Off the track TB

I've got a 7 year old Thoroughbred right off the track. I can't get him to get his lead going the other way. What is the best way to do get him to do this ?I've got a 7 year old Thoroughbred right off the track. I can't get him to get his lead going the other way. What is the best way to do get him to do this ?

Story originally posted by: Maggie Flowers

Dear Maggie:

I’ve got a 7 year old Thoroughbred right off the track. I can’t get him to get his lead going the other way. What is the best way to do get him to do this ?

Hello Robert,

Off the track Thoroughbreds are not trained in such things as leads to theright side, which is the sideI presumeyou are having trouble with. They are trained to keep their nose to rail on their left with the direct pressure constantly being applied to the right side of the mouth. What you need to do is go back to basics and teach the horse to learn to give to the pressure of the left side of their mouth.

Byteaching the horse to move away from that pressure you will, with time and patience, achieve the flexion to right needed to have those leads you are seeking. Go to a round pen and work the horse to the right. Sometime you can tie the right rein through the right stirrup to the tail. Leave him loose in the round pen but tiedin this fashion that for about 15-20 minutes, but supervised. You never want to leave a horse tied in any way without being able to constantly keep an eye on him. This a good way to allow the horse to slowly acclimate to the right side flexion and the left mouth pressure.

Another method would be the use of driving reins and doing some ground driving. However, in using this method you should seeking some professional help, if not done correctly or with soft hands you may result in hardening your horse’s mouth.

Remember this horse has been running like this for the past 5 years. This process will take a whilein order to achieve the desired suppleness of the neck and mouth. It’s important that you remember your horse is not at fault here. It’s just the way they are trained to run the rail in a race. With patience and understanding, he will eventually become the horse you envision him to be.

For additional information, read the article "Training Tips – From the Race Track To The Show Ring" (4/2001) By Heather Bailey. You can access the search the archives from the front page of HorseCity along the top left hand rail. Good luck.

Maggie Flowers