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 Caring and Owning Horses
 Horse Training
 Retraining a horse
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Beorn
Tenderfoot

USA
4 Posts

Posted - 02/06/2006 :  12:25:13 PM  Show Profile  Visit Beorn's Homepage Send Beorn a Private Message
First...hello! I am new here.

Second...sorry for the super vague subject but I will try to explain this in more detail.

So off we go!
First the question...Do you know of a good way to retrain 11 years of a specific type of training from a horse...yeah I know still vague but read on please.

I have a 16 hand Percheron, for 11 years or so he was used in pulling competitions but as he would only ever get 3rd place the owners decided to sell him. I got him and he is being retrained as a riding horse.

He took to saddle fairly easily.

The problem I am having is this...he has three speeds...walk, trot and batouttahell. I can get him to walk and trot fairly easily, but when I ask for a canter he takes off, I or the other person that rides him is just barely able to slow him down and when they half halt him he starts to buck some and crowhop. He does this sometimes at a trot as well but not too often.

Here is what we have figured out already from watching him when he does this. He lowers his body and digs in hard so we assume this is what he did as a pulling horse. We think that he is so trained from pulling that anytime you line him up down a field ask him for the canter he just goes all out like he did for pulling.

I am not sure if I am explaining this sufficiently, I apologize if this is the case

Anyway what I am looking for is any suggestions/tips/comments/ideas on how to rewire him to do a canter as it stand now he is too dangerous to ride. Also any suggestions on how to stop him when he does go off like that

We are running him with a full cheek bit with a single port. We are going to try an Uxeter Kimberwick bit with a curb chain and possibly a bit of a shank for more leverage.

SO basically we have a 1500lb freight train with hooves that is almost impossible to stop once he gets it in his head to just go all out.

I appreciate any advice/suggestion/comments/help you can give with this.

I also apologise for the length of the post and the slightly rambling nature of it.

Red Hawk
Clinician



USA
5092 Posts

Posted - 02/06/2006 :  1:16:47 PM  Show Profile Send Red Hawk a Private Message
I have seen pulling ponies, which is probably the same thing only in miniature. And there seemed to be two kinds in the competitions I've been to... the ones that would walk at a steady pull and the ones that would act like they just can't pull that load fast enough if their life depended on it. The latter sounds like your Percheron. Now the bad news; The ones that practically tried to run away with the load were probably trained with hot shots, commonly known as electric cattle prods. In other words, they were frightened half to death to pull that load any way they could.

It sounds to me like you have a very dangerous situation on your hands and unless you've had tons of experience with this kind of situation, I'd advise you to seek out and hire a professional trainer. Maybe someone else can offer you some hands-on advice, but I'm thinking only of your safety, the safety of those who may be in the same area with you when this horse takes off like this, and the well-being of the horse. PLEASE be extremely careful!

"God forbid that I should go to any heaven in which there are no horses"
--Robert Browning

Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow. Don't walk behind me, I may not lead. Just walk beside me and be my friend.
-- Author Unknown
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Stormie
Clinician

1630 Posts

Posted - 02/06/2006 :  1:23:10 PM  Show Profile  Visit Stormie's Homepage Send Stormie a Private Message
Thanks to the board I lost my reply!! grrr I hate that.

Going to a leverage bit is not going to work. Leverage bits are not for control but for refinement. They are for finished horses not ones that need a lot of training. Do you mean that the bit has a single joint? Most snaffles don't have ports but bits only have one port when they do have one. Has he shown any signs of not liking the bit?

What does he know?

Is she soft to the bit? Does he give to it?

Does he know the half halt at the walk and trot?

Does he only go fast when you longe or round pen him?

What I would do is start with with longing or round pen. Work on teaching him to sllloooowww down at all gaits. Also teach him to halt from all gaits.

Then work on getting him light to the bit, as light as he can go and then lighter. Teach him to half halt from walk and trot and get him doing that really well. Teach him the one rein stop. Work on halting from the walk and trot. Repeat the going slow at the walk and trot.

When he can handle all of that and does it without problem then you can start the canter. Use a small space like a round pen. Reinforce all of the above and do some walk/halt and trot/halts. Set him up so that he is canter towards a turn if you are in a squarish arena. Ask for the canter but only canter a couple strides before you ask him to slow down. Not half halt that is just to slow the gait down you want him to trot. He won't be able to handle the canter to halt right away so you go to a trot or walk and then halt and maybe then back. Don't let him get going so long that he thinks about running. If he doesn't slow down then use circles or one rein stops to get him to slow down. Repeat that never letting him go too far before you ask him to slow down and then halt. That way he starts to think that every time we canter we slow down so what's the point of wasting engery to go faster. Also you are showing him that every time he doesn't slow down you are going to make it harder by making him circle or one rein stop. Horses are lazying they like to do the easy things. Make it harder for him to get going faster or to not listen to you.

Only work on this in the safe smaller area until you think he is ready to move to a larger area and then repeat every step. Don't ask him to canter for too long so that he doesn't have the chance to speed up to a point you have no contral.

Remember that he is built and muscled for pulling not riding. The muscles and balance that he used for 11 yrs is not the same as what he needs now for riding. So work a lot on balance stuff at the walk and trot before you canter. He needs to build that balance so that he doesn't fall on his forehand(which also causes them to speed up).
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Beorn
Tenderfoot

USA
4 Posts

Posted - 02/06/2006 :  1:37:54 PM  Show Profile  Visit Beorn's Homepage Send Beorn a Private Message
Thank you for the suggestions/comments.

As for the bit. this is the bit we are using now.
http://www.doversaddlery.com/product.asp_Q_pn_E_X1%2D0194_A_Full+Cheek+_E_

He turns with the bit well and he does stop from a walk but when he decides to run he ignores it.

The training we are doing now is alot of 'giving to the bit' excersizes, and once he is doing well with that we start to walk him with alot of turns not letting him get a 'head of steam' type of thing. Also do the same at a trot. This is all done in a piece of property that has a decent strong fence around so that he can not run too far or get away and be dangerous to others...well he could but it would take some doing.

I do lunge him, I can free lunge him and he listens very well for this, it just seems that once you get him saddled and things start moving he has a switch that goes off and he runs.
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Red Hawk
Clinician



USA
5092 Posts

Posted - 02/06/2006 :  2:07:48 PM  Show Profile Send Red Hawk a Private Message
How does he lunge with the saddle on? Does he still want to get-up-and-go? If so, I'd say this is what you have to work on. If he won't do it from the ground, don't expect him to do it from the saddle.

IF!... and I say if he was trained with a hot shot, this behavior will be VERY hard to break. He has associated work(and possibly the tack he wears) with fear... fear of being hurt... badly! And the only way he has been taught to get away from it is to run. Horses remember two things extremely well... anything that causes them intense pain (like a hot shot), and anything that causes them intense pleasure like a kindness. Most of his problem, I'd say, is psychological, and this type of problem takes much, much longer to overcome (if at all) than something more common. I sure hope you can teach him to overcome it. Good luck, and stay safe.

"God forbid that I should go to any heaven in which there are no horses"
--Robert Browning

Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow. Don't walk behind me, I may not lead. Just walk beside me and be my friend.
-- Author Unknown
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Beorn
Tenderfoot

USA
4 Posts

Posted - 02/06/2006 :  2:23:15 PM  Show Profile  Visit Beorn's Homepage Send Beorn a Private Message
He actually has excellent ground manners, doesn't shy away from bits/saddles or anything. the only thing he was afraid of was sticks (probably beaten with them) but I have gotten him desensitized to sticks (I can run them up and down his body now with no problem at all)

I am willing to put in the time to bring around this horse. He is very friendly and other than this problem with running he is a dream.
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Termite
Advanced Rider

369 Posts

Posted - 02/06/2006 :  4:32:12 PM  Show Profile Send Termite a Private Message
Hello and welcome

You may want to try a twisted wire bit to stop him. I know a lot of you will say they are to harsh of a bit. Also if you are kissing to him or chirrping to him to get him to go ahead don't, that is more than likely the signal he was given when they wanted him to pull. Try using a verbal command like, Easyboy or Gitup and use a quiet steady tone of voice and not a loud one. If he has just been recently retired from pulling it may take quite awhile for him to slow down and learn what you want him to do and how to act. Another thing is he is being worked single and not as a team. Some pullers will work or hook a horse single to train or get them to pull and get pretty rough with them. I quit pulling ponies over 35 years ago and have forgot a lot it. I didn't use the methods that a lot of people used but did have some ponies that others had pulled and have an idea what you are up against. Good luck with him.
Termite
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Saddletramp
Trail Boss (Moderator)



USA
2546 Posts

Posted - 02/06/2006 :  5:29:05 PM  Show Profile  Visit Saddletramp's Homepage Send Saddletramp a Private Message
Sounds a bit like retraining a racing t-bred....

Slow and easy...work on slowing the walk and trot, with consistent cues.

-Saddletramp

"She never moved the stars from their courses,
but she loved a good man and she rode good horses"
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Stormie
Clinician

1630 Posts

Posted - 02/06/2006 :  7:39:25 PM  Show Profile  Visit Stormie's Homepage Send Stormie a Private Message
Yep that is a single jointed mouth piece.

Wire bits aren't harsh if used correctly but does this horse need that? It's a training issue not a bit issue and a wire bit won't give you any more control then what is trained into him.

I would avoid the canter, get to a smaller riding area and do a lot more focus on slow, control and balance.
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fracturedbones
Clinician



3424 Posts

Posted - 02/07/2006 :  12:51:42 PM  Show Profile  Visit fracturedbones's Homepage Send fracturedbones a Private Message
When looking at fjords and on my fjord discussion list, number of times discussions have come up from seasoned horsepeople saying first discipline horse taught frequently becomes the favored one of the horse and hard to switch over to the other (ride or drive).

Sounds like you have great suggestions from all. No horse trainer, and would think retraining would be the same for any breed EXCEPT you have a HUGE powerful horse and a longer way to the ground. Is anyone around that specializes in drafts and retraining under saddle?

My fjords favorite gait is trot, easier with his bulk. I would guess same with a large draft and any fast gait would take a lot of effort to sustain. Maybe with lunging, he'll learn he doesn't have to dig in so hard for the take off!

I'll be really interested in hearing how this comes along...and how you handle lunging a Mack Truck! Have had my problems with the fjord strength running off with me in tow on lunging with a regular lead, knotted halter. Got a suggestions from Anderson himself to use the bridle with bit and attach lunge line to the bit. Works like a charm but looking forward to NOT having to do that. It is getting better with time.
OH.....welcome!
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Beorn
Tenderfoot

USA
4 Posts

Posted - 02/07/2006 :  1:08:45 PM  Show Profile  Visit Beorn's Homepage Send Beorn a Private Message
He is fairly responsive to lunging I can actually free lunge him.

I want to thank everyone for the suggestions/comments/help. I will definetly keep all of you updated on the progress.

Thanks again!
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