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Discussion Starter #1
I just got a horse who absolutely has NO manners.
I think she'll have great potential if she learns manners
She bites if you try to tighten her girth and pins her ears
Also she will try to dance around before you mount
She paws the ground if you tighten her girth as well
when mounted she will hop around and try to get her way
She's an ex-race horse but I want some methods to teach her to learn her manners and know that I am the boss
 

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My horse Scooter, who I've had for 10 years, was always bratty when girthing. His previous owners were very rough with him and tightened it all at once. He still is not perfect. but He is much better. Make sure your being gentle with the girth and not making it too tight at first. Sometimes right before I would tighten it i would give him a handful of hay or a treat to get his mind off of it, and so he would be doing something else with his mouth besides biting me. If she does turn her head to nip, I'd give her a smack under her chin, usually they dont know where it came from and associate it with biting. But its really just going to take time i think.
I'm not sure how bad of a prancer she is but when you get on her make sure to just stand there for a few minutes until she stops wiggling and even a few minutes after she is still, then get off and remount. I would do this a few times everytime you ride until she gets better.
Alot of times racehorses are just mounted on the go so it will just take time to retrain her go-go thinking :)
 

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Ex-racehorses generally aren't very good at standing still. You need to be patient with her, and understand that ex-racers come with their own special baggage.

Try establishing a firm foundation in ground work before you try to "teach her who's boss" under-saddle.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Yeah I already understood I'm going to need a LOT of ground work done with her
I usually put the girth on the first hole on the billets and tighten one hole at a time before I mount
 

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I have an ex racer. He was on the track for eight years, off the track for about a year and a half now. He's been in my hands for seven months. He is very girthy as well, and now he's learned that he can puff himself up. I do the gradual tightening of the girth, I usually tighten once when I put the saddle on, then I go about my business, pick his hooves out and maybe put on his splint boots,then tighten again, then put his bridle on and walk him out to the mounting block then tighten on just before I mount up. He usually waits until I am fully mounted and in the saddle to walk off, so we're working on that.

Get him in the round pen and do join up, lunge him, whatever you want to call it. Make sure there are LOTS of directional changes and changes of pace, because controlling his feet will establish you as leader and get him to start respecting you. Free lunging will be easier for him to understand than a lunge line will, since they aren't used to having somebody in control of their head.

How long has she been off the track for, and how old is she?

Here is a link to a forum specifically for OTTBs and OTSBs. It has been VERY helpful, since all of the people there have lots of experience re-training and dealing with these horses. Also I recommend finding a trainer who has experience re-training OTTBs, even if they don't ride in your chosen discipline, OTTB's have a certain way of thinking thats almost backwards from how regular riding horses think, and a trainer who understands that will be invaluable. You can also PM me if you want me to share some of my experiences.

Exracers.com Forums - Home
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks a lot I hope that this will help me because this horse is going to need LOTS of training before I can even start to think of showing.
She is 12 and has been off the track for quite sometime
 

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What has she been doing all of this time? Was she just out to pasture? That's how Ice got to enjoy the first part of his "retirement" and its actually made him much harder to train.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
A 13 year old girl has been riding her and showing her but she hasn't been rode in 2 months because the girl is scared of her. She has been out to pasture and before they got her she was neglected.
 

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How does she ride, does she rush through her gaits, etc? Is she heavy on your hands/ on the forehand? And what do you plan on showing her in?

Hopefully all of my nagging questions can get some other persons advice, lol ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
She will do a steady walk if you keep your hands firm
When you trot she'll try to hop into a canter

She has a VERY light mouth but she'll try to jerk you when she wants to canter

You have to be very easy with your legs

I plan on showing her in show jumping
She has had experience with jumping
 

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from the short video you posted, it looks like she hurts but it also looks like you are kind of unbalanced and all over the place and pulling on her mouth a bit. I know it wasn't a riding critique video and I'm not trying to be harsh. I think it will be easier to ride her once you get her settled a bit more and understanding what you want. I couldn't post that trot (if you could call it that) either. I see what you mean about trying to break into a canter but it looks like it is because you are giving her conflicting aids, not because she's super sassy. I only say these things because they are things I sometimes do myself- not because I'm trying to criticize your riding.

As far as an ex racer, I have one too and he had all of the issues mentioned above and more. We have come a long way in a short time due to lots and lots of ground work and consistancy on my part. And then more ground work. When it comes to girthing, he used to try and bite- TB's have very thin skin and they aren't slow and gentle at the track so they learn girthing sucks in general. I started out by making sure he'd let me touch his girth area, then brush it, then girth him. Everytime he bit I threw my elbow up so he got it in the face. That way, it isn't like I'm smacking him to make him head shy, it just seems like he made a bad decision that didn't work out so good. Always do up the girth slowly and in stages, as mentioned above. I always saved the treats for when he let me girth him without biting though, I don't like the idea of giving him one to take his mind off of it, to each his own.

Your gate issues will also get better with groundwork, assuming it isn't a pain problem for her. Once she is respecting you and listening to you on the ground, it will help transfer to the saddle. One last tip- be careful using a whip while mounted. I'm sure I'll get flamed for saying so but my boy and a few other OTTBs at the barn get really indignant when you use it to ask them to go faster. Now, I use a lunge whip, I carry a dressage whip when I ride and can sort of slide it on his rump or around his girth or on the shoulder, but if I even so much as flick it at his hind end he bucks endlessly. I have ridden out several said bucks, acted like nothing happened, continued asking him to do what I wanted and didn't stop until he complied. But every time I try using it to get him to listen, he acts like he is mortally wounded. I get better results asking firmly with my legs, seat and voice. But you'll be able to feel your girl out and see how she does.

TBs are awesome once you win them over, but they can be choosey with who they give their hearts to. Patience, and firm, fair leadership will help you get there with her. It looks like you have a trainer which is also the biggest tool you can have in your box. Good luck with her and please keep us updated. Congrats on your new girl!
 

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The very best thing you can do is to gain some understanding as to what her previous training and experience was.

Get someone to show you what a racing overgirth and racing saddle look like and you'll understand why she's girthy.

Racehorses are never mounted from a standstill. The rider is always put up with a legt up while the horse is moving forward, and the rider usually catches their irons *without* sitting down and moves off standing up in the irons. So it's not a case of no manners, it's different manners, and you need to gradually introduce different expectations.

A few other brief notes -

Contact with the reins means "Lean into the bridle and go faster"
Body angle forward means "We're getting ready to work at racing speed"
Slipping the reins to the knot and standing up means "Relax, we're done for the day."

Racehorses also do not understand huntery or dressagy leg contact with their sides - they have to be taught what leg aids mean, and they may overreact to a tight, grippy hunter seat equitation leg.

They may or may not tolerate someone sitting down or sitting deep - most likely not, and again, something else you'll have to gradually accustom the horse to.

HTH
 

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maura, excellent points- but I was under the impression that this horse had been off the track for several years and already retrained as a hunter jumper? Did I lose the thread, or is she still very much in a race horse mentality?
 

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^^I would think so, simply based on the fact that that the 13 year old the OP bought her from was afraid of her. She might have been allowed to get away with too much, and retain too much of her track thinking. maura made excellent points, and so did you telamutt! I was actually afraid of mentioning the OPs riding, since this isn't a critique.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
My riding was terrible I agree haha
This was the first time I rode her and going from a Warmblood who needs TONS of leg and even spurs to a horse who needs no leg is a major transition
I was a bit nervous too but I'm sure I'll get used to her more.
 

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The one thing I recommend is if you're nervous riding her, don't ride her. That could be why she was all over the place. An OTTB, or any TB, or any horse for that matter is going to feed off of your nervous energy, and if she's already learned that she can take advantage of someone by behaving badly, she's going to do it to you too. I learned the hard way (and I mean that, the ground is very hard in Florida) that sometimes its just better to keep your butt out of the saddle if you're hesitant.

TB's are a breed that need a LOT of confidence from their rider in order to excel. If you doubt them or you doubt yourself, its going to end badly.
 

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tealamutt and justsambam,

Both. Based on the OPs description, I'm assuming the horse never received consistent reclaim training after she left the track.

Also, depending on how confirmed the horse is in their race training, whether or not they actually raced and for how long, some of these traits never entirely leave.

An OTTB that I showed as a jumper and evented *never* learned to tolerate a steady hold of his mouth and would alway lean and pull if you braced your hand and arm and a wonderful OTTB with a long and succesful show hunter career that I had in my barn could be foxhunted successfully in a rubber snaffle under two conditions - that you never took ahold of his mouth and never sat down fully on his back.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I was nervous that day, she was new and I have never met her other than that day
I am a very confident rider and I have rode another OTTB that was equally hyper or more.
I wasn't extremely nervous just a little nervous and tense because I didn't know much about her.
 

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yes yes, you're right, I hadn't thought about the fact that the 13 yo was afraid. Silly me making assumptions, I had rather figured that the mare had been properly retrained before going on the young girl, but now I don't know where I got that idea.

rissa, don't be so hard on yourself! I didn't point out your riding to make you feel like you rode "terribly", just was trying to sort out whether it was you or the mare. But justsam is right, don't ride the girl until you are totally confident. My boy raced for 7 years and is now 20, having been professionally trained in dressage and jumping, but if I'm nervous, he's a wreck. If I'm calm and confident, he relaxes and lets me take charge. I'm lucky that he doesn't have mouth issues, but I am pretty light in the hands anyway. If I give him something to lean into, he takes it but won't run off like an idiot with me.

One last point- spurs are for refined cues, for use by skilled riders with a very quiet leg. If a horse is "dead to the leg", then a knowledgeable trainer can use them to help bring some sensitivity back but if you're whaling on them with your leg and go to something bigger like a spur to get their attention, they'll eventually tune that out too. And I would NOT use them on this girl, though I'm sure you know that =P
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Of course I wouldn't use spurs with her. I had to wear spurs with the other horse. She wouldn't listen to the leg at all and of course my instructor said that my legs are nice enough to wear spurs without jabbing her in the side constantly. I did take lessons. My riding is usually way better but I will have to get used to this horse a lot more. I plan on doing a lot of bonding and ground work even before I attempt to ride her.
 
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