Ex racer bolts on hacks

hroes

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I recently started riding an ex race horse, he has been off the track 4 years now however was never re-schooled properly and the last girl who rode him had no confidence so he was labeled as a 'bad horse'. When I first started riding him in was in a harsh bit, martingale, and flash but I took it all off he goes perfectly in just a french link egg butt snaffle. I took him out a few times and he rode fine but a few weeks ago I was cantering along a path and he wouldn't stop and just kept going faster which ended up with me falling off and in hospital! Obviously my panicking just made me more tense and I pulled more on the reins making him go faster, at that time I had no idea of any of his history and all the information I was told was incorrect so I had no idea what I was doing was causing him to go faster. Tried one rein stop and was leaning right back but he took a hold and lent on the bit so nothing like that worked. He's never bolted in the school he just used to spin, buck, and rear. I've been told to put him in a harsher bit and martingale next time I take him out but I think these things make him more anxious so I'm not sure what to do when I take him out and if he bolts again, any suggestions(bits, stopping techniques, training)? I was thinking taking him to a big field and working on slowing him down from canter in somewhere other than the school but with more room than the path we were on. Sorry for long post!
 

khalswitz

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I know that when I hack my ex-racer in a snaffle and go for a gallop, I can pull all I like and he wont stop. They are trained when galloping to balance on the snaffle, so the shorter reins and harder you pull, the faster they go. (This is my experience, a proper race trainer or jockey may enlighten you further on the training aspect of how it works!)

When stopping my ex racer, I sit up, use my seat, and lengthen my reins - keeping a contact but not 'pulling'. This to him means stop. There's no way I would do a one-rein stop at flat out gallop.

However, if he is actually proper panic bolting, and it's not just a communication issue or him getting strong, then I'm not the one to advise you - I ended up in hospital due to my old horse who was a chronic bolter, and found that once he had that instinct to bolt when panicked I couldn't train him past that. Sorted the bucking, but never the bolting.
 

Amymay

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So not a bolter, just a runaway. Nothing wrong with a martingale, but would agree a stronger bit wont make any difference. It's all about how you ride them.

You really want to get back on??
 

TandD

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do have a watch of jockeys at the end of races and see what they do to to slow the horse...... relax the leg muscles, no gripping with the knee, lenghten the rein, bum in saddle...... its all about giving the thought/feeling of 'slow down'.....you have to want to slow down!
 

hroes

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Thanks, I know they use the bit to balance so I'm thinking a he'd just take more hold on a harsher bit? I was thinking maybe lengthening my reins would slow him so I'll have to give it a try. One rein stop was the only thing I could think of I just knew I needed to stop, not that it helped at all. I don't think it was panic I think it was just my errors and it was probably the first time he gained speed like that since he 'retired' so he was probably loving it haha
 

hroes

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Yes, if thats what it would be called. I probably will put a martingale on for going out. Definitely was how I reacted though. Yess hes a great horse it wasn't his fault, hes very misunderstood but I love him he tries to hard to do what I ask of him, most of the time haha
 

hroes

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Thanks, I have been watching a lot of racing to try and work out the difference. My reaction probably didn't help the thought of a calm slow down though hopefully I can solve that
 

Pigeon

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I agree with other poster, if you pull on the reins they tend to pull back.

Mine is an ex racer and we gallop a fair bit, about once every week or two, with him it's no big deal though once he is in gallop it does take a while to stop him. I start asking him to stop a while before we need to just by loosening the reins and standing up with my weight back, if I sit down it seems to encourage him to go faster, he also responds well to the voice.

If I want to keep him at a canter I really need to make sure he stays at a slow canter, and be steadying him every step, one faster stride and he's gone!
 

khalswitz

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I agree with other poster, if you pull on the reins they tend to pull back.

Mine is an ex racer and we gallop a fair bit, about once every week or two, with him it's no big deal though once he is in gallop it does take a while to stop him. I start asking him to stop a while before we need to just by loosening the reins and standing up with my weight back, if I sit down it seems to encourage him to go faster, he also responds well to the voice.

If I want to keep him at a canter I really need to make sure he stays at a slow canter, and be steadying him every step, one faster stride and he's gone!
THIS. Voice works a treat. And you have to be firm about when you're cantering and when they can go. Plus give yourself plenty of slowdown room - mine seems to need further to slow down the fitter he gets!!

The first few times I took his galloping, I had permission to use a farmer's stubble field on the side of a hill. It gradually got steeper and steeper - perfect for helping me slow down. I also waited til it snowed - figured I'd have a soft landing if it went wrong. You just have to get to know them - but also don't endanger yourself!
 

Jaycee

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Yep definately loosening the reins is the way to go! Forgot the first time I took mine for a gallop, thought he was going pretty fast until I tried to slow down.......I did remember though just in time as there was a huge hedge looming towards us, he was a national hunt horse and would have taken it on! lol
 

Tnavas

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Something an old jockey friend told me - drop the reins and kick feet out of the stirrups, to a racehorse this means work has finished.

Try not to think of bits as being harsher - bits work in different ways to produce a result. A different bit may help in the meantime while you work on getting the horse to understand that he needs to slow down when asked.

I'd pop him in a pelham with roundings for hacking, along with a running martingale. If you stick with the snaffle then go for a standing martingale as a running changes the angle of action on a snaffle and can make it very harsh.
 

atlantis

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I didn't canter my old ex racer for a looooong time on hacks. I once took him on a sponsored ride, big mistake as he basically raced round lol. Once gone he was gone.

He eventually got better and better and I did manage to event him but he reverted to type at RAF Cranwell I think as it was so flat. Safe to say we were eliminated as we missed a few of the jumps lol.

Pick when you do canter, hills def helped and maybe school in a big field rather than just have a canter in a straight line. For a long time.

Maybe never gallop in company but maybe company might help as long as they can stop!! He might stop with them. You know him best.

One point, I was very young and oblivious to danger when riding this horse. He was amazing but if my mum had any clue about the falls I had from him she'd have never have let me get back on him!!!! Thankfully he never really hurt me but be aware I came off a lot. Wrapped round trees, dragged through thick mud, that kind of thing.
 

Auslander

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Something an old jockey friend told me - drop the reins and kick feet out of the stirrups, to a racehorse this means work has finished.
Not while still galloping!!! After pulling up yes, but the OP is having problems at speed, dropping reins and kicking feet out of stirrups while the horse is still flat out would be suicide!
 

melbiswas

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My daughter took our ex-racer to a local circular gallops. It was a Pony Club rally aimed at working out XC speeds and I was very worried about brakes. Our mare does not have a mouth and we ride in a NS lozenge bit ( prob got name wrong).
She switched into training mode and went at the speed she was asked; it was lovely to see her doing what she knew and my daughter got to know her a lot better. Had she not been able to pull up I reckoned she would probably just have gone round for several laps until she hit 8 furlongs which was Rosie's s distance!
Do you have any gallops like these near you? It was a safe way to work her out.
I think in our case it helped that the other ponies were slower and there was a hill on part of it making it easier to pull up / open up a bit if you wanted.
She does take a long time to pull up on a hack and this is a lot easier when I am with someone. In my parents' flat racing days they were sent up the gallops alongside in pairs.
 

putasocinit

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You have to become heavy by relaxing, then it is the cue to stop, but this is very hard if you are scared, so unless you can overcome this then best let him go elsewhere or just stay in arena or do not canter on a hack, not worth you or the horse getting hurt
 

Megibo

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Had my first 'canter' on my ex racer (new loan mare) up a bridleway recently. SO thankful it was uphill! Her owner was riding behind me and said 'lets canter!' click clicked and my horse went! Didn't have time to compose myself it was 0 to 60 in about 3 seconds and she pulls like a train. Nearing the top pretty quick so to stop I had to bridge, get right back on the saddle and sit like a sack of s..t. ..
It worked!

I turned around expecting my boss and her horse to be behind me but apparently we left them standing lol, was at least a minute before they appeared at the top!
 

pippixox

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i would definitely look into physical causes: when i first had my boy, he was mostly perfect, despite only 3 months retraining when i got him. but he did then start bolting, only a few times: but it turns out he did have a bad back. had him 7 years now, and he has never bolted again.
agree with what a lot of people have said, it's about body weight, force yourself to sit back as much as possible and relax, make yourself heavy. also find a good hill if possible and allow lots of time to stop. in time though, they should learn reign aids, i still use my body weight, like with any horse really, but he has learned to listen to half halts to steady.
also i agree with voice- i taught him on the lunge to work to voice, so do the same when needed hacking- wooow when he needs reminding to slow!
sounds like an unfortunate accident and that he simply hasn't been educated properly before.
 

Miss L Toe

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The horse has not been re-schooled, and you are not an experienced rider........... I think this is a classic scenario, and why people are often advised against taking ex racehorses, and other horses they are not skilled enough to ride.
The french link bit may be fairly severe, the egg butt is probably irrelevant.
Plenty of ex racehorses cope with the new lifestyle, and plenty of racehorses are fairly quiet.
Obviously it is not a good idea to "get carted", but tbh I have ridden horses that are sold to people who are not sufficienlty experienced to ride their horses, and they dont "take-off " with me, and I am not the greatest rider inthe world, I just don't panic and I make sure they are in a safe environment, even normal horses can get full of energy, and if you immedately try to pull them up, you will end up in a "no win " situation.
 

Miss L Toe

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Your horse did not "bolt" then stop at the top of a bridleway, he just probably just went at a much faster pace than you wanted. I would avoid going out with you boss, and not take the loan on until you are happy.
It is not a good idea to canter on a bridleway when out of control, I know you know this, but you also should avoid cantering on a hard surface, horses need to canter on a soft surface or they will "break down"
 

Miss L Toe

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P.S you will never see a race professional leaning back and hauling on the mouth of a racehorse, there is a certain technique to use all your body wight to counter-balance the forward impetus of the horse, but I doubt if your avearge rider is suddenly going to learn how to do it when she thinks the horse is "bolting"
 
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The horse has not been re-schooled, and you are not an experienced rider........... I think this is a classic scenario, and why people are often advised against taking ex racehorses, and other horses they are not skilled enough to ride.
The french link bit may be fairly severe, the egg butt is probably irrelevant.
Plenty of ex racehorses cope with the new lifestyle, and plenty of racehorses are fairly quiet.
Obviously it is not a good idea to "get carted", but tbh I have ridden horses that are sold to people who are not sufficienlty experienced to ride their horses, and they dont "take-off " with me, and I am not the greatest rider inthe world, I just don't panic and I make sure they are in a safe environment, even normal horses can get full of energy, and if you immedately try to pull them up, you will end up in a "no win " situation.

Agree with this,,,,,

Our ex racer has never bolted,ran off, been hard to stop. We worked in the school on weight and seat and learn half halt etc but out hacking cantering or having a gallop all we do it sit up and and relax and horse comes back to us no problem.

People really should research racers before they have them then things like this will be avoided.

Also if horse is bucking, spinning or rearing in the school get his saddle, teeth and back checked. Ours reared three times with us in the first six months, turned out the saddle was too long and creating a pressure point on his withers. He now has six monthly back and saddle checks.

I suggest you don't hack out on your own, get the above sorted and start on voice aids whilst lunging to back up riding aids.
 

Miss L Toe

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Dropping the reins and taking feet out of the stirrups is NOT recommended at flat out gallop, it is for after work and when horse is walking quietly home, aslo helps if rider is pro standard, is fit and has perfect balance!
 

Tnavas

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Dropping the reins and taking feet out of the stirrups is NOT recommended at flat out gallop, it is for after work and when horse is walking quietly home, aslo helps if rider is pro standard, is fit and has perfect balance!
Instruction to do this was given to me by a very good NZ race jockey - he knew his stuff.

To the racehorse the action of dropping the rein and kicking feet out of irons says WORK IS OVER.
 

Goldenstar

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Dropping the reins and taking feet out of the stirrups is NOT recommended at flat out gallop, it is for after work and when horse is walking quietly home, aslo helps if rider is pro standard, is fit and has perfect balance!
I could not aggree more this approach is likely to end up with OP in hospital.
OP voice train the horse I did not gallop my TB until I had excellent voice control it's an excellent tool to use in lots of situations.
 
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