Our training notes often show schooling at the farm but may also
include cross country schoolings and trail rides away from the
farm. Go back through our notes to see how we train our off-the-track
Thoroughbreds and prepare them for new careers as sport horses.
Getting Your Horse to Bend
Most OTTBs have a
problem bending to the right. You cannot pull their heads to the
right or they will drop their shoulder and curl into a turn. What
you need to do is ride with a constant supporting outside rein.
Ask for the bend with the inside leg. Push the horse to the outside
rein. Make a "wall" of your outside rein and outside
The horse tends to want to drop the head and turn the nose in the
Open your inside rein and lift it. I find that carrying a
bat length whip is useful to tap on the should to help keep the
horse from dropping the shoulder. I also sometimes use spurs (with
a flat headed rowel that tickles) to get the horse's attention
with the inside leg. Yes, I said use spurs and a whip with your ex-racer!
This is the most common problem with any ex-racer.
Open your right hand and lift slightly.
Push the horse to your outside leg. Paula and Bounced's first ride.
Bounced needs more support from Paula's outside rein.
Horse trainer, John
Lyon's talks about the "baby give" to get the horse
bending his head. Look it up. A brief description of this is to
hold pressure on one rein until the horse "gives" or
bends to it. IMMEDIATELY release the pressure. Wait a second and
apply the pressure again. Hold pressure on one rein until the horse "gives" or
bends to it again. IMMEDIATELY release the pressure. Repeat about
100 or more times each side and soon you will have a horse that
will give you his head with the lightest of pressure.
Ask for the bend. You can see Lucky's rear leg coming across and
under him in the turn.
As you are
doing this at a walk, do not worry where the horse is going.
Focus on being quick with the release when the horse gives you
the bend. What the horse wants more than anything is
for you to leave him alone - he gets that when you release
the pressure. The horse will give you what you reward (release)
for. After a few days the horse will bend properly and then it
is on to the next task - making him straight with impulsion!
D Song and Elizabeth.
Horse photos in this Training Note from Elizabeth include:
Sing D Song