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Old 05-10-2012, 01:44 PM  
Halter broke
 
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Getting horse to relax under saddle

Hey! I recently purchased a 2008 Smarty Jones son as a training project for hunter/jumper and maybe a little gaming for fun. He has been doing well and behaving for the most part (he is your typically young TB, nippy and occasional pushing but much better than recent horses that i've had) I have ridden him twice since i got him because he had been recovering from a knee chip. He is all healed up but since he had to sit and be on some stall rest he gets a little antsy under saddle. Other than just lots of walking and talking what else can i do to get him to relax. Once he relaxs he rounds and everything (which surprised me) but he has trouble relaxing and staying relaxed. Bindi also has this problem but hers if more because she is always ready to run barrels. Even just seeing a barrel can get her going when she is under saddle. She loves it a little to much sometimes.
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Old 05-10-2012, 02:43 PM  
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If he's just off the track (I don't know because your post didn't say) doesn't he need time for the drugs and high protien feed to wear off?

Maybe ride him with a friend who is on a nice calm, slow, pokey horse?
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Old 05-10-2012, 05:14 PM  
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I am assuming he was off grain while recovering from the chip.

Look into some of the TTouch stuff. SOme of the body wrap stuff seems silly, but can be really helpful with anxious horses. Helps them know where their body is or something.
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Old 05-10-2012, 06:13 PM  
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Do you ride him on contact or on a loose rein? OTTB's are trained that contact=get ready to go. I went on a trail ride with a friend that had an OTTB, and she was complaining about how he was nearly jigging at the walk and chewing the bit. She had very light contact and soft hands, but I suggested to her that she just drop the contact. The horse relaxed immediately, dropped his head and went the rest of the way home ambling like an old trail horse. The rider was surprised that such a little change made such a big difference! Something to consider.
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Old 05-11-2012, 05:46 AM  
Halter broke
 
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He still received grain while recovering because he needs weight. On the ground he is quiet and respectful and just follows like a puppy even after stall rest he was antsy but listened and didnt yank or pull. But put the tack on and it's a different horse. He doesn't buck or rear or run or carry on he is just tense and ready to go. I always ride with a relaxed rein for the first lap or 2 or until they are relaxed but he still has his tense moments even after I get him to relax. He was chomping the bit for the first couple minutes of the ride then stopped but you could tell he never fully relaxed. He last raced in march and after the chip was retired to a TB rescue in the area where he got some down time and recovery. Sunday will be three weeks since I picked him up.
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Old 05-11-2012, 09:23 AM  
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First, I would switch him to cool calories for the weight and get rid of the grain (hot calories)
Cool calories are not associated with either behavior changes or any metabolic issues
Then,under saddle go right back to slow work that concentrates on basic body control.OTTBs run on the bit, and know not much far as legs or collection.
Thus, you have top go back to putting these basics on him, and don't hang on his mouth to slow him, as that is how they are taught to run (on the bit)
Instead, when he gets 'hot', change directions, make him use himself with legs-release when he is moving at the speed you want, so that he learns that when he is going correctly, at the speed you wish, you in turn will give him that rein release
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Old 05-11-2012, 11:15 AM  
Halter broke
 
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Cool calories? Like the supplement or something else? Right now he gets 1 scoop omelene 400 twice a day with really good grassy 3rd cutting orchard hay in front of him all the time when he is stalled otherwise he is on a really nice big (5+ acres) green field. He has been steadily putting weight on with that.

I was doing circles with him to try and get him to relax and bend. Worked a little but I didnt do it to long cause he is just coming back from knee injury. don't want to push him to hard right now. I'll try some of the tips next ride and see if it helps. Thanks!
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Old 05-11-2012, 01:01 PM  
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Cool calories are fed in the form of fats (flax, canola oil ), and hot calories (NSC ) come from grains, also from forage, depending on type, but in the same high amount as in grains. NSC are sugar and starches.
THus, for a horse that is 'hot, or has a metabolic problem (not in your case), if you need to add more energy or weight than the forage alone provides, one can feed cool calories. Flax as a top dressing or canola oil added to some soaked beet pulp
Cool calories are not associated with behavior changes (ie sugar high ), nor with metabolic issues in susceptable horses
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Old 08-06-2012, 10:28 AM  
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My horse used to do that and I was told to drop contact and let her trot around fast-ish. It only took a week or so and she was much better. She will relax immediately when I relax. Make sure you are relaxed in the saddle as well because he wont relax until you do. Try lunging him before hand also (if he does lunge). It might get some of the energy out of him so he is able to relax. He might have so much energy that he cant relax. If a horse has a lot of energy like that, they act totally different because they have more then they know what to do with. Good luck!

Last edited by jsykes : 08-06-2012 at 10:33 AM.
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Old 08-06-2012, 12:23 PM  
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If our horses are antsy under saddle we lunge them first until they seem to relax and cool down. Sometimes the exercise helps to clear their head and calm them down. I know how TBs can be though so that might not help in this situation. You could try lunging under saddle for 10 minutes or so before riding until he's more calm.

I just know that I work with appaloosas and during the winter they rarely get turned out because of how rainy it is so we have to lunge them before every ride (otherwise we'll have a huge burst of energy).
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Old 08-07-2012, 05:39 AM  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PolarOutlaw View Post
Hey! I recently purchased a 2008 Smarty Jones son as a training project for hunter/jumper and maybe a little gaming for fun. He has been doing well and behaving for the most part (he is your typically young TB, nippy and occasional pushing but much better than recent horses that i've had) I have ridden him twice since i got him because he had been recovering from a knee chip. He is all healed up but since he had to sit and be on some stall rest he gets a little antsy under saddle. Other than just lots of walking and talking what else can i do to get him to relax. Once he relaxs he rounds and everything (which surprised me) but he has trouble relaxing and staying relaxed. Bindi also has this problem but hers if more because she is always ready to run barrels. Even just seeing a barrel can get her going when she is under saddle. She loves it a little to much sometimes.
First, make certain you are relaxed.

I hope you are using a snaffle bit so you have subtle and individual communication with each rein. Initial walking on a loose rein is good. When you begin work, use minimal contact both with reins and legs.

Don't just circle, change direction often to keep him busy and not thinking about what may be making him nervous. If he speeds up from nervousness, slow him with half-halts not steady rein pressure. Resist -- don't pull -- with the reins. Then, release before he has a chance to use the resistance to lean on the bit.

Test to see if you can get him to carry more weight on his rear without getting him excited. Do this by using half-halts with some leg pressure and hip tucking.

These are general suggestions. It is important to pay attention to the individual horse and let him tell you what you need to do. Try to determine what excites him and what gets him to relax. Start with this. Then, slowly move toward getting him to work according to your directions. Praise him verbally and, if possible, with stroking when he does relax.
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Old 08-07-2012, 05:59 AM  
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It is typical for OTTBs to be a little tense when restarting. I would just try to keep everything low key and quiet while tacking up maybe a little pre and post ride massage. Lots of times it's good just to hack around on a loose rein. Just remember to breathe so you can stay as loose as possible. At some point you will hear him sigh and that's you sign he's relaxing.
When he's able to be worked a bit more he might also be the type that needs warm-up for his body and brain before he really starts relaxing. At the stage he's in right now coming off the track and into a different atmosphere he really doesn't know what to expect.
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Old 08-08-2012, 05:39 AM  
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Originally Posted by lbequ4002 View Post
It is typical for OTTBs to be a little tense when restarting. I would just try to keep everything low key and quiet while tacking up maybe a little pre and post ride massage. Lots of times it's good just to hack around on a loose rein. Just remember to breathe so you can stay as loose as possible. At some point you will hear him sigh and that's you sign he's relaxing.
When he's able to be worked a bit more he might also be the type that needs warm-up for his body and brain before he really starts relaxing. At the stage he's in right now coming off the track and into a different atmosphere he really doesn't know what to expect.
Good point. So often we get focused on performance and forget about relationship. If you think about it, we are much more relaxed working with people in more stressful situations if we have become comfortable with them in less stressful situations. It is very helpful to use the time before and after a "class" to develop a relationship with a horse.
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Old 08-10-2012, 11:10 AM  
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RFD TV had a Clinton Anderson series that rehabbed an OTTB.
I only saw the last 2 episodes, but he did some great work
with this horse. Maybe see if it is available on-line to view?
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