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How to slow down an ex racehorse?

Hello Franklin

My name is Maggie. I purchased an 11 year old thoroughbred mare that had been at the track til she was six. Anyways it was love at first sight. I have not owned a horse in about 15 years. My son now is not a baby anymore and I really love horses so I decided that it was time for Mom. Anyways, home my new mare came. She is a pet on the ground. I love her dearly. It took me three months to even get on her back. Sounds crazy I am sure but I had a car accident a year ago and I am afraid of being hurt again. So my thought with all the reading I have done about the abuse at the track with these unselfish creatures was to gain her trust and to show her that I will never abuse her. So now we are at the riding stage. I was not afraid of her when I got on her. My problem Franklin is that she thinks she is still at Woodbine for heavens sakes. She goes really nice at a walk (for two min.) and then thinks it is time to trot. Soooo, I get her back down to a walk. She has soooooo much energy. I dont think she and I will ever trail ride. I read Debbie's post and thought oh my gosh that is what I dont want to do EVER....

How if ever do you take the race track out of the horse?? I know by your responses that it is possible. But did you know that here in Canada horse help sucks!! We have a bad selection of people who have worked with ex race horses. In all honesty I CANT FIND ANYONE!! I will stick by this girl for as long as it takes. She will never go to a sale barn to be auctioned off to the Purina Dog Chow guy sitting in the dark shadows just waiting for her.There is a trainer at our barn that supposedly worked at Woodbine here in Canada but she doesnt seem eager to jump in and help me. If a person is a horse "breaker" as they call themselves is that a person she should go to? I would really love it if she stopped when i said whoa. She fights me the whole ride til she is pooped and then walks fine. Someone at the barn mentioned that perhaps she has to do her 1/4 mile first before she is not "wild" (good grief I rolled my eyes). Like you said that is what she was trained to do with the whip cracking against her thin skin. Makes me shiver thinking of how much she must of went through. I was upset with her the other day during a ride and finally got her stopped and said "Holy cow Rogue does this look Woodbine to you??"

I was annoyed and I know I shouldn't be with her but what do you do?? I saved her life and she shows her gratitude everyday when I go to the barn by nickering and trotting up to the gate to greet me. How do I then keep her and I safe Franklin???Sorry to ramble but I am sort of lost at this point and searching for some help.

Thanks for listening. Take care, Maggie and Rogue

Dear Maggie (and Rogue),

Thoroughbreds are hot blooded horses as opposed to cold blooded Quarter Horses. They are mostly bred to compete and run. They are trained to do so as well. You will probably never completely "take the race track out of the horse" and especially so at her age. The best you can do is to to school her a lot in an arena, both under saddle and on the ground with the goal of calming the horse. A good 20-30 minute session on the ground and then again under saddle before you go out anywhere and on any trial ride would be very valuable. School her slowly with an eye to keeping her quiet and calm. Round pen play, nice and slow and calm would also help her out. Getting her to the point you could ride her in a halter and lead rope only would be great. This is most easily done in a round pen. The horse's diet is important and a factor as well. Grain, considered an energy food, should be used only minimally. Good grass hey and alfalfa should be all the horse needs along with whatever supppliments your vet suggests. Oats is a good substitute for corn and other heat producing grains. I would not go out on trails at all until she has been schooled and schooled a lot in a way that supports her being calm. I can coach you through a routene of ground games and under saddle techniques geared to settle the horse down should you wish to avail yourself of this service. Meanwhile, be very careful and thank you for your dedication to helping this horse. Let me know if I can be of additional assistance.

Sincerely, Franklin

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