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Franklin Levinson's

Horse Help Center

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Help with Ex-Racehorse

Hi, my name is Fiona. I'm a 16 year old student. I have recently bought a horse just off the track. I am having trouble getting him to go forward. Whenever I put any pressure on him he stops as though he is going to rear. Could you please help me with some advice it would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time.


Hi Fiona,

Funny thing about horses off the track they won’t stop, won't go, won't move to the right (races are only run to the left) and frequently are extremely neurotic. I supposed I would be too if I had to endure the kind of life they have. Fortunately, most ex-racehorses can be retrained and rehabilitated.

I highly suggest you take this horse back to the basics of his training. DO THE GROUND WORK AGAIN! Forget trying to 'ride' him through his issues for now. If you take him back to the basic ground maneuvers of leading, stopping, circling around you in both directions (especially to the right), backing, being ground driven all over the place and any other games on the ground you can think of, your horse will discover it is safe to move forward again. Please understand this is not a discipline issue. Your horse is not being bad, stubborn, willful, disrespectful or wrong at all. He is merely afraid. It’s all about his sense of safety and feelings of trust. If you retrain him he will bond deeply with you and develop the trust in you that you need from him. You will come to know and trust him also. So often we expect things to happen fast and that the horse should understand our desires and our good intentions. However, they have so much abuse in their background that this is almost impossible without the horse being rehabilitated and retrained. Please tell me if you feel you have the skills to do this. It is important that this retraining be done appropriately or your problems will increase. However, if you can do this or find someone who can correctly accomplish this, your situation with the horse will greatly improve. Let me know your thoughts. I look forward to hearing from you.

Aloha, Franklin

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