Re: Ex racehorse wont stand still while out on a hack, any suggestions?
I wanted to update you with regard to the problems we had with not standing still while out on a hack. In the end we didn't bother. It was just too dangerous. He didn't listen and I was getting myself so worked up about it all, he was always fine in the field or schooling ring and would stand still when asked, it wsa just as soon as we went out for a hack, it was as if a light went on in his head, he refused to stand still. I would ask him to halt with my leg aids, half halt to come down etc, but still no difference.
We then moved yards, as the previous livery didn't have a manage and we had to borrow one opposite, and that was not very frequent. The schooling was shit, we had taken 6 months off due to his injury, then another good 6 months with going barefoot etc. One problem after another. So, a year after we bought him home from Newmarket we moved yards to have use of our own schooling ring. We moved in the October of last year and then the winter hit with a vengeance and we done nothing with him, other than lunge work and in hand work over the winter periods, dependent upon whether the sand school was frozen solid or, under water. Lunge work was rather scary at times, he would tear around and nearly fall over. When we tried to ride, he was easily distracted, another horse cantering in the field would send him into a head tossing, spooking twat, jumping about, neighing. Didn't dare take him out on the roads. Then I took the plunge and rung up an instructor that dealt with all types but, particularly ex racers, explained my problem etc. She is called Nikki Johnson. Fantastic lady. She said, 'ah - typical TB, very clever, too clever, need to be kept thinking' I told her that he was fine in walk when schooling but, a nightmare with trotting, only got 2 strides and then the head would chuck up etc. Hated contact on the bit, nightmare to hack out. She came over and rode him, it was pissing it with rain (March) and I thought that he would chuck her off, he hadn't been ridden from November the previous year, walk was fine but as soon as she asked for trot, he played her up, but she took no notice, kept her leg on and asked him to work into her hand, after 5 minutes of him jogging on the spot and threatening to go up, he simply gave in and then worked beautifully, after that we had regular weekly lessons with my daughter riding him, working on his transitons and more importantly getting him to listen and working in an outline. His schooling came on leaps and bounds. Then we started to hack out, both myself and daughter. When out hacking, I realised that he needed to be 'working', 'schooling' so, that he couldn't look over the hedge and start freaking out, he was made to do lots of transitions and was kept on the 'bit'. For each hack, he was made to continuously halt, it was bloody boring but, it really helped, 20 strides of walk and then asked for a halt, only halted for literally 2 seconds and then walked on with lots of praise but, this way, he was so used to being asked to stand, that when a car did come along, he didn't freak. He is now being hacked out every day, we started going to the end of the road and back and then further each time. We have had napping, neighing, spinning and all sorts but, have realised that you need to keep your leg on and keep pushing him forward at all times. When a car is approaching, I can now pull him over and ask him to stand. It works. However, he still has a short attention time and I can probably only get approx. 20 seconds and then he will start to throw his head up and start to move about, so I then ask him to walk forward a pace and then re stand. I try to make sure that we are not in a positon that freaks and upsets him too much, i.e. if there is a tractor behind and a car approaching, I shall trot on ahead and try and get into a field entrance but, things are a lot, lot better.