Reply To: Unpredictable– Struggling to Trust My Horse!

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I’ve worked with some buck and bolters ๐Ÿ™‚ three things that always help are: groundwork,one reign stops, and a good gallop. For ground work my favorite is free lounging not necessarily round penning but giving them time to play and buck before you get on. It also gives you time to establish communication in a way that tension cannot cary from your body to his. I guess what it could be called is basic liberty work. The one reign stops are more for me than the horse. It gives me confidence that I have established that “yes I can stop this horse any time I want to”. You do have to be careful of the footing though. Wet grass, mud, or any slanted surface combined with fast sharp turns can bring a horse down. On good footing its the best fastest way to get get your point across. On less ideal footing turning on a bigger circle spiraling inward will bring you safely to a stop. Really what this does is changes the horses balance. With a very sharp fast turn you actually put the horse off balance and they don’t like that. After a few times of spooking, bucking, bolting, or what have you and immediately being put off balance they decide that that isn’t what they want to do. The bigger circle does a similar thing but slowly so it gradually shifts their balance back and slows them down. This works especially well with an ottb because Whoa is not introduced into their vocabulary in early training and to some of them pressure on the reins can actually mean faster. So having the aid come from one reign is completely new and over time you can add more supporting outside reign and develop a really nice downward transition. Once you have these two down the good gallop is just plain and simple fun for both of you. A thoroughbred is an athlete through and through and they love to go, if you can find a nice long uphill all the better. I try to take my ottb mare out and let her run for the 3-5 miles uphill depending on how far we go that day ๐Ÿ™‚ This worked for me with my older horse of six years. The first year I was afraid to trail ride because she would take off. Now I trust her more than any being on the planet. I find that the challenging horses are always the most rewarding. I hope these suggestions help and that you are able to have much success.