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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec. 7, 2015
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    Default Hot Horse Help!!!

    I'm currently working with a sales horse who used to be a very successful barrel horse, but alas he is now retired. He is still very much a barrel horse with his mentality. I have been doing dressage type work, but he will throw his head and avoid the bit. Currently I use a regular shanked training snaffle on him, but he seems to be getting hotter and hotter to the point where he starting to show signs of starting to rear, and I do not want to let that escalate to actual rearing! So any tips to calm him down?



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb. 13, 2014
    Posts
    719

    Default

    Have you ruled out pain? Barrel horses often develop hock problems. There's also saddle fit, teeth issues...


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  3. #3
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    Dec. 7, 2015
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    All of that has been ruled out. He is sound and pain free and as far a saddle fit I use one that has been checked by the owner of the barn and his seller.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov. 2, 2006
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by xRecklessRenditionx View Post
    . Currently I use a regular shanked training snaffle on him, but he seems to be getting hotter and hotter to the point where he starting to show signs of starting to rear
    so a tom thumb?



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec. 7, 2015
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    Area VIII
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    Default

    I guess, it's what ever the barn owner used on him. I did try a twisted full cheek, but he just became a giraffe and when he bolted there were no breaks because he throws his head.

    http://www.tackroominc.com/images/130039sm.jpg
    Brick's Bandito . Bandito - Dito . 18 . American Warmblood



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb. 15, 2012
    Posts
    158

    Default

    Age of this horse?
    Start practicing a proper whoa/stop on the ground, rope halter,
    training him to your verbal cue - whoa.
    Help him learn to give to the slightest pressure,
    not the most pressure.
    Let him learn to settle down under saddle, that being saddled and ridden,
    DOES NOT mean GO!
    Take the time to re-adjust, re-program his thinking BEFORE he becomes dangerous
    under saddle.
    JMO



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov. 2, 2006
    Posts
    2,419

    Default

    I'd lose the tom thumb. http://www.markrashid.com/docs/tomthumb.pdf

    My guess is he is getting worse because this is a really harsh bit. Stay out of his mouth, teach him to stop by your seat - or voice command.


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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb. 2, 2003
    Location
    Iowa, USA
    Posts
    3,521

    Default

    It's hard to say what's going on without knowing how you're riding him.
    What other bits have you tried? Does he understand "straight and forward"? Can you achieve a long-and-low energetic trot with just steady light contact? (i.e. forget about putting him in any kind of frame, other than a gentle supporting rein to keep him from being too strung out). He can't rear if he's going forward.

    I'd forget about the canter for awhile and work at the trot and walk. This should give him time and brain space to learn his new job. I've been on a few former gaming horses and that mentality seems really entrenched / hard to fully erase. I think they unfortunately just get drilled to death by the kids that ride them.


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  9. #9
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    Dec. 7, 2015
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    Area VIII
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    We are working on voice and seat response and I stay out of his mouth 75% of the time until he tries to take off. I don't know his age, my barn owner might so I'll ask. He is good at the walk and trot, but will anticipate the canter and prance and throw his head up. He also will not pick up his right lead. His left lead is pretty solid. I've gotten him to canter calmly on a loose rein (barely any contact) once the rest of the time is him bolting. But all this advice is super helpful.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun. 23, 2006
    Location
    Stoystown, PA
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    Default

    Sounds pain related to me. A bute trial will help rule this out. 1 gram of bute twice a day for 3 days. If he improves you know it's pain and you need a second opinion from another vet.
    Boyle Heights Kid 1998 16.1h OTTB Dark Bay Gelding
    Tinner's Way x Sculpture by Hail to Reason
    "Once you go off track, you never go back!"


    2 members found this post helpful.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar. 22, 2007
    Location
    Virginia
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    1,729

    Default

    A couple of thoughts:

    I'm no expert, but a good barrel horse should have two good canter leads, as they use both when running a pattern. If he's missing one then you may want to look for pain again. The bute trial mentioned above is an easy way to start.

    Secondly, he may only equate being in the arena with "Go!" Is there anywhere for you to ride out? Trails, field, unused turnout? If you can ride out relatively safely, you can take advantage of a more relaxed brain and teach him your dressage there. Then, he'll be able to get a more clear idea of his new expectations. Once it's solid, you can move back to the arena. You may still have to deal with some Go! but he'll have a better idea of what you're actually expecting.

    Good Luck.
    "In the beginning, the universe was created. This made a lot of people angry and has widely been considered as a bad move." -Douglas Adams


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  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr. 14, 2010
    Location
    PNW
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    469

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by HungarianHippo View Post
    I'd forget about the canter for awhile and work at the trot and walk. This should give him time and brain space to learn his new job. I've been on a few former gaming horses and that mentality seems really entrenched / hard to fully erase. I think they unfortunately just get drilled to death by the kids that ride them.
    This is very good advice! I am riding a friend's horse who was started as a barrel horse but failed out pretty quickly. My friend uses him for walking trail rides and walking in the arena which he has adjusted to pretty well. HOWEVER, I have been asking him to work a bit harder than that and that has brought out his initial training. For now, I am not cantering him at all. He horribly anticipates after asking him to canter just once, shoots forward even at the hint of leg, and chomp chomps chomps on the snaffle for the rest of the ride.

    For now, I am working with him on a verbal/seat cue for whoa, moving off my leg, a loose rein walk, a loose rein trot, and loose rein transitions between those. This has proven to be challenging for him. He just want to go, go, go even just at the walk and doesn't want to whoa. When he ignores my requests, I do not pull on the reins to make them happen as this has made absolutely no improvement. I will try to describe (but will butcher it...) what my instructor has suggested. The idea is to get them to learn that whoa is the place of solace. When he does not do what I ask whether that is whoa, trot to walk, etc., I slowly bring my hand down one rein while completely releasing the other rein. As the circle gets smaller and smaller, eventually he needs to be crossing under in the back (otherwise he just shoots forward immediately after I release the rein) until he eventually stops. Then when he gives to the bit, I release the rein. If he moves off without me asking, rinse and repeat.

    He has been getting better, but progress has been really, really slow... He really got imprinted that go mean go and never whoa!



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep. 4, 2012
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    Southeast US
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    Walk. Miles and miles of walking. Turning, adjusting speed, yielding to pressure. All at the walk. Forget about cantering.

    Then add brief periods of trotting. Miles and miles of walking with periods of trotting. Turning, adjusting speed, yielding to pressure at the walk and trot. Forget about cantering.

    Once you have the horse highly responsive to your aids, rating readily, yielding to pressure, and, especially, have a good "whoa" installed, then you can think about cantering.

    This horse has had a career running barrels. All of his knowledge of how to behave under saddle is based on what he needed to know to run barrels. You have to build new associations for him that do not involve running barrels. This takes time. How much time depends on the individual horse. It could be a LOT of time.
    "Facts are meaningless. You can use facts to prove anything
    that's even remotely true."

    Homer Simpson


    3 members found this post helpful.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb. 28, 2006
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    The rocky part of KY
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    Default

    Some of them, the old gaming horses, can turn it off and some of them really cannot.
    Lose the bit, use circles if he bolts and try to stay out of his mouth anyway while you are circling. That no right lead take up a left lead if you even think canter was my old mare to a T, acutely responsive and it was too bad I wasn't a seasoned enough rider to give her what she needed those many years ago.

    I found that much endless drilling, well, I don't mean that, but daily work over a long period of time at the slow pace, lots of seat and relaxed riding, got me the best result, but everything had to be done at half time including new things or she would become confused and think MUST RUN.

    Does he anticipate the canter because you always WTC one way of the arena? Then quit the C, quit the location if you always ask in a spot, or ask out order, say CTW, for three strides, slow to trot, pat him and don't canter again that way of the arena. That will probably be really hard and get him excited, but if the lighbulb goes on in his head that what you want is for him to calm down afterwards, it would be a good thing.
    Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
    Incredible Invisible



  15. #15
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    Feb. 28, 2006
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    Default

    Reading this . . . oh so familiar.
    Quote Originally Posted by TheHotSensitiveType View Post
    HOWEVER, I have been asking him to work a bit harder than that and that has brought out his initial training. For now, I am not cantering him at all. He horribly anticipates after asking him to canter just once, shoots forward even at the hint of leg, and chomp chomps chomps on the snaffle for the rest of the ride.
    I recall my trainer telling me to brace my back and sit on my seatbones to try to get some kind of communication going, but the problem with my horse was that her own spine was as tense as a bowstring, so both of us were stiff hipped even if my seatbones were digging two little holes in her back, and I really exerted little control over her stride with my seat. As I rode other horses I discovered that there were backs I could sink into (if I could get past my years of sitting on a Jet Pak) and as another trainer phrased it, pause my thigh, to signal a half halt or slowing of a footfall. The stiff hip is a way I sit a gaited horse as it lets me ride in essence "bridging over" the single footing, but for this tense barrel horse it needs a slow meandering hip swing from me that says we are moseying along, even at the canter (and that is a bit harder than I can do at this time in my life).
    At one point in time I was riding the occasional horse off the track as they were transitioning to the H/J barn and even the slow ones will think they are supposed to keep breezing, but they do understand the foot out of the stirrup and the leg allowed to dangle with the thigh long, that was something that definitely signalled my mare that we were NOT running - but putting the foot back up in the stirrup was something I wasn't able to do and keep that level of relaxation- I wonder if cuing the canter and passively resisting would work . . .regardless I owned my horse for I think 4 years and she never did get completely over the reactivity.
    Best of luck, I hope you are allowed the time to do this right.
    Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
    Incredible Invisible


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  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug. 4, 2010
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    Bozeman, MT
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    706

    Default

    Choose a bit for sensitivity, not energy.



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