Any bridleless or barrel racers in the house?

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by IcarusSomnio, Jul 27, 2010.

  1. IcarusSomnio

    IcarusSomnio Songster

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    Apr 27, 2010
    Vernon County, MO
    Two questions for two different horses! [​IMG]


    1. Bareback and brideless?
    I recently bought a four year old, grade, QH mare. Broke to ride, very gentle, a previous rescue. Thing is...I can't get her to go faster than a walk. I can ride her stirrup and rein-less...completely off leg cues. She just won't go any faster than 'mosey 'long the pasture'. She honestly seems to prefer just walking around, enjoying the day, then actually...moving.

    It's not like she's not CAPABLE. She's very energetic and healthy out in the pasture. All the tack fits right, no health issues...just won't go. She acted more excitable at the sellers place.

    Which is why I'm thinking bareback and bridleless, perhaps something in her past makes her go into robot-mode when the saddle goes on? I'd like to give her a chance to be a horse before resorting to crops or spurs (GENTLE spurs, no rock-grinding idiot spurs!) Anyone have any advice on how to transition her from tack to no tack? I'm thinking just removing the saddle, working on leg cues and seat first. Try to use the reins as little as possible kinda deal before advancing to 'totally tackless'

    Rides in: Western saddle with breast collar, back strap (NOT cinched tight, some idiot tried to do that today, she was not happy), and regular blanket. Nice snaffle with copper in the mouthpiece, a thicker but not too thick bit.

    2. Turns on a dime, huge motor, won't tire out
    I also have a 15 year old TWH cross gelding. Also broke, very docile (falling asleep) on the ground, and a previous rescue.
    Unlike said mare, he likes to go...and go...and go. And go. This horse doesn't walk, under saddle his minimum preferred gait is moderate speed running walk. His REALLY preferred gait is a hold-on-to-your-britches-we're-movin'-out FAST running walk. He's the Energizer Bunny of my horses.
    I worked just on going forward across the pasture, then doing a random lead change (left or right) spinning him around (he doesn't turn, he spins on leg and neck cues), and going back the way we came. I did this for half an hour before I finally said "I gotta get off before this horse kills himself".
    I made the mistake of giving him a cluck without preparing myself first, I was in an easy mosey-down-the-trail seat, as little contact as possible. I nearly fell off the back of the horse! It was like going from 0-60 in half a second! He just sort of LAUNCHED into a faster gait.

    He WANTS to go, he's READY to go, and he's got a lotta power sitting behind all of that. I was thinking about giving him a job, say, barrels or poles. Not a really flat-out-gallop job, but something to keep his feet moving instead of going back and forth till' the sun goes down.

    Ideas or suggestions on this? Games perhaps? He's a gentleman on the ground, and a Ferrari under saddle.
    Rides in: Western saddle with breast collar, backstrap, and blanket. Rides in a halter with attached reins and lead tied in a half-hitch under the chin. Wanting to get a bosal or good hackamore soon to work him better in.
     

  2. babyblue

    babyblue Songster

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    Sep 23, 2009
    first horse I suspect something is wrong with the tack that you cant see or she has a back/leg/joint problem that you also cant see. she may just be a really pleasant horse and wont throw you but wont walk any faster because of pain. I have seen saddles spring pins or even have broken trees that were not visible until torn apart. it could be a training issue, but I would have her vetted first and try a different saddle on by a very experienced person first.

    second horse its a training issue. he’s not totally broke and ridding him in only a halter lets him get away with way too much. either an experienced trainer or many lessons with you ridding and experienced trainer are the only things that will help. going to a hackamore without training and he will only learn to blow threw that. that starts the going to heavier and heavier bits after that. he needs a solid foundation first. One of my friend Morgan’s is exactly like this…go go go go GO NOW! However he is trained to under stand that nobody goes until the rider says so. And when the rider says stop or slow down you have better do it instantly.
     
  3. IcarusSomnio

    IcarusSomnio Songster

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    Apr 27, 2010
    Vernon County, MO
    Quote:As for the mare, I've checked EVERYTHING on my tack, including trying completely different saddles and bridles. Same results no matter what I do. She's 100% sound and healthy, trots, canters, and gallops (she likes racing Sammy) in the pasture. On the lunge line she's perfect.
    I was considering the possibility that she's not comfortable moving quicker through the tall grass. I'm getting the pastures brush hogged down this week, so I will be trying again. Right now you have to mainly stick to the 'trails' going through the pasture because of the high grasses.
    Or maybe my seats wrong? I do my best to stay light and easy. I'll have to get some good video and take a look, the problem might just be me! [​IMG]


    With my gelding, he refuses, and I do mean refuses, to ride in a bit. I tried before and he threw a massive fit trying to avoid it when I asked him to move out (quietly!) into the pasture. That was in my nice n' easy snaffle bit and his teeth were fine. He just responds better to the hackamore. Or, what I'd prefer going back to early training, a bosal. Until then he rides in a halter. I don't necessarily use it much as he whoa's with vocal and seat command, and turns on leg and neck reining cues.

    I'm not a fan of harsh or heavy bits, I like my bitless or my nice little snaffle, and both can be extremely harsh in the wrong hands. I had a guy tell me that, quote unquote, "You need to use this great bit of mine! The horse listens INSTANTLY!"
    It was a TINY twisted wire snaffle. I said "How 'bout not?"

    He IS a rescued horse. Body score of 1.5 when I brought him home. I have no idea what kind of history or training he had before me, other than he IS trained. He could have been a barrel horse, taught to GO GO GO GO for all I know. [​IMG] He doesn't spook (passed my dreaded 'spook test), he catches, leads, bathes, stands for the farrier, loads n' trailers, lunges, picks up all feet, tacks up, and moves out. Works off leg cues and neck reins. Has a beautifully smooth gait.

    The guy I bought him from told me "Yeah! I ridden him MILES without getting saddle sore at all!" that was BEFORE he was rehabbed, the guy weighed a good 250! No clue what kind of bit he rode him in.

    I MIGHT try again with the snaffle after he gets his teeth checked again for the year. But if he doesn't like it, I'm not going to push it.
     
  4. High Roost Ranch

    High Roost Ranch The Chicken Whisperer

    The mare may just have been one of those horses used constantly on a walking trail. It could be the owner never asked her to run. Take the breast collar off of her (there's a very slim chance this could be a deterrent to her wanting to move out), and just keep asking her for a faster pace in a straight away. You may have to use a little training aid initially (light spur encouragement) to get her to realize you are asking for more than a walk, along with a cluck or a slight tap with a crop. Once you get her comfortable moving out on a straight away, you can start asking her to trot and lope large circles for you. You can also if you have access to a round pen, and if she'll work a round pen at a gallop, have a rider on her when you're working her in the round pen. She may not know that she's allowed to gallop with a rider on. I've seen a few horses like that that others have owned. They could kick until they were blue in the face and the horse would not move any faster than a walk, most of it being sour from poor handling and/or training. She needs to go back to the basics after you've ruled out any medical reason for her not wanting to move out at more than a walk under saddle.

    On the gelding, the first thing I would do is check his mouth, he may have wolf teeth that are aggravated by a bit. They'll need to be removed if that's the case. If it's not a wolf tooth issue, then I would put him in an o-ring snaffle bit or a rubber mullen mouth (shankLESS!) for a few hours for a few days just to wear to get acquainted with a bit again. Make sure it's a small pen that's safe from things he can catch his head gear on, don't just turn him out to pasture with one on and do keep an eye on him through out the day. I like using just a simple headstall with no throat latch, brow band or ear piece. I'd rather have them slip it off over their head than get caught up on something and get hung or their mouth injured. Use a leather headstall that will break should they hang up, not a nylon one. Let him eat with it, drink with it, wear it for a day. After a few days of wearing the bit and getting reacquainted with the feel of it in his mouth, ask him while you are standing on the ground to bend and give with very LIGHT rein pressure, working your hands over his back as if you were sitting on him. As SOON as he responds to your request, release the rein and praise him. Repeat this until he is responding right away to light rein pressure while you're on the ground, both turning his head to the left, to the right and backing. Once that's accomplished, get on his back and do the same routine, all at a walk and keeping him responsive. This horse is best worked in a round pen where you can keep his attention on you, and not thinking he can run, run, run. He too needs to go back to the basics. It could be someone really did him wrong and worked him over through his mouth with a bit, and did nothing but run him more than ever really rode him. As far as making a barrel or speed event horse out of him, I don't believe right now that his mind would hold up. He'd be way to hot and that's a disaster waiting to happen. Take him back to basic training, get control over him where he's listening to you and not thinking about anything but running, teach him to work in circles listening to leg cues, and working off the rein-not just roll backs, and then maybe he may be able to be worked slowly into a barrel horse in a year or so.
     
  5. Campine Lover

    Campine Lover Songster

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    Moss Beach, CA
    My quarter horse (see avatar) was trained in western cow roping, but he's now English now that we have him. Want to know why his western family didn't want him anymore? He's scared of cows. [​IMG]
     

  6. michickenwrangler

    michickenwrangler To Finish Is To Win

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    I agree with High Roost, speed events do not sound good for this horse. A speed horse *should* be very obedient, responsive, able to do lead changes to a shift in weight and halt when asked. The idiots around here just gallop horses in, yank them through the course and yank them to a halt. As a result, these horses cannot do anything other than speed events and most people have a separate horse for trail riding. Keep in mind these are Michigan speed people I'm talking about. Those in western states are far superior.

    Also, TWHs usually don't have the lateral flex and short legs needed to physically get through speed events. They tend to be long-legged and long-bodied and the best speed horses are short backed and short-legged.

    Honestly, it sounds like your TWH needs training from scratch. He needs to be able to walk--a regular dog walk--when asked and give to the bit.

    Again agree with High Roost that a 4 yr old is still young and may not have been asked to do a whole lot. QHs are usually broke when they're 2 but I don't know the mare's background. Still, I would have the vet come out and maybe have a trainer evaluate her. If she is frisky out in the pasture and only walks under saddle, it may be due to a back issue.
     
  7. michickenwrangler

    michickenwrangler To Finish Is To Win

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    Quote:My horse is sired by a U.S. Reserve Nat'l Champion and Canadian Nat'l Champion in Saddleseat-Park who stands 15.2hh, her dam is a 16hh foundation-bred Saddlebred mare, the reason they sold my horse: she's only 14.2hh with a short neck and short legs and can't trot high to save her life.

    She does like cows though.
     
  8. High Roost Ranch

    High Roost Ranch The Chicken Whisperer

    Quote:All my barrel and speed event horses also did other events. They would calmly walk into an arena or up to a gate, and would stand there until I gathered them up for their run. They'd also walk out after completing a run. Almost every horse I had was an all around horse, they would run barrels, poles, speed events, team and breakaway rope, hunter over fences, rail classes and trail ride. While they may not have won all the classes, they were competitive or respectable, and it was done to keep them fresh and eager. They weren't hauled for seasoning as a barrel horse until they were willing and able work several other disciplines. Most of the time, they all ran in a simple o-ring snaffle. I've taken several horses to the national level over the years, and won all around on so many different occasions I've lost track over the years.

    This gelding of yours needs to do slow work before he ever needs to see something that's going to make him run hard. The fact that he's hot doesn't mean he'll make a barrel horse, it means he needs to go back to the basics of training. Same with the mare, although she's at the opposite end of not wanting to move out under saddle.

    Good luck with them. Patience and understanding, and basics should work for you in both cases.
     
  9. IcarusSomnio

    IcarusSomnio Songster

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    Vernon County, MO
    Quote:How should I go about starting him out from scratch? He's really 100% calm, obedient, and docile on the ground, he pretty much falls asleep walking. It's just under saddle, with someone on him, off the lead rope, that he gets 'GOTTA GO GOTTA GO'. He usually acts up when asked to move out, tries to go straight back to the gate.
    I figured I might as well work him around a barrel or pole pattern instead of just going back and forth or in circles. Not actually taking him into the ring as a speed horse! I was thinking a job (barrel or pole pattern) to encourage him to just relax, kind of a 'We're not doing anything terribly exciting, you can calm down now' message. I used to work my Foxtrotter, Loki, around a barrel/cloverleaf pattern to get him back in the gist of riding. Just something that keeps his feet moving, and doesn't encourage him to rush rush rush.


    Jeez, I have this guy up for sale and people keep e-mailing me: "IS HE OKAY FOR KIDS?"
    Do these people not read the ad and just look at the price of the horse? NO, he is NOT okay for children riding alone! STOP ASKING ME. It's not going to change one e-mail from the next! [​IMG] He needs an intermediate rider at the least.



    I'll see if I can talk my dad into lunging my filly while I'm in the saddle, perhaps it will work! I talked to her previous owner (she never rode her) and she was baffled when I told her she won't work at anything faster than a walk.

    If nothing else, I figure she'd make for a good 'plod-along-the-trail' horse for my extremely green friends. Or at least a easy going trail-show horse [​IMG]
     

  10. michickenwrangler

    michickenwrangler To Finish Is To Win

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    Practice walking, halting and giving to the bridle. Walk him nice and easy, keep your seat and hands relaxed. Ask for a halt by closing your fingers and pushing him into your hands. His head should drop. Reward him by relaxing your fingers and shoulders. Repeat at intervals. It won't happen in just one session, but it shouldn't take terribly long.

    Hope this helps.
     

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