Losing track of the days here!  Didn't get to work him yesterday.  I was just to exhausted from work, and hadn't seen my husband in a while due to our conflicting schedules, and me always being at work or the barn.  Today I got him out and we lounged some with side reins.  He wasn't exactly hot, but very anxious.  I am starting to connect when he does this goofy thing with his mouth.  He always opens his mouth and acts like his is smiling or chewing.  He does this when I put his bridle on, when we start working, or when I ask him to do something he doesn't want to or isn't sure of.  I know it is a habit from the track, but I wish I knew what he was thinking to make him do that.  Why is he so often nervous or anxious?  We have been in a routine for a little while now, never push him too much, haven't hurt him that I know of, fixed his feed and hay for less sugar, and better for ulcers if he might have them.  I heard most OTTBs do so I guess he might.  I adjusted his feed accordingly as if to help with them.  Anyway, he was pretty good today, just nervous.  I am hoping to get him outside this weekend for the first time.  I heard OTTbs like trail rides and to look around.  Of course I am nervous but it has to happen.  We can't ride in circles forever! :)

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Comment by Kate Matney on March 26, 2015 at 8:53am
I will definitely try that, thanks for the input!!! Any help is appreciated :)
Comment by Jackie Cochran on March 26, 2015 at 8:39am

Just remember when you are out on the trail to never do a hard contact with your hands.  Often TBs will take a hard contact and use the support to run FAST.

Give and take, not a constant pressure, never pull.  This can be hard to do mentally if the horse is accelerating, but it can be the safest thing for the rider to do--give and take, preferably in rhythm with the horse's stride.

You also might consider different mouthpieces.  If the center of the tongue gets hurt the 3-piece snaffle mouthpiece can become severe.  I got cussed out big time by an ancient Arab mare about this last year.  Or the horse may have developed a bruise.  Experiment with different mouthpieces and ask your horse which he prefers.  Another thing is to get a flashlight and take a good look inside his mouth.  Sometimes something can get stuck, really irritate the horse, and cause big bit problems.

Enjoy your nice and calm, peaceful trail rides!  TBs can be super good rides on the trail when they learn to listen to their riders.

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