My Gelding Gets Too Worked Up
I have a paint gelding that arches his neck and over bridles himself when he gets too worked up. Sometimes we will have great days where he’ll stretch out his neck and go along perfectly, but most of the time he gets frustrated or hyped up and tucks his nose almost to his chest. There isn’t really anything that triggers it, he just decides to act like this from the start of the ride. The only thing I’ve found that somewhat works is to long trot him with a loose rein until he stretches his neck back out, but that takes forever and when I ask him to do something new I’m back at square one. How can I get him to stop?
A. Hi Ashley,
First of all, I would suggest lunging before you ride if you’re not already. If your horse has a tendency of being a little tense or hyped up as you described, you want to start by taking as much edge away as possible. As he figures things out and progresses in the training you shouldn’t need to lunge as much. One of the best things you can do for a horse that overbridles is to pull them to the side more than straight back. Use circles and pulling only one rein to the side to teach your horse that the pull means to slow down and not just tuck his nose and continue. Start with circles and eventually you should be able to travel straight and just pull his head to either side. A snaffle or bit with a broken mouth piece would work best for this. Circles at the trot and lope will naturally make your horse slow down and lift their body if done properly. It will take time and repetition. When your horse wants to speed up and overbridle, pull your hand directly to the side and take your horse in a circle. Even if he breaks from the lope to the trot or the trot to a walk, that’s ok. There are times that you will want to pull your horse all the way down to a walk and then a stop. You want to do this smoothly so your horse is thinking and not just getting slammed to a stop. You want to work on quieting his brain. Occasional stops where you let your horse stand and just rub your feet on his belly are great. He needs to know that leg means ‘move your body’ not just go faster and he needs to be comfortable with your legs rubbing on him while he stands quietly. If you incorporate these circles and stops pretty soon when you just start to pull your rein a little to the side while traveling straight, your horse will be thinking slow down instead of ‘tuck and run.’
Best of luck and thanks for the question,
Troy Green is a firm believer in the importance of a good foundation for every horse with balance, rhythm, and self-carriage being key. A good foundation equals longevity in the show pen. Troy has won over two dozen All American Quarter Horse Congress Championships in western pleasure, versatility, reining, halter and western riding, and has coached clients to over 50 Congress championships. Troy has three AQHA World Championships and two National Championships under his belt, and has won at all major futurities. He spent three years on the national board of the NSBA.
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