Have A Speedy Horse?

Test Your Control At Home. If your horse has a tendency to race ahead when you’re riding in a group, here’s a way to teach him to relax. Find a controlled environment like an arena or a large pasture and enlist the help of a friend on horseback.

Start at the walk and ride side by side, about 15 feet apart. Keep both horses on a loose rein and dare them to race ahead. If at any time either horse speeds up, immediately pick up on one rein and turn the horses toward one another and head back the other way. When you turn your horse, do so with urgency so that he has to hustle his feet. If you just let him turn lazily, he’s not going to connect racing ahead with stopping his forward motion and having to redirect his energy.

When you’re headed in the new direction, be sure to put the horse back on a loose rein and dare him to make a mistake again. In order for the horse to learn, he has to commit to the mistake. If you try to babysit him and keep him from speeding up, he’ll never get any better and you’ll always have to watch over him. Practice the same steps at the trot and then the canter. It shouldn’t matter what gait the horse is in, he should remain at the speed you set him at and not race ahead.

With repetition, the horse will realize that when another horse comes up beside him, it’s not a race, and he better keep his attention on you because at any second you might change directions and go back the other way. If he does speed up, he’ll quickly realize that it doesn’t matter because you’ll make him turn and go the other way. The hotter and more nervous your horse is, the shorter the distance will be between turns initially. Eventually, he’ll be able to walk next to the other horse on a loose rein without ever speeding up.

About Clinton Anderson
Born and raised in Australia, Clinton grew up with a love of horses. Although he lived in the city with his father, Rob, mother, Cheryl, and sister, Andrea, he looked forward to the weekends he got to spend on his grandparent’s farm where his grandmother would give him rides on her old Thoroughbred mare. By the age of 12, he began playing polocrosse and was eventually chosen for a national team representing his state.
In 2001, he became the first clinician to create a made-for-TV horse training program that aired on RFD-TV. The use of untrained horses and a variety of topics covering common problems faced by horse owners quickly made Downunder Horsemanship the network’s number one equine program. Nearly 15 years after establishing Downunder Horsemanship, Clinton continues to instruct horsemanship clinics, presents Walkabout Tours across the country, produces two television shows, hosts an internet TV website and is constantly creating comprehensive study kits and training tools to make learning horsemanship as accessible and easy as possible. Clinton and Downunder Horsemanship are recognized as world leaders in the equestrian industry and continue to offer the very best in innovation, inspiration and instruction.