The Art Of Intention: Avoiding Bad Habits When Riding A Thoroughbred by Paulick Report Staff|04.18.2022|12:28pm Though relaxation is a goal with an off-track Thoroughbred, riding without focus can contribute to distractions and “bad” behavior, Aubrey Graham, anthropologist and trainer at Kivu Sport Horses told Horse Nation. Riding intentionally will keep a horse interested, which in turn will keep him engaged and progressing, Aubrey said. This is of particular importance to those who ride OTTBs, who tend to be smart and often become bored easily, causing them to seek distractions. Additionally, OTTBs can get stuck in training “ruts” of being ridden the same way each day; they may express displeasure at being asked to change. Horses can express their unhappiness in a few ways: anticipating an upcoming gait change or movement; exerting the minimal amount of effort and becoming dull; and being blatantly bad, like bucking, rearing, spooking, etc. A rider who seeks to be more interesting – and therefore keep her horse's interest – must differentiate between “working on” and “working toward” Aubrey says. “Working on” involves core foundational pieces of riding that will serve a horse well no matter what discipline he takes on (like rhythm and straightness). “Working toward” means setting goals and working on building the skills to attain them, like progressing to jumping high jumps or competing at higher levels. Read Aubrey's hints on how to keep OTTB brains engaged at Horse Nation.