HELP! How do I slow down my horse?

How do I slow down my horse without compromising good riding?

Scenario: Super forward fast fast horse has no real brakes, in a round pen understands verbal cues, under saddle does not. Found out that he has some back soreness issues due to bad riding from a handsy and unbalanced and pretty aggressive rider. However he also had some anxiety prior to all this, so the cycle of anxiety, pain and improper riding worsened the situation. Horse has been going like this for years. He’s with now, giving him time off, some massage therapy etc. Planning on chiro and acupuncture next.

But for the future, how do I get a forward horse to lift his back and go forward correctly? Getting a horse to lift his back requires some leg… so what can I work on to help him lift his back versus him running off faster and faster due to leg pressure. Assuming once his pain issues go away and he’s still super forward. Any advice is much appreciated!!

here’s one opinion:

you are going to have to take him back to the beginning. you can’t re-start him, but you can back up a long ways.

that means ground work, then reintroduction to the saddle, then reintroduction to the rider.

this is not going to be easy, from what you describe. have you considered getting a different horse?

Horses can’t lift their back and “go forward correctly” from the get-go. It requires strength, fitness, and lots of repetitious training. It sounds like the pain issues are going to need some rehab. Start there. I agree with the above, go back to basic ground work. Only then move on to long walks. If you can’t control the horse or yourself at the trot and canter, don’t do them. Just walk. And stop. Practice those two things until you are both bored of them and the horse is more fit. Then add a little trotting. But don’t stop reinforcing the halts.

Are you working with a trainer? What is their suggestion?

A lot of forward is due to muscle development and the horse not knowing how to carry themselves correctly for a slower ride. Once his muscle structure develops, he will be able to slow down.

I had a similar problem with my horse and I just learned to ride the bicycle like leaking turns at the canter for a while while we worked on his muscles. Get some lessons with a trainer and take a heaping dose of patience. It gets better but it will take time. Maybe more since he has bad riding before and may be reluctant to use himself in fear of pain.

What everyone has said. Build strength and muscle. Good dressage fundamentals, including lateral work at the walk, which will teach him to move off the single leg and get his legs under his body. Horse needs to be able to carry himself, not necessarily in super-collected dressage work. But needs to be able to get his hind end engaged as he approaches jumps.

Rushing as you describe it is about being off-balance under saddle. It’s like a child running down hill: once you get going, it is easier to run faster and faster than to stop and balance yourself.

I am going to guess that this is a former OTTB that was rushed into riding? Took his racehorse speediness and inverted “track” way of moving into the jump ring, didn’t get a good foundation of flat work, and then his speed became more and more of a liability, rider started reefing on his face, etc.?

I would put the horse in training with an experienced trainer and then take lessons on the horse when the trainer thinks the horse is ready for you.

Why did you buy this horse with all these problems?

[QUOTE=aliceo;8678350]here’s one opinion:

you are going to have to take him back to the beginning. you can’t re-start him, but you can back up a long ways.

that means ground work, then reintroduction to the saddle, then reintroduction to the rider.

this is not going to be easy, from what you describe. have you considered getting a different horse?[/QUOTE]

*long story short, bought him with another lady, in hindsight (BAD IDEA and lets not even go there) he has been in training for a year other lady jumped and rode him more but once his back got ruined she pretty much dumped him and said she didn’t wanna spend anymore money on him. I decided to keep him because I don’t believe in dumping animals when they don’t work out for you. And Im not competitive rider at all. Im a pharmacist and too busy to take several lessons and week to show. I just enjoy having a horse.

[QUOTE=Foxglove6;8678511]Horses can’t lift their back and “go forward correctly” from the get-go. It requires strength, fitness, and lots of repetitious training. It sounds like the pain issues are going to need some rehab. Start there. I agree with the above, go back to basic ground work. Only then move on to long walks. If you can’t control the horse or yourself at the trot and canter, don’t do them. Just walk. And stop. Practice those two things until you are both bored of them and the horse is more fit. Then add a little trotting. But don’t stop reinforcing the halts.

Are you working with a trainer? What is their suggestion?[/QUOTE]

Thank you thats helpful info, thats what I thought I just need to give him time and continue ground work and strengthening. Im not working with a trainer right now. Hopefully it’ll all come together. He’s a special case as he’s not what you expect, he can be bareback trail ridden, halter ridden around property but once you enter the arena its a different horse. Time will heal.

[QUOTE=enjoytheride;8679275]I would put the horse in training with an experienced trainer and then take lessons on the horse when the trainer thinks the horse is ready for you.

Why did you buy this horse with all these problems?[/QUOTE]

I bought this horse with recommendation from my trainer actually. And I have already done all that you suggested above. :slight_smile:

[QUOTE=Scribbler;8678904]What everyone has said. Build strength and muscle. Good dressage fundamentals, including lateral work at the walk, which will teach him to move off the single leg and get his legs under his body. Horse needs to be able to carry himself, not necessarily in super-collected dressage work. But needs to be able to get his hind end engaged as he approaches jumps.

Rushing as you describe it is about being off-balance under saddle. It’s like a child running down hill: once you get going, it is easier to run faster and faster than to stop and balance yourself.

I am going to guess that this is a former OTTB that was rushed into riding? Took his racehorse speediness and inverted “track” way of moving into the jump ring, didn’t get a good foundation of flat work, and then his speed became more and more of a liability, rider started reefing on his face, etc.?[/QUOTE]

Exactly! You got it all right. He’s 15 and when I got him he a year ago he was a green, after getting him and doing more research found out he went from home to home to home but I do think his brain was fried at one point because he gets a lot of anxiety in the ring. All the jumping training he did the past year without the proper groundwork didn’t do him well.

^This.

My mare used to have only one trot speed: fast. The cure for her was to always ride her properly bent on a circle. No more staying on the arena rail, especially along the long sides. We’d work the whole arena, constantly circling and changing direction, lots of serpentines and loops combined with lots of transitions from walk to trot, back to walk, halt to trot and so on, and changes within the gait. It was hard work, but over time she got stronger. It helped with her balance and got her working over her motor instead of rushing in front of it.