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I ride on a rodeo drill team on a 12 year old QH gelding that has an absolutely awesome handle.... However, the better he learns the pattern, the faster he thinks we need to take it. Not a good plan! It's gotten to be an incredible battle to rate him in the maneuvers where he's not the lead horse. He throws his head like crazy taking it from way up in the air, to the ground and side topside in between. It's an absolute beating in the saddle!
He's very soft in every other situation, teeth are good.... He just thinks everything needs to be in high gear. Great breaks when on his own, it's just in the "hype up" arena setting that he gets so gassy, earning himself the name of "Rocket Dog"!
We've even ran the pattern sideways a time or two.... Not by my wishes...!
I've tried snaffled, Tom thumbs, long shanks, short shanks and hacks, running martingales and a standard nose band tie down.
Help?
 

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Sounds like you're going to need to practice getting him soft in groups. His attention is on the other horses, not on you, which might be why he's soft everywhere else but not when you're doing the drill. Have you tried taking him out on trail rides with other people? Or just riding him around with friends? That would be a good place to start, and also an excuse to ride for fun =]
 

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We have done a fair share of group trail rides... he's a head tosser there too - if we're not in the lead or going "too slowly" for his likes. He's even come up with a nifty little trick where he basically lopes in place.... again, not cool.
I guess the best deal is just to put him around as many horses as often as possible - I hate to be on his face and I find myself doing it more and more with how things are going.
Thanks for your input!
 

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We have done a fair share of group trail rides... he's a head tosser there too - if we're not in the lead or going "too slowly" for his likes. He's even come up with a nifty little trick where he basically lopes in place.... again, not cool.
I guess the best deal is just to put him around as many horses as often as possible - I hate to be on his face and I find myself doing it more and more with how things are going.
Thanks for your input!
It sounds like your not the boss of your horse, as long as its just you and him or as long as you have him where he wants to be everything is good, as soon as you want him to do something he doesn't want to then he gets frustrated. I would make this horse VERY tired Very very tired he needs to work and you need to make him work. I would push this horse hard.

I would encourage you to stay out of his mouth as much as you can. I have found with horse like this, that want to go and go fast (cantering or trotting in place) pulling on the reins is not going to help, you are only damming a the energy not stopping it thats why you are getting the trotting and cantering in place. You have to disengage his hindquarters shut off the energy. Pulling on the reins is stopping the forward motion but he is not stopping or slowing down.

Also he is not focused on you he is WAY to interested in what everyone else is doing. You need to get his attention.
 

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What Bob said. Think "guiding a river with banks" rather than "dam up the water". No one wants a flood. ;)

My hubby's old gelding gets hot in groups and it takes a good 30-40 mins to ride him down. He rides that horse up, down, around, over and under every obstacle off the trail he can, while my plodder and I just try to keep up walking on the trail, lol. He's hoping to replace Bill with another plodder that he doesn't HAVE to keep so busy, once the old boy retires.
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Try doing circles, figures, stepping over things, walking around things, and just doing things in general that will get his mind off of FORWARD and thinking about where you are going to ask him to go and what you are going to ask him to do. Riding with buddies and getting him used to being around other horses is a great way to get him used to it but only if he is responding to you in these situations. If it is a fight every time and you never make progress there is no point in doing it. You have to find a way to shut down the forward energy (disengaging this hind end is a great way) and get him focusing.
 

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Something I forgot to add in my first post is if you are in a group, celebrate the small wins. If he walks nicely for 3 steps behind another horse, ask him to pass and let him lead for a bit, then come back and try again. To force him to walk the whole ride behind another horse when he can't even do it for a few steps is only going to frustrate you.
 

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He sounds like he's bored. "ok run in a circle, if I do it fast it will be over. Walk down the trail, if I go fast I'll eat first".

Find something else for him to do that uses different skills without speed. Work some cattle or teach him some Dressage or something that requires attention and precision without so much speed.
 
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