that he should really hate going in there. He already knows how to walk, trot, and canter, and as long as you have good posture and know how to communicate with your body, you should be fine. He might not listen to you if you tell him to stop with just your reins, but sitting deep and heavy in the saddle (rock way back on your butt) bringing your heels forward and half-halting will be much more effective. The reverse goes for getting him to move, and at what pace.

Good luck and keep us posted!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
His owner said she works him in the roundpen before she rides. She was the one who bred and raced him. She said she 'jibs?' him before each ride. I believe that was the term and I'm not really sure what that means. Anyone heard of a horse being 'jibbed' before being ridden? I kind of assumed that meant lunged...
 

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well 'working' in the round pen usually refers to something like "joining up"...basically getting the horse in tune to you. I did that for the first few months I owned my ottb, and then it got to the point where he was always on me and he just got bored, so I stopped.

"jibbing" is basically balking....this is what my TB ended up doing when he got bored, which around the time that I stopped, was maybe after two or three circles in a direction.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thats a very odd way for her to use the term then... Pretty much she told me to work him in the round pen before I rode. That he gets hot and he needs a ton of exercise. Of course... she had him on straight alfalfa so right off the bat that went down the drain. Hes on grass hay and I'm going to do a ton of slow work and just spend time touch him and bonding with him. He REALLY needs a person.
LOL I thought I did good having him graze in hand with me and grooming him top to bottem, even let me check his lip tattoo which apparently he has been weird about in the past. I guess I'm just gonna go slow and just not hurry anything. I'm not in any hurry. I want him to chose to do what I ask. Not to force him... Not to mention I get the feeling that he might get a little aggressive if I come on too strong. He also needs quite sometime to get used to a new situation... I mean... I've only had him 30 hours...
 

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lol yeah, definitely let him get settled.

As for the "aggressive" thing, my TB was a biter....and thats because he didn't want me in his space, or tightening his girth, or touching his face, or coming in his stall, or whatever else he decided. We ended up having a little show down with our massage therapist and BO present....it was not very pretty but he got the message. Definitely test the waters and see. You don't want him pushing you around obviously, but if coming across too heavy handed just makes him withdraw then thats not something you want to do either.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thats the thing about this guy. It seems like most of his problems are due to being high strung, a little hot, and unexposed to new things. I can handle him fine. He lets me walk into his stall and touch him all over, I make a practice out of it every time I go into our barn. I can lead him fine, he respects me but tries to walk through the halter, just slightly ahead of where he should be. Hes not pushy, if he gets nervous he tries not to jump on top of me. I have yet to see him pin his ears. He likes being handled, loves being groomed, gets his lips going when you scratch him. He actually let us get out a SUPER scary yellow measuring tape to measure him for a blanket (that he won't wear lol), and was 100% fine. Just overall VERY gentle and good natured.
He just seems flighty and nervous. If he gets upset his response is flight as opposed to fight.

I guess I'm just stressed right now because I think I got into more than I was prepared to. Hes great minded and good natured so I keep telling myself that we're going to learn together. Worst case scenario I send him back before my 30 days is up. I'll just take one of my perscribed happy pills and the morning will be brighter!!!

Tomorrow my goal is just to handle him more, work on crossties, groom him again, and work with the blanket. I don't want to work too fast with him but I want to take advantage of all the time I can with him...
 

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Race horses are trained very differently than typical saddle horses. Alot of times barrel racers buy horses off the track for their speed, but it often takes a couple of years to get all that power controlled enough to turn the barrels efficiently. All most of these horses know is how to run. Your horse is going to need a lot of riding and a lot of work on his flexion and direction. He knows how to run in a straight line, but chances are, he doesn't know much about stopping, turning, and giving to the bridle. When the lady you got him from said she jibs him in the round pen, what she was probably referring to was running him around in there to take a little of the fresh off before she gets on. He might be feeling pretty good when you first put him in there, but you'll be able to tell when he starts to relax and "let down." That's when you'll know it's time to get on.

I don't know what your level of riding experience is, but you do have your work cut out for you with a horse like this. He is going to need a lot of riding and you may even want to seek out the help of a professional trainer in your area to help get you to a level where you feel confident and safe with him. Your confidence is the most important thing and will ultimately determine your level of success. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks! I'm going to give him a shot and I'm definately not afraid to ask for help when I need it. I'm just going to do a TON of round pen work, including riding in the round pen. By then we should have a decent amount of snow so we'll do alot of walking exercises including practice stopping, turning, using the hind end and the like. I'm in no hurry either. My view is as long as I take it slow with him, we should be able to get it done. ALOT OF WALKING AND TROTTING AND STOPPING...
Now, I was planning on putting a running martingale on him to keep is head below the level of control. Any advice on that one?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
UPDATE!!! So I let my new guy out into our pasture today and he ran and had a bunch of good rolls. He let me catch him easily this evening. I groomed him IN THE CROSSTIES with my mom holding his leadrope and then I tied him standard and slowly blanketed him. Although nervous he was really willing and trusting. My stress level has dropped dramatically and although I have yet to ride him, I LOVE MY NEW RACEHORSIE!!! He's gentle and great minded!!!
 

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Just make sure you introduce the martingale SLOWLY. I have no problem with my geldings high headset when he trots, so I don't use one, but if you want to make sure its extra loose so he can basically almost stretch all the way up (or all the way, if its long enough) and then gradually tighten it. And prepare for a HUGE fit when he realizes its there.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
The only reason I'm asking is because his owner said that she uses draw reins on all of them so she can pull their heads down when they get above the level of control. I know that a running martingale would serve a similar purpose. I just don't want him to get his head up in the air and run off with me. And after spending years barrel racing I flat out REFUSE to put a standing tiedown on any horse unless I ABSOLUTELY have to, which as of yet, I havn't seen.
 

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I have a question about the cross ties thing ... my mare moves around and gets herself twisted in them .. what are you guys talking about holding with a lead rope?

thanks!
 

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Well, I'm glad you don't want to use the draw reins on him to prevent him from doing that, lol....their good for teaching but not as a mainstay in riding....It's unlikely that he would ever get to that point unless you a)have no idea how to ride or b)make the mistake of using continuous pressure to try and stop him once he gets going. As long as you work up to cantering when you feel comfortable (since he knows how, its just a matter of you getting enough faith and confidence in him) and remember to not freak out if he does get a little frisky, there shouldn't be a problem.

I'm curious as to why she chose to use continuous pressure with the draw reins (and you use a running martingale) instead of, if that does happen, doing a one rein stop? Even if the horse gets ahold of the bit (which will only happen if you don't keep contact), you still have the ability to turn them.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Well technically I don't even have a running martingale for him yet, as I havn't ridden him yet. I think I will take your approach of just working really, really slow until I feel we are both ready to canter.
I don't know why she chose to use the draw reins... I think she was just paranoid of the horses running off with her. All I know of draw reins is that they should NEVER be used unless you know precisely how to use them- which I do not.


I have a question about the cross ties thing ... my mare moves around and gets herself twisted in them .. what are you guys talking about holding with a lead rope?

thanks!
Actually what I was talking about was putting him into the crossties but instead of detaching his lead rope as I would usually do, I instead hold his lead rope as if I were leading in hand and just stand with him. I don't let him get too far forward, back, or to one side or another for him to start feeling trapped or restrained. He tends to freak when both cross ties are tight due to him being too far forward, or back, or when he has one side tight and the other is loose due to being too far to one side or another and then he can see them moving out of the corner of his eye.
My goal is to pretty much make the crossties a non-entity. I'm not going to make a big deal out of it one way or another. In fact, I just hung up a quick release tie ring to tie him to in our barn because before all it had was the cross ties. I'm not in any hurry and im not making it an issue at all. I don't want them to be scary or out of the ordinary. Just some place to stand. I'm not guaranteeing this will work. I know NOTHING getting a horse used to crossties, this is just what I'm trying right now...
 

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Ah ok, thanks for the info. My mare isn't scared just antsy gerrrrrrrr
 

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Watch out for him being stiff in the neck. I rode a young ex racer and he was so inflexible through the neck, it was quite sad considering he was only 5 and could hardly bend through the turns.
 

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About the cross ties....do they have panic snaps on them? (or baler twine at the end or something else that will provide a quick release) If so, just let him fight it out. It's not going to traumatize him forever, because that's exactly how they teach a horse to single tie. Just make sure if you can loosen them that they're super loose to allow him as much freedom as possible (but not so loose he could say, get a leg over them). Its hard, but just make sure youre close by so he doesn't really hurt himself.
 
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