Virginia 3 year old American Saddlebred ridden in western snaffle with rollerand english, all purpose saddle in pasture, mostly, some trails by intermediate rider.

Question: I have a 3 yr old American Saddlebred gelding, when I bought him the owners said they had him racking before they sold him the first time.  But when they got him back because the people that bought him never paid for him he would not rack because the people never racked him and he got out of it.  The question is how do I get him back
racking again?  I have managed to get him racking for a few steps, but then he breaks into a canter. I have tried to see saw the reins, but he just thinks I want him to stop.  I don't know what else to do.  I don't have any chains I can use. Hard to find around my area.  

From Panelist Laura

If your horse gives you a little bit of rack - you are on the right track.  

Whenever he gives you a rack, praise him and pet him.  When he breaks into a canter, tell him no and ask him to slow down.  Continue doing this and be patient.  When he realizes that you want the rack, he will do it longer & more consistently.  

Don't seesaw on his mouth - this is a very sensitive area on the horse and should be treated kindly and gently.  Remember to be patient & consistent in praising him for giving you the smoother gait.  You will not magically get him consistent in a rack overnight, plan on it taking several weeks or more.  Good luck.


From Panelist Nancy

You say that you have managed to get him to rack for a few steps, but that he breaks into a canter.  When he breaks into a canter, stop him and start over asking for the rack.  Don't try for any speed right now.  Wait until he is good at racking and it is easy for him.  

Start from a flat walk and ask for the rack.  Do not saw the reins ever.  When you ask for the rack, if he trots or canters instead, stop him and ask again.  When he does rack be sure and praise him immediately.  Just go a short way, even if he just goes a few steps and praise him.  If you ask for too much at first he might break before you get a chance to praise him and he will not have learned anything as he still won't know what you want.  Don't ask for speed until much later.  And FORGET the chains.  They have nothing to do with training.  Good luck!

Nancy Cade

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