Lungeing and mounting an ex-racehorse

Welcome to our new series focussing on retraining ex-racehorses, up every Wednesday!

Last year, Your Horse went to HEROS, a charity who retrain racers. Here we have their tips on lungeing and mounting ex-racehorses...

Mounting an ex-racehorse

In racing, jockeys are legged up while their racehorse is on the move or the horse’s are usually lined up one behind the other and are led to the mounting block where they’re expected to keep walking forwards while the riders mounts.

Retraining them to stand should be fairly easy, but does take patience and reward. “We usually have someone stand at the horse’s head to prevent him from walking forwards, almost acting as a wall, but also there to reassure the horse and usually after a few attempts it works,” says Sue Jannaway, who helps with the retraining at HEROS.

Lungeing an ex-racer 

Racehorses will have built up different muscles through their way of working. “This is why we take them back-to-basis and use the lunge and Pessoa to change their way of going,” says Sue.

“A Pessoa should encourage him to stretch down, use his hindquarters, push his hocks underneath him and stretch his back, developing the right muscles,” says Sue.

Some ex-racehorses can be cold-backed, so don’t forget to spend time on groundwork before riding as this will help warm his muscles and prevent unwanted behaviour such as bucking, dipping his back or shooting forwards when mounting.