Can't stop!!

laura_nash

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17 July 2008
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I've had my horse five years, always kept at the same yard. The hacking there was fairly limited, mostly on quiet roads with just a bit of off-road riding, when we (occasionally) cantered off road had to be on the look out for stock, dog walkers etc. He's a HW traditional cob with a low-set neck, but has always had a surprisingly light mouth, ridden in a "revolver" lozenge snaffle with no martingale / noseband etc. On the odd occasion when he got strong (shooting forwards when frightened etc) a quick upwards tug on one rein always stopped him immediately. He's reasonably well-schooled but does still struggle sometimes with balance in canter in the school. He's usually very responsive to the voice (I loose school him and can stop him from canter on voice aids in the school, not canter to halt but via about 5 strides of trot).

I've just moved him to a new yard which is on a farm and we can ride anywhere (40 acres to play with, yay!). There is a lovely field, uphill with a smooth grass surface, where we have been going to have a proper blast. He is always well-behaved at the start, but at the other end I can't stop.

Twice now we have literally run into the fence / gate at the top, he was slowing down a lot at that point but there was definately contact between head and fence. I can't turn him as there is a steep slope to the right at the top (and another fence to the left). I'm not sure what to do, whether this is just over-excitement at finally getting "released" and allowed to go at full speed (he is certainly excited afterwards!) and will improve once he gets more used to it, or whether I need to look at his tack or doing some specific schooling exercises. The only time so far that he actually listened to me and pulled up when asked we were with a VERY laid-back Cleveland Bay (ex petting / city farm horse), when on our own or with more excitable horses he is apparently oblivious to the rein or voice commands. HELP!
 

dianchi

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26 February 2007
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Herts
Sounds like a happy excited pony!
I would pop on a noseband and perhaps a stronger bit till he has learnt some respect again, would also walk where you have been galloping to stop the association of this is where we gallop.
 

be positive

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9 July 2011
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I find it odd that he will hit the gate with his head rather than slow down and stop when asked, do you ever trot or walk there or always gallop? I would use it as a place to school him, mix up what you ask for so he really listens and only start to let him gallop once you are back in control of the situation, it is most likely he is just running on adrenaline and over excited so switching off to anything you are able to do on top, spending time getting him listening will be worthwhile.
 

laura_nash

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17 July 2008
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1,614
Location
Ireland
I find it odd that he will hit the gate with his head rather than slow down and stop when asked, do you ever trot or walk there or always gallop?
I was really surprised too the first time as I assumed he would stop in time when faced with the actual fence (luckily jumping it is not an option for him).

He will walk and trot along there okay (I can feel that he is excited but he controls himself) - yes "switched off" is exactly how it feels, like he has forgotten I am there at all. I guess I need to try and mix it up a bit in trot / controlled canter / faster canter etc.? That may be exciting, the first time I cantered him in a (different) field after we moved he bucked his way right across the field (just excitement, I never felt like he was trying to get me off).
 

Abby-Lou

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26 September 2013
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603
Have you tried the one rein stop technique ? basically both hands one rein and swift action around to your knee cap, its brings there back end around so they can't continue. I used to ride a horse which bolted and I just couldn't stop him to the point where I was considering bailing out for my own safety. It worked a treat for me but its def something you need to practice in a small field or arena so you get used to it yourself. You may get comments stating they will fall over, but i've never had this happen, its like pressing a brake and probably one of the best things I have learnt.
 
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