dressage training an older horse with a hard mouth
   

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dressage training an older horse with a hard mouth

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    07-16-2011, 04:24 AM
  #1
Weanling
dressage training an older horse with a hard mouth

Ok,
So I have this mare angel, She is 21 years old and not showing it at all acting more like a 3 or 5 year old horse , Its always been hard work with her.

When I first got angel I couldn't catch her it would take hours, She wouldn't let anyone touch her feet or bridle her she rear up and kick out not being naughty just very much afraid of people.

I got when she was 15, but being a brumby she had been in contact with people for twelve years, Her previous owner had used and abused her useing harsh bits and whips, she still has scar tissue all over her lips from him.

After so many years of work with her many hours of ground work and loving time has really helped she is no longer scared and will try anything you ask of her she truly is a careing , kind and beautiful girl I love her so much.

Two years ago she suffered from a micro tare she has fully recovered but being the age she is and having had that injury I decided to start some dressage to keep her fit but with out too much strain on her joints as the mustering, barrel racing, eventing and jumping I was doing previously does.

I've done dressage before and so has she but not much and because of her mouth being incredibly hard mouthed because of the cruel man's scaring we've always struggled in classical riding with everything else I can use lose reins or a halter but even in a halter she is used to resisting pressure,
That collecting and doing most of the things necessary for dressage and sometimes jumping is very hard.
So any exercises and ideas that would help with her mouth and our dressage training would be appreciated.

Thanks
     
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    07-20-2011, 09:35 AM
  #2
Weanling
Smile Dressage

I think you need to proceed carefully Classical dressage can be very demanding on a horse and at the age of 21, it sounds like your horse is entering her twilight years. The Spanish Riding School start their training for Dressage when horses are between 8-10 years old and yes, many of their horses are still going into their 20's. However, note that the Lippzaners have been doing dressage for 10 years or more and are fairly fit. Starting your horse off to do Classical Dressage at the age of 21 is not a great idea. Some of the moves are physically very demanding and this could put strain onto ageing muscles and bone. My advice is to try her with the 'classical groundwork' to loosen her up and keep her fit but don't try to teach more complex stuff such as the Piaffe, Half Passe etc unless you really, really know your horse and you know exactly what you are doing. My advice is just enjoy your horse and don't ask too much of her as she eneters her twilight years. If you are serious about trying dressage, get some lessons and then consider buying a younger horse (obviously the older girl willbe company).
     
    07-21-2011, 11:51 AM
  #3
Weanling
Think of rein contact as connection.
You can have an extremely light connection or a heavy one and anything inbetween.
Locate a simple snaffle that she finds comfortable...probably hard to do. Should be toward the thin side and not thick.
When you ask for rein aids simply and softly vibrate the reins rather than pull on them. It will take a little time for her to realize that you are not attempting to pull and she will gradually respond.
Once you have her responding then you can do the vibration thing and apply a soft momentary hold on the rein aid then release.
You are simply reschooling her to the rein connection...contact.
Remember, do not pull.......
     
    07-21-2011, 10:09 PM
  #4
Weanling
OK thanks spirithorse8
Bluebird I have four other horses all of them younger and very capable Angel is one of those horses who does not act her age being a very fit highly strung horse that by her behaviour most people guess she is a very young horse.

I think the way I wrote my first post was not quite right,
What I mean is that she is fit and healthy and very able to do what all my others can do but because she older I don't want to keep up the work that is demands so much speed and tight turns etc so I desided that I'd work more on our dressage like I have with our clydesdale gelding.
I hope that made a bit more sense.
     
    07-21-2011, 10:41 PM
  #5
Weanling
A bit more sense....LOL
     
    07-25-2011, 12:25 AM
  #6
Weanling
Haha good
     
    08-10-2011, 08:25 PM
  #7
Foal
I totally understand your problem. When I bought my horse, he was 3 years old, only been under saddle about 20 times and he was already being ridden in pelham! People who are into classical dressage always tend to use those kind of ''harsh bits''. When horses are ridden for many years with those bits they look like they have lost their sensitivity in their mouth, and when they start being ridden by good riders like you, who try to work them in a snaffle first, getting them working with it is a true nightmare for some of them! That's what happened with my horse when I first got him, but fortunately he was young and only being ridden for a month. But the fact your mare is already 21 doesn't mean that she won't get there. Here's something I would try to work in a case like this:
- ask her for a lot of transitions, transitions help you and your horse to improve a lot of things, such as getting her to feel your contact with the reins and the other aids, of course;
- work in a lot of circles, 20m, 15m, 10m, etc, and change rein with different figures such as numerous serpentines, diagonals, etc, it will help her feeling the bit and improve her outline;
- lunge her before riding with a good contact with the lunge line;
- when riding keep your contact flexible and elastic, I usually ride with a stronger outside hand and a more flexible inside hand.
I hope this helps and good luck :)
     
    08-11-2011, 06:07 PM
  #8
Banned
Quote:
Originally Posted by LoveDressage    
People who are into classical dressage always tend to use those kind of ''harsh bits''.

Maybe they do in Portugal but certainly not elsewhere. Be careful about saying anything is "always" as it tends to turn out not so much "always".

Not if they truly believe in classical dressage.
     
    08-12-2011, 04:52 PM
  #9
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spyder    
Maybe they do in Portugal but certainly not elsewhere. Be careful about saying anything is "always" as it tends to turn out not so much "always".

Not if they truly believe in classical dressage.
Sorry, didn't want to mean that everybody uses them and didn't want to sound rude. But the truth is that a lot of people in classical dressage, don't use bits like snaffles or double bridles, etc, etc. And yes, people in here, spain, etc use them a lot, not only in classical dressage but we have other disciplines like working equitation, bullfighting, etc, where people aren't allowed to use only a snaffle for example. They must use bits such as curb bits or others. You also have the example of the riding school of vienna
     
    08-12-2011, 05:48 PM
  #10
Banned
Quote:
Originally Posted by LoveDressage    
Sorry, didn't want to mean that everybody uses them and didn't want to sound rude. But the truth is that a lot of people in classical dressage, don't use bits like snaffles or double bridles, etc, etc. And yes, people in here, spain, etc use them a lot, not only in classical dressage but we have other disciplines like working equitation, bullfighting, etc, where people aren't allowed to use only a snaffle for example. They must use bits such as curb bits or others. You also have the example of the riding school of vienna
Regarding the SRS...don't get what you see (demonstrations) which are shown at the highest level where a more advance tack is appropriate to something they use all the time.

They all start out with snaffles just as we do here in NA and advance to the double (curb). Just because that is all you see doesn't mean that they had this equipment on from day one.

I am well aware of the "training" methods they do in Portugal ( boarded at a place with a Portuguese trainer) and was appalled at his "training methods".
     

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