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A new bit and a question

This is a discussion on A new bit and a question within the Dressage forums, part of the English Riding category

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        05-21-2013, 08:17 AM
      #11
    Super Moderator
    You might need to get a chiro in to do some work on his neck because there's going to be something going on in there now that needs some help
    Not sure if his teeth have been checked out recently but always a good place to start when a horse is anxious about taking up the bit and you might think about a really soft bit like a mullen mouth Happy Mouth but I'm thinking that the problems are as much related to years of him working in a false frame and all that tension is now like 'muscle memory to him and he has to re-learn how to use his muscles correctly
    Lots of relaxation & flexion exercises where he's encouraged to work long and low and learn to stretch himself and become softer and more supple
    Lunge work helps them to find their own balance but not sure how much experience you have to do this properly
    If you have access to riding him out on trails where he can forget all the school work then that's another thing I would do
    Some interesting info on this link that helps explain whats going wrong and ideas for working through it
    The Horse's Balance
    Corporal likes this.
         
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        05-21-2013, 10:48 AM
      #12
    Weanling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jaydee    
    You might need to get a chiro in to do some work on his neck because there's going to be something going on in there now that needs some help
    Not sure if his teeth have been checked out recently but always a good place to start when a horse is anxious about taking up the bit and you might think about a really soft bit like a mullen mouth Happy Mouth but I'm thinking that the problems are as much related to years of him working in a false frame and all that tension is now like 'muscle memory to him and he has to re-learn how to use his muscles correctly
    Lots of relaxation & flexion exercises where he's encouraged to work long and low and learn to stretch himself and become softer and more supple
    Lunge work helps them to find their own balance but not sure how much experience you have to do this properly
    If you have access to riding him out on trails where he can forget all the school work then that's another thing I would do
    Some interesting info on this link that helps explain whats going wrong and ideas for working through it
    The Horse's Balance
    Thank you for the link, I actually love that website, it's one of my favorite dressage sites.
    I email his previous stable (run by an amazing dressage rider) and she said that the reason she donated him was because his past owner had to mysteriously give him up. She also said that if I was wanting to learn correct dressage, that it was too much for him. She donated him to the therapy program because she said it wasn't fair for him to try to do what he couldn't. I asked her a few more questions and am waiting for a reply. I'm heartbroken because I was totally told the incorrect thing.
         
        05-21-2013, 11:18 AM
      #13
    Green Broke
    jaydee--LOVE the link!
    THIS is one reason why I cringe when someone wants to buy a forehand heavy, post legged horse who cannot get their back feet underneath them. I am jumping for joy bc while ground training my 7yo QH--loose lunging and training to go into the corners and follow the track--I can see him reach under with his canter strides and especially when he hits the corners. He also roaches his back. (He doesn't know about all of the plans I have YET for him---MWA, HA, HA!!!) Can't take the credit for breeding him, but I've owned conformation problems before and didn't want to repeat it.
    My QH, "Ro Go Bar" (1982-2009, RIP) was racehorse bred downhill. STILL, I worked to get him off of the forehand, as much as was possible. THANK you for linking a site that tells you WHY you need the head on or just in front of the vertical. If you do the "behind the vertical" with your own body you fall forward losing your balance.
         
        05-21-2013, 12:22 PM
      #14
    Super Moderator
    Thanks corporal I came across it when I was looking for solutions for my pinto who'd been trained in much the same way as I think the OP's horse has - short cuts rather than hard slog and real schooling and you end up with a horse in that stilted fixed position. In Looby's case she had also discovered she could 'take off' with a rider by getting her nose on her chest!!!
    OP - I wouldn't get too disheartened, I'm struggling to see how your horse was ever properly dressage trained given the way it goes so I'm thinking it was a previous owner that failed him and not the other way around - we had a old retired dressage german bred brood mare where I used to work that hadn't even been ridden in years yet when we gave her a year off I decided to ride her she remembered everything she'd ever been taught - albeit a bit stiff and rusty she still knew her job
    I'm sure if you work on getting him relaxed and lengthening/stretching that neck, more play and less rigid work in endless circles you could have a horse that will at give you some fun in low level dressage where you'll gain a lot of experience
    Corporal and goingnowhere1 like this.
         
        05-22-2013, 10:16 AM
      #15
    Weanling
    Don't forget the most important aspect: time!
    Mark your calendar and give it a full month. Just work on softening, getting him so light in your hands that the slightest pressure will result in his giving his head to you. Start at a stand, then progress to a walk. It's kind of like fishing, you have to apply pressure, get the yield, then slowly inch by inch give him more rein. The goal is for him to follow it downward seeking the bit. Until he does it at a walk, you'll never get it at the trot.
    I make a game out of it every time I ride- how soft of a cue can I give and still get the response. For people watching, it almost looks like ESP between horse and rider. Have fun with it, don't over-do it and never make it a tug of war.

    Keep it really simple, really clear. Praise the slightest attempt and don't forget to frequently stop and give him a moment or two to process the information. You'll know if you go too fast as his frustration will become evident.
    Good luck!
    Corporal and goingnowhere1 like this.
         
        05-29-2013, 10:48 PM
      #16
    Foal
    My instructor, a Phillipe Karl School of Légèreté student, said that my Lusitano mare will tell us when she is ready to flex at the poll. I have never asked her to get round, and she is just now beginning to flex on her own. I have been riding her with light contact, and my instructor is seeing my mare carrying her weight farther back, and last week she was looking the best she ever had. Maybe you can wait for your mare to tell you, if you're patient. It's a wonderful feeling when you know that she's round because it feels good for her to do so.
    goingnowhere1 likes this.
         
        05-29-2013, 11:31 PM
      #17
    Trained
    Quite simply put, the hose is kinked. In the second pic, see how your hands are low and the straight line from elbow to bit is broken? Nothing can flow through to the horse's mouth without a straight connection. Bend your elbows, lift your hands up a bit, get that straight line established and then ride the horse forward into your hands and soft allowing elbows. Lots of large circles, serpentines, spiral in/out and half halts for rebalancing.

    That all being said, provide the straight line contact but then otherwise forget about the head. All those above mentioned circles and stuff are to establish balance into the outside rein, bend in the body and engagement from behind. Think rhythm, rhythm, rhythm. It relaxes most horses and they feel free to let go of any tension they are carrying once they have a nice quiet rider to tune into up there. The front end will come last once the horse is moving into the bit. You'll know you've got it when you feel a wave come up underneath you, his back coming up.
    goingnowhere1 likes this.
         

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