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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I’ve had my 13 year old ex racehorse for almost a year now. His previous owner always lunged him before they rode him. We didn’t at the start but he was just too much of a handful. I have been lunging him less and less each time I rode to the point that i tried not lunging him. I was walking him around and I slightly but my inside leg on and boom he bolted, the rest of the lesson went on like this. With school it is getting harder to ride him and lunge him before dark. Can I have any tips to get him out of this habit?
 

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Hello, agree with above, that if you 'have to' lunge before riding to wear him out in order to control him, something's not right. And just lunging will just make him fitter, so he will take more to wear down & be handleable.

So... is it a matter that he doesn't get enough exercise generally, is not turned out enough or such? You can use lunging just for exercise, but I prefer not to, as it tends to turn the horse off listening to you & wanting to 'play your games'. I prefer to use lunging & other groundwork as training/communication exercises. Which it sounds like he could well do with more of anyway. Too many 'beans' & not enough exercise does make a horse harder to handle, but if he's bolting or otherwise out of control, he/you likely need training too - it may well be something you're inadvertently doing or not doing. It may also be due to pain/discomfort or fear somehow, that the horse is trying to run away from.
 

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Once a horse has been backed and ridden away it should not need lungeing before being ridden.

If it does then there is a big hole in the training.

You must be prepared for him to try and hook off with you and learn how to use a one rein stop.
 

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I rode for a bit a thoroughbred/warmblood cross who was kept all day in a stall, except for an hour or so turnout in a tiny paddock. When I went to ride, he often needed lunging. I usually free lunged him in the round pen, to get his ya-ya's out. After awhile, when I became better at knowing when he really WAS too keyed up, I started out rides by trotting out , right off the bat.

I did not warm him up at all at the walk, but just got on, and immediately trotted off briskly.



This seemed to help him. He got to focus immediately on just moving . He still would spook and bolt a bit at the side door. There was just no avoiding that. But he got better and better.


If lunging is required to keep you safe, just do it. If you feel you can ride him at a brisk trot, first thing, give that a try.
 

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I rode for a bit a thoroughbred/warmblood cross who was kept all day in a stall, except for an hour or so turnout in a tiny paddock.
Why did you stop riding him?

This is Everest's situation as well. I do lunge him before getting on, mostly to assess his mental state. Basically I'm looking for "no bucking at the canter transition" and overall listening to me.

It saddens me that he's being kept like this. He needs stimulation, he needs playtime. When I show up, his nose is at the stall door before I even get a chance to crack it open. I can't say anything because it's not as though they are unaware of what they are doing, so it's either riding him as is or not going anymore. I like to believe that my spending time with him brings him at least a little joy in his life - from brushing to trail riding to grazing afterwards.

It's easy to chose between good and evil. The tougher choice is to pick the lesser of two evils.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
My trainer (para Olympian) can’t ride him without being lunged either. He is simply to strong. Usually on the lunge he’s gallops and bucks for a round 5-10 minutes but if he is hot that day it can be up to half an hour. He’s gotten much better with listening too me and respecting me. Please also keep in mind he had two years off before I bought him not being handled at all. He is in a paddock full time. Please keep the replies coming though I really appreciate them. 😄
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Add: he is good on the ground. I have been teaching him ground manners as he came to us with none. He can now walk trot canter and back up on voice command. He also follows me around with no halter on. He loves to please and is extremely food motivated. He also has fortnightly chiropractor visits. The chiropractor has actually made a great bond with Cooper! Hahahaha.
 

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@mmshiro Why did I stop riding that horse? Because I am not a horse owner, but a horse part-leaser, I have to take what is available. I stopped riding that thbd/warmblood horse because his owner moved him away. I rode him for about 3 years, though. I've seen him recently, when our paths cross. He is happy and healthy and sane, enjoying his horsey life


I would not ride him now anyway because I am no longer comfortable riding any horse that spooks and bolts down the side of the arena. 15 years older makes me ready to take only the easy rides.
 

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I'm not sure I would allow him to gallop and buck for an hour. or half an hour. A couple of times around doing it HIS way, and then it's time to get him to do it YOUR way.
I'm not sure how much you know about lunging a hrose, but if a hrose is just barreling around , bucking like crazy, running like a lunatic, at some point you have to say, NO! and get him listening to you.


How are you lunging him? with a long traditional lunge line? how is it set up? on his halter or bridle, or caveson, or ?
 

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I can't recall if you said... how much turnout/general exercise does he get? I mean, without you actively making him? Can he get more somehow? Turnout with mates in a big paddock for eg. And what does he get fed & how much?

As for how he behaves on the lunge, I would not be wanting him to gallop & buck when on lead. I want my horses to know that when they are on lead, they're 'on the payroll', meaning they need to 'be good citizens' and be in control. Even when lunging for exercise to 'run off steam'. If he is too full of beans to do that, if you have a large pen/small paddock, I'd take him in there & let him loose & encourage him to run off his steam first.
 

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I have had many horses that were clipped out, stables 24/7 apart from turn out on their day off, though in racing they get no turn out, and NONE had to be lunged before being ridden.

They were worked daily and when I say worked I mean their energy was utilised and rides of 90 minutes.

If your horse needs to see the chiropractor fortnightly then the chiro is not any good.

Get on the horse and move him, as Tiny said, trot straight away. If he breaks into a canter, keep him cantering.

If, when you lunge him he is bucking and messing about then you are NOT in control you should be able to stop this and he should come out and be listening to you.

What is he being fed to make him so excitable?
 

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If your horse needs to see the chiropractor fortnightly then the chiro is not any good.
I agree there's a... distinct possibility, that they're just stringing it out or not actually helping. But I wouldn't say that necessarily, without further info. Perhaps there've been chronic probs that can take quite a few treatments. Perhaps we're talking short term & this is only fortnightly for the last month or 2...
 

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I’ve had my 13 year old ex racehorse for almost a year now. His previous owner always lunged him before they rode him. We didn’t at the start but he was just too much of a handful. I have been lunging him less and less each time I rode to the point that i tried not lunging him. I was walking him around and I slightly but my inside leg on and boom he bolted, the rest of the lesson went on like this. With school it is getting harder to ride him and lunge him before dark. Can I have any tips to get him out of this habit?

I don't have any helpful suggestions but I do know what a respected trainer said about ex racehorses. Well all horses. They will revert back to their foundation training years and years after that training took place and they have moved on to other disciplines. It was said during a clinic of hers that someone had a just off the track horse attending. She is a known training, sought out at Midwest Horse Fair. I don't know how you fix that, but even with professional training after, there are times they will still revert back to their foundation training, which it sounds like this one was at the track.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I just want to address my chiro doesn’t pay if the horse doesn’t need adjusting, but we like to get him out a lot to make sure Cooper isn’t sore. 9 out of 10 times he isnt. I let him buck and gallop on the lunge so that he is well behaved when I ride him. As the last comment said, a ex racehorse will always revert back to their Raceday training. But if he stops respecting me even for a second we go back to groundwork until he respects me again. He is out in a large paddock full time even though if prefers the stables. We have tried changing his feed and no difference. I lunge him in a bridle and saddle only if that helps.
 

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Oh to have a good chiro in your 'back pocket' like that!

Yes, as above, horses can indeed 'revert' to early 'training', fears, etc(or never got over them at all), be that inadvertent or otherwise. First impressions do stick! I think that's the big thing about it being harder to 'retrain' a horse than to train one well in the first place. That is not to say they will always revert, or that good training cannot overcome it though. 'Old horses' can indeed learn 'new tricks'! No need to just accept what you've always got.

There are people here ( @Foxhunter for eg) who have far more experience with racehorses than I, but IME playing up on the lunge & playing up under saddle unless lunged first are not things that would have been encouraged from race trainers I've worked for. Yes, I appreciate why you're letting him buck & gallop. I just do not think it's a good move to teach/allow this sort of thing on lead. As said, I'd find ways of giving him more off lead(or ridden) exercise & ask him to behave when on lead. As an aside, I also would definitely not have a bit in his mouth if you're allowing this.

I wonder, what exactly is he doing when 'not respecting you' and what are you doing/getting with groundwork to overcome that? And what sort of diet is he on & what was it changed from?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
He has never tried to hurt me or any thing like that. When he miss behaves it’s mpre of I don’t give a rats about what she says but the semiconductor he thinks that I bring him too a walk and go back to ground manners and just getting him to respect me. I don’t force him to anything I like to use the push and release method as I have learned that he responds best to that. I keep asking until he responds then immediately stop all pressure. I continue this cycle until he does it without pressure and is completely focused on me. As Cooper is very smart this only takes 5 to 10 minutes. I would also like to say I have complete control over him on the lunge at all times. With one word he will come back to a walk until told otherwise by me. I respect everyones different training methods but this one has worked the best for us
 

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He has never tried to hurt me or any thing like that. When he miss behaves it’s mpre of I don’t give a rats about what she says but the semiconductor he thinks that I bring him too a walk and go back to ground manners and just getting him to respect me. I don’t force him to anything I like to use the push and release method as I have learned that he responds best to that. I keep asking until he responds then immediately stop all pressure. I continue this cycle until he does it without pressure and is completely focused on me. As Cooper is very smart this only takes 5 to 10 minutes. I would also like to say I have complete control over him on the lunge at all times. With one word he will come back to a walk until told otherwise by me. I respect everyones different training methods but this one has worked the best for us
Then why did you ask for help if your method works? Obviously it's not working because horse bolts when leg is put on him. Letting him run like a fool and buck on lunge line, Is only reinforcing this behavior.

Good luck with your horse. I have no advice for you,you obviously already know what's best.
 
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