Posted: Tue Dec 28, 2004 11:55 pm Post subject: Speedy TB
i have a 12 yr old tb mare that i've owned sence she was 10. I'm 15 and ahve been rideing for about 12 years. She was a race horse and no matter what i do she's speedy about everything! her trot, jumping and when i ask for a lead change she just goes faster. I was at a show wiht ehr and she got me disqalifiyed b/c i tryed to slow her down and she didn't like that so she ran out her jumps. Can anyone help me with getting my mare to just slow down and take it easy?
1) Find an instructor who has experience working with OTTB's. Having someone on the ground looking at you & the horse can be tremendously helpful. Sometimes having someone coaching you, from the ground, can help you learn about things that you just can't see from the saddle.
Everybody can benefit from coaching. Even the Olympic level riders get regular coaching. In fact, if you look at a particular sport, you can often find out which riders are getting special coaching in preparation for major international competitions. The list for eventing this year is here:
2) Make sure you are not using a solid pull when trying to slow her. An OTTB will interpret a solid pull as a request to go faster. Instead, use a pull-release-pull-release on your rein. Try to use a very quiet rein aid; the less dramatic you are with your aids, the more she should learn to respond to softer cues.
3) Make sure that you keep your leg softly on at all times. I know this seems counterintuitive, but it will stabilize your leg. Let it rest softly against her side. When you want to actually use the leg, squeeze with you calf and then stop squeeezing, but leave the leg there.
Many jumpy or forward moving horses get MORE forward when you bump them with a leg then take the leg back off. Such leg aids are more unpredictable for the horse, and also much stronger. It's like shouting as opposed to asking quietly and calmly.
Also, keeping your leg off of the horse's side makes it less stable. Often, you may accidentally brush the horse with your leg--without even noticing--which confuses the horse and makes her think that you want her to go faster.
4) Learn to use half halts from your seat. Half halts are in the articles section, under "Riding." A half halt asks a horse to slow down, but not to transition into a slower gait. So, for example, if you half halt while trotting, you should get a slower, more controlled trot.
Good luck. OTTB's may not transition well from the track to riding; they don't know all the aids that are used in most regular riding, and so you have to teach them. If your horse has never really learned to slow down or to be balanced and controlled, she won't be able to go nicely, more slowly, and in control. It'll take some teaching to help her learn to move nicely for you. I'm sure that if you show her what you want, she will be happy to do it for you.