Common problems in the run-around, and how to fix them.

If the horse: 

Races:

If he starts speeding up on his own instead of responding to your cues for speed, break him down to a stop then back up. Then just sit for a minute. If that’s not helpful, make him collect up and slow to the last speed he was comfortable at, and continue doing the run around exercise.

Gradually, he will get more comfortable with speed and not make such a big deal about it (especially if you don’t!).

Leans:

If he starts to lean during the build-speed part of the exercise (as toward the barn or gate), draw him back and change course about 30 degrees to overcorrect the lean, then continue on that line (see diagram). If he leans again, make another 30-degree correction, and so on.

If you wind up going in the opposite direction altogether, that’s okay—it’s the sort of “healthy confusion” that keeps your horse guessing and therefore paying attention to you. As you can, pick up the track of your Runaround again, and keep going.

 

Dropping a shoulder/falling out of lead:

This commonly happens when you ask for the slowdown if your horse doesn’t engage both hocks equally. To correct it, don’t make a big fuss, but in the space of about six strides, softly draw him to you and break him to a trot, then a walk, then whoa, then back him up for a bit and ask him to soften his jaw to the reins.

Resume the exercise, but this time, before asking him to slow down, make sure you’ve softened him in the face (gentle bumping on the reins if need be) before applying your off-lead leg (i.e., if he’s on the left lead, use your right leg) just behind neutral position to drive him up so he can’t fall out of the lead. Then, more gradually than you did when he fell out of lead, ask him to slow down.

He’ll get the hang of it. It’s uncomfortable for the to fall out of lead, but it’s hard work to collect, so sometimes they opt for the easy way.

Don’t make a big deal about it.

Remember, don’t major in the minor things!

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