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post #11 of 15 Old 11-16-2012, 03:15 PM
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: North Dakota
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Also, I didn't see anyone mention having him checked by an equine chiropractor. So if you have not done that yet, I highly recommend it.

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post #12 of 15 Old 11-16-2012, 04:43 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Pacific NW
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We're moving right now so there aren't a lot of extra funds for a chiropractor, but I'll look into it and get it done if possible. I definitely want to make sure there isn't any remaining injury so we can start fresh.

I think we're talking about the same thing on collection, but I want to make sure. I generally put my hands just in front of the saddle, where I usually ride with them, and hold them still. If I need to remind him to drop his head, I generally give the reins a little wiggle by rotating my wrists or tapping them with my pinkies. Either that, or I'll lift my hands up slightly (never back), and he automatically drops his head. He's very soft in that regard. Since I usually go bitless, pulling wouldn't do much except cause problems lol. (of course, that's true with a bit also! But they're not as easy to run through as a hack or sidepull, which are my usual setup.) I'll definitely pay close attention, though, to make sure I'm collecting him correctly. I think I'm going to put him in a bit to make contact a little more precise - I know for sure when I have contact on the mouth, but with a hack, the leverage changes with even the smallest movements and when you may not intend to have contact. That may be part of the head tossing issue...

I'm really excited to take lessons - I hope I can start soon! I'll definitely look for someone with a dressage background. I assume they'll also be able to help me with balance :) I'd also like to start into cross-country riding as a means of cross-conditioning and adding a little variety to our routine, so I'll be looking for an instructor more or less experienced in eventing I think...
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post #13 of 15 Old 11-16-2012, 05:43 PM
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Illinois
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Sounds like a good idea with the eventing instructor! They will have a little of everything to spice it up for you! If he doesn't have any teeth issues I would try a fat loose ring snaffle, see if it helps with the head tossing. The leverage from the hackamoor might be too much for him.
With your hands, if you need to, you can place them sort of low and wide, think of sqeezing them like you are squeezing a sponge rather than a wiggle or see saw. Try holding your outside rein steady, and sqeezing the inside rein, while using your leg to push him up into your outside rein. You are going to have so much fun with an instructor! You seem really ready to learn and progress! Best of luck!

"Riding: the art of keeping the horse between you and the ground."
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post #14 of 15 Old 11-18-2012, 12:02 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Pacific NW
Posts: 1,320
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I started a thread in the Training forum looking for suggestions on working him in a correct and engaged gait. It's listed here: Correct movement - engaging his back

I rode him in a D-ring snaffle (he used to have an egg-butt snaffle, but I'm not sure where it is and he seemed to do fine in this). Good news: 1) no head tossing with the snaffle, and 2) I free-lunged him beforehand, but didn't "pressure" him - just asked for a lope and stood still. Every time he began loping, he'd start on the correct lead, then go to cross-firing at the same spot (which I noticed was where he'd cut a short corner on the roundpen as well). In support of my "overthinking" theory, if I stood still but kept him at a lope by cuing him with a kiss, he started loping on the correct lead consistently. By the time we were done (which wasn't long), he wasn't cross-firing anymore. I think I just need to let him relax and figure himself out - this method worked a lot faster than "getting on him" and making him work harder! Goodness, what an emotional horse!

I did record my riding today and posted a video in the other forum, but I'll also repost it here so it's in context of this conversation. I took the suggestions to heart and have been doing a lot of research on what collection really is and how to achieve it. I thought "long and low" would be a good place to start, since it encourages them to relax and engage their back. Let me know what you think

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post #15 of 15 Old 11-18-2012, 12:03 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Pacific NW
Posts: 1,320
• Horses: 2
Oh, and I also contacted an instructor in the area I'm moving to and it looks like it'll be a good setup. She does a lot of work with saddle fitting and has connections with chiropractors she uses regularly, so given my circumstances, I think this might just be the perfect fit - can't wait to begin lessons in the next month or two!
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