Reply To: explaining that a show ring is not a race track

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Joe-Joe –

I have an arab cross that I ride Western and I am almost 50. Same issues. He LOVES to go fast. What I have done with him…….and I have to repeat this training every once in a while… find something he doesn’t like to do. For him, it’s backing. I did a lot of ground work with him walking beside me and as soon as he speed up – even to a faster walk – he got backed up at LEAST 10 steps if not further. That continued until he would walk beside be calmly. He had to learn that what was “easy” was walking along with me and not speeding up. Then, I moved to the round pen with a similar exercise. I would ONLY walk in the round pen and if he even sped up his walk then we stopped and backed up….recomposed ourselves….and started again. NO faster gait then a steady walk until he would stay at the speed without speeding up. Only then did we work up to a trot. If he tried to break into a lope he was brought back down to a stop….and a backup…immediately. No waiting. It had to be apparent to him that the increase in speed was the precipitating factor for the backup.
It takes time……….and we have to do reinforcing lessons every once in a while……but it has produced a much calmer, confident horse and is more enjoyable for me.