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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have recently (a few months or so) started exercising/free leasing a younger OTTB a few days a week. He is around 6 years old, and trained under saddle. I've been getting the feeling recently that he is very bored and has an excess amount of pent-up energy.

Usually when I go out to ride him I start on the lunge, doing W/T/C both directions either once/twice. Usually he will do some variation of a bolt, bucking, etc when we go to canter. Generally he settles down (he didn't the other day though). When I get on him I try to vary the movements and keep it unexpected for him - adding circles, change directions, etc. He usually doesn't settle down and really "behave" or fully listen until I put him to a fence.

I'd love some suggestions of exercises/things I can do with him when I go out, especailly through the winter. Also, any constructive things on what I have been doing with him are welcome. I want to try some "desensitization" stuff with him at some point, so if you have tips on that as well?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Foxhunter, I can't really speak to his grain/feed schedule as I honestly don't know it. However, he does get turnout but in a single-horse field (apparently he doesn't get along with the larger herds, they've tried). His owner does come out to ride him, however I'm not sure how hard/often. Some other people at the barn say they don't see her out all that regularly. Like I said, he's not mine (and I can't afford to pay to lease, and don't have time to go out riding every day).
 

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Is there a big pen you can turn him loose in before you start to work with him? ALL bucking and playing should be done while loose and with no control from you at all.

Then, after he has gotten his 'jollies' out, work him on a longe line. He must stay under complete control on a line just like he should under saddle. MAKE him trot until he relaxes and starts trotting 'lazy' and you have to make him move out. Use a shorter and shorter line until you can get a nice relaxed trot. Then and only then, 'ask' him to canter. Do not let him break into a canter on his own. It MUST be at your command. The instant he goes too fast or gets rowdy, pull in around hard and put him back into a trot on a shorter line.

If you are knowledgeable enough and the owner and BM agree, you could start longeing him while bitted up. This helps you keep form and helps keep one from playing on the longe.

Longing should always be a 'exercise in control and with good form'. It should never be just a 'form of exercise'. All of the playing and BS you put up with on a longe line carries over into your riding. Face it, he is riding just like he is working on the longe line with you. That is what you are teaching him so that is what you are getting.

Always remember --The worst behavior or response you allow is the best behavior you have any right to expect!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Is there a big pen you can turn him loose in before you start to work with him? ALL bucking and playing should be done while loose and with no control from you at all.

Then, after he has gotten his 'jollies' out, work him on a longe line. He must stay under complete control on a line just like he should under saddle. MAKE him trot until he relaxes and starts trotting 'lazy' and you have to make him move out. Use a shorter and shorter line until you can get a nice relaxed trot. Then and only then, 'ask' him to canter. Do not let him break into a canter on his own. It MUST be at your command. The instant he goes too fast or gets rowdy, pull in around hard and put him back into a trot on a shorter line.
I'll have to ask around when I go out to the barn if there is a place where I can try to do that. I'm not that positive though. I'd have to use one of the rings and I don't know how/if they all close.
 

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This horse needs his mind engaged, not longed in endless circles. He's old enough to be doing lateral work, trot poles, serpentines, etc. Get on him and putt his butt to work. Get him thinking about what you are asking and change things up constantly to keep him guessing what's next. TBs become bored very fast if they are just doing the same thing every day. The more variety you can add, the better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the awesome tips you guys. I went out riding tonight and was able to let him get some of his energy out in the ring as suggested (I got some help from a friend just to be safe). He definitely wanted to run. It made a huge difference too- he was 100% more relaxed than I had seen him in weeks. He settled down so nicely under saddle and was super responsive!

Thanks for the tip. I'm definitely planning on doing a lot more variety with him as I work him.
 

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Horses that have a high level of energy either need to be out 24/7 or need turn-out time to get rid of all the extra energy before you try to ride them or do anything else with them.

What they are being fed also has a lot to do with how much energy they have. If one is fed like a race horse, you should expect it act like one.
 

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How big is this pen? TBs are high energy and should have a large area. My Tb is in a smaller pen at night but everyday when she gets turned out she goes and does a big galloping and bucking lap of the field. If he can't get his energy out in his field then it leaves it all saved up for rides.

I realize that you may have not control over the size of his pasture...so what I would suggest is using "obstacles" during rides. Ground poles, cones, anything to use for new activities that will use his brain power an take focus.
 
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