Strong horse won't stop running?

So my horse has a few problems I can’t seem to stop! First off he doesn’t respect me through flying lead changes… he usually gets them but he just runs and runs and runs. Secondly he often pulls me down after jumps! Right now he is in an elevator bit but I was wondering if there was another bit or something else that could maybe help me with my problem. ( side note: he has some other problems too that I can’t seem to work out but these are the main ones thanks for any help)

A bit is very unlikely to solve the problems described. You have either a pain issue, a fitness issue, or a training issue (or some combination thereof).

What does your trainer say?


What Cascades said. You need a trainer to help you!

It sounds as though he has a major holes in his basic training.

I also suspect that these holes are beyond your ability to handle alone.


This. Either…

A. He hurts, hocks being a prime suspect (they don’t limp if both are suffering arthritic changes)or back hurts (saddle fit or physical issue).

B. He does not know what he is supposed to do because nobody taught him properly.

C. He does know what he’s supposed to do but doesn’t think he has to due to inconsistent training and riding.

D. Rider issues.

E. Any combination of the above or all if them.

Until you figure out WHY he’s running thru changes and fix that, you’ll just need to keep getting bigger bits, he’s not going to stop the behavior. There isn’t much past that elevator bit anyway, you are almost out of available hardware.

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Diddo what was mentioned above.

I would make sure he is not in pain - check saddle fit

Next I would go back to basics with this horse. Walking and trotting, lots of downward transitions between the walk and trot. He needs to become soft and supple at the walk and trot and through the transitions. Add in trotting poles and walk poles. Trots 20 meter and 15 meter circles get him bending and flexing and softening his jaw and body.

Once you achieve this - ask for a canter - canter a few strides then transition down to the trot and so on and so forth. repeat this. do circles.

I would not ask for any flying changes until the horse is A: doing simple changes quietly B: Has a collected and balanced canter.

It sounds like when you ask for the flying change you could be rushing him and running him into the change instead of balancing him.

Once you start jumping again - I would keep the jumps small verticals or crossrails. Set up trot poles before and after the jump - consult your trainer or a knowledgeable friend to help you set up the safe distances. this will give your horse something to focus on after and before the jump than trying to run. Practice halting after your jumps. Trot in and canter out if he remains quiet.

Keep your posting soft and quiet. Train your horse to half halts.


Thanks everyone! Also would like to put out there that his back of his leg by the cannon bone seems sensitive? Especially when putting on boots could that have something to do with it?

What does your trainer say?

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Sensitivity on the back of one leg has nothing to do with running through lead changes. It could have to do with how tight you are putting the boot on, what material the boot is made of and cleanliness. what does your trainer say?

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Boots aren’t too tight and material Is fine, I asked both my trainer and other well knowledge professionals… my problems is that I have worked on his walk trot and canter all individually along with simple changes and as soon as it seems he has mastered all of it perfectly he will run if I ask for a flying… not sure what steps back i Gould take because every time I take a step back to work on walk, trot or canter he feels amazing

As for what my trainer says about changes… he tells me to just take him across the diagonal or do it on a figure 8 circles and now touch him with leg or rein and see if he figures it out naturally… I have tried this and over poles he is usually okay but even when I stay very relaxed through my hands he still just runs away… we have checked the saddle and there hasn’t been any problems with that or his back so not sure what else it could be

Perhaps investigate an instructor who can better explain and teach. Not all great riders are particularly good teachers. Sounds like you need some in person help with your changes. How are your half halts and leg yields and simple lateral moves like displacing the haunch? Mastering these usually helps with getting a good lead change, which there’s no real " cue" for. You do a slight half halt, shift your weight outside and push off the inside leg to create a change. You change the bend to change the lead.

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He is sensitive on the back of one leg? What does that really mean? Is there swelling? Is he sound? Has a vet looked at him for soft tissue injury?

If he is sound/not injured, It sounds like your horse needs work on being balanced and forward. Running is a sign of pain, disobedience or lack of strength/training. It’s up to you to figure out which is correct.

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Hrmmm…IME, there is a “cue” for lead changes and it has little to do with shifting your weight…or at least it shouldn’t. Lead changes come from the new outside leg. The rest is all prep.

All depends on how the horse is trained, right? Dressage horses change off the inside leg… Polo ponies change off a weighted hip… And so on…

Thanks for all the help everyone much appreciated
( by the way: no lameness issues or swelling or heat of any kind with his leg, may still get it checked out again because it wouldn’t hurt)

A couple of years ago, George Morris spent a good amount of time during the Horsemastership Clinic getting the riders to cue for changes with their inside leg.

When a rider shifts their outside leg back, closing the inside leg, that instigates a weight change. It is not a flopping of the body from side to side, as I have seen riders do:eek:, but a subtle change, with a simultaneous subtle imperceptible flexion change.

It’s very hard to give simple answers to seemingly simple questions that actually require explaining multiple training steps that must be mastered before putting them together to produce a clean lead change at the desired location. Its even harder in text over the Internet.

Horses are born with a lead change anyway, we screw it when we get on and try to micro manage it.

Is OP paying for a lesson when the trainer tells her to go do figure eights? Or asking for free advice? How often does she take a lesson and does the horse run through the changes when the trainer rides it?

Oh, is horse getting the change at all before he runs? Getting one end? Not changing at all? Problem might be no brakes, not straight and laying on the forehand more then changing leads.

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This. We, are riders, make changes WAY more complicated than they need to be.

OP, it does sound like you need help from someone who is capable of assessing the problem and better explaining to you the process of lead changes. How experienced is your trainer? How often do you take lessons? Does he/she ride your horse regularly?

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