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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone, my names Jess. I have a 16.3hh Thoroughbred, his name is Rocky. He's done the usual and raced until he was 10, he then hunted for 2 years and now I have had him for a year and I am attempting some re-schooling! He is an interesting horse and definitely has an odd personality.

He has been seen by both a vet and back specialist who have told me that medically there is nothing wrong with him and her words were 'he is in the best condition I've ever seen for a Thoroughbred! :D:D! However this doesn't stop him trying to cause as much trouble as he can.

I feel like I have come a long way with him, now able to ride out alone and spend some time alone in the field which was terrifying for him when I first got him. We still have the odd buck and rear to make sure I know he's there but all in all hes a lot better.

I'm now trying to bring on his schooling and have faced a couple of problems..
1) He has no clue how to use side reins, I've tried attaching them really, really, really loosely but he still insists on rearing and fighting them. Should I just let him get it out of his system or is there something else I can try?
2) He will not canter on the right lead on the right rein, the left is fine apart from the constant flying changes however I am working on those by turning it into a command so he only does them when asked. But on the right rein even asking him to change he will just change back to the wrong leg after a few strides!! So frustrating!

We are doing constant physio exercises 2-3 times a day and before and after riding and using poles and lunging etc to try and supple him up but nothing seems to work. Sometimes on the lunge he will keep on the right leg especially if I take him from walk straight to canter, however he will not do it at all when ridden!

Any suggestions would be really helpful!
Thankyou :)

Also can we use pictures on this forum?
 

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Hi Rockman! Congrats on the OTTB and welcome to the forum!

I'll put in my two cents, but I'm no expert:

"I'm now trying to bring on his schooling and have faced a couple of problems..
1) He has no clue how to use side reins, I've tried attaching them really, really, really loosely but he still insists on rearing and fighting them. Should I just let him get it out of his system or is there something else I can try?
Is there a specific need/reason that you are using side reins? Have you used them before? I know they are generally not neccessary, so maybe try a different method?

2) He will not canter on the right lead on the right rein, the left is fine apart from the constant flying changes however I am working on those by turning it into a command so he only does them when asked. But on the right rein even asking him to change he will just change back to the wrong leg after a few strides!! So frustrating!
Try to remember that for years this horse ran in circles for a living...to the left. He was trained this way until he was 10 years old. It is going to take quite some time to get that habit out of him. I would try rewarding him for small efforts. You metioned that he will take two-three strides on the right lead, and then switch back over. I would try to bring him back down to the trot/walk BEFORE he changes his lead. Reward him for those few right strides, and then try again...adding more and more strides as you can. This will take weeks, months, maybe longer. Do not expect this in a day.

Hope this helps. Keep us updated on his progress!

Also, pics are always welcome! (Assuming they are your pictures, of course.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thankyou!
I've been advised to use the side reins to try and help him bring his head down to bring his back up as he has suspected 'kissing spines' (where the muscle isn't built up enough in his back and due to the breed being so badly man made his spine vertebras are now touching :() so the hope is that using side reins as well as doing his exercises will help to strengthen his back? however I am definitely no expert so any alternatives would be more than welcome!

Also I suppose I do have very high expectations of him, I do need to remember his past and how well he has done so far! I have tried bringing him back down to trot after a few correct strides but he just seems to get really wound up and starts fighting with me. But if I persevered I'm sure he would start to understand!

Thankyou for your help, I have got a lot to learn with him. He is not a breed I would usually go for as I know how hard work they are but he had 3 weeks until he was due to be put down as he was no longer 'needed' and so I jumped in both barrels and now trying to do my best haha!
 

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Horse Halter Bridle Rein Mammal

Neck stretcher
Used for lungeing and riding to make the horse go forwards, down and is a "gentler" version of the draw reins. The neck stretcher is either fixed under the horse's belly or along its sides and must be fastened so that it stops working when the horse comes into your hands.

Try this instead of side reins - this is much softer, as its pure elastic, and gives the idea of raising the back and going more forwards in a friendlier manner.


About the canter, I do not know what to suggest, as I am facing a similar problem, horse who is blind on the right eye, chooses to canter with the right lead. I have a problem raising his left lead on the lunge (he is still not ridden).

Kissing spine is a very serious issue, cannot really be diagnosed without an xray, a chiro might help him, massages etc, however if the back is really bad, and does have kissing spine, he might never be safely ridden, as your weight on his back might make his spine touch no matter how much muscle he has, therefore he bucks and rears. from pain.

Try improving his back, but more diagnosis might help in the situation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I've never heard of those! That looks really good, I'm definitely going to be getting one thankyou for that!
Wow that horse must really trust you that's incredible!
Yeah I'm trying not to ride him much at the minute until I can get a lot more done with him on the ground and with his back. But when I eventually get to the stage where I'm thinking his back is getting better I will try and get more advice!
 

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I've never heard of those! That looks really good, I'm definitely going to be getting one thankyou for that!
Wow that horse must really trust you that's incredible!
Yeah I'm trying not to ride him much at the minute until I can get a lot more done with him on the ground and with his back. But when I eventually get to the stage where I'm thinking his back is getting better I will try and get more advice!
Well, I have used the neck stretcher a lot, for different horses, at different stages of training, and especially when hooked between their front legs, not the sides, it encourages more downward movement, but for your horse, might wanna try the sides as well, that could make them even looser, but not asking for that much down, but eventually he might get used to giving to that pressure...

I am just hoping my baby trusts me enough to start riding sooner or later :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I've already had a look and plan to order one on pay day they look brilliant, can't believe I've never seen one before!

From the sounds of it you have an amazing bond!
 
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