DiDi - Whither goeth SHe? - Page 5

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DiDi - Whither goeth SHe?

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    02-09-2011, 06:08 AM
Gottatrot, says: "Horse have good days and bad days - just like people"

It is an obvious statement to make and perhaps one I should accept.

But something inside me says that if I stop looking then I am giving up. And DiDi is worth the effort of trying to find a solution.

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    02-09-2011, 08:19 AM
Lol, Barry, I think I wish I was your wife. That is if you put in as much time and effort into trying to understand and please her as you do your horse!
Your posts are a pleasure to read.
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    02-09-2011, 08:55 AM
I agree with Northern about the use of flash nosebands, which just conceal the issue of the horse not accepting the bit. It goes with the whole relaxation thing I was talking about earlier. Obviously not always, but often, a horse who is trying to evade the action of the bit, which is what they are doing when they gape their mouth, put their tongue over the bit, etc., is certainly not one who wants to relax into the contact. One of the fundamental principles of dressage (and mind you, not one enough people follow) is relaxation and acceptance of contact. One of my rants about dressage shows, at least in the States, is the way many judges are more inclined to reward a tense horse with a lot of natural self-carriage, fancy paces, and who can kind of fake a frame over a significantly less fancy, but relaxed, happy, and correct horse, especially at the lower levels. Anyway, one of the movements in American dressage tests (I've never looked at one in the UK, but it would shock me of this weren't on it) is the "stretchy-chewy" circle and the free walk, where you show the judge that your horse is in fact relaxed by lengthening the rein and he should stretch down and relax his stride. You can get this by putting on a flash, which limits the ways in which the horse can evade the bit, but in my experience horses have gone a lot better when I've dropped the flash and worked on true acceptance of contact.

I guess if I had a horse who got really explosive and who needed to be ridden dressage in a flash or it would spend the whole time going around with its mouth open avoiding the bit, I'd also be trying to work out what was going on with the horse. There are things you can't know, or do anything about even if you did know, like whether the horse is jealous if its regular rider's other horse, so the best I could do is tackle the things I do know and can do something about, like work on acceptance of contact and general relaxation.
    02-09-2011, 01:15 PM
Nose Bands

Talking about nose bands, I attach a photo of me and my friend Joe - he who haunts me wherever I go. Here we are tripping the light fantastic and as you see his white blaze is plain to see. (Sorry about the hat ladies, but this is still one of my favourite photos of him). At home indoors somewhere I have a Texan one-eared bridle with laces, which I used on a young Welsh Cob but it was a bit tight to fit Joe. That bridle didn't even have a brow band.

Joe and I did not do dressage. We knew our place. No top hats, no white breeches and Joe was always allowed full use of his neck and nose. My problems started with him after we decided to go classical, just because I thought he could do it if he tried. Along came a knowledgeable lady to teach him how, and the first things she fitted were a nose band, and a running martingale. It didn't work for Joe (or me) but that is another story.

However DiDi arrived on our scene with a flash band, and my long suffering wife who looks over my left shoulder said that she would prefer that we kept it fitted on her. Young Claire now insists that she keeps it on 'as a precaution'. And if they are riding DiDi, how can I say 'No' - unless of course I can prove it is the flash band which is causing resistance. Remember, ladies don't always believe we men know anything about horses.

After DiDi's fifth ever outing, it is being suggested that she be entered next at affiliated elementary level and that is thanks largely to the rider - Claire. To take the flash away, I'd have to argue against success and I am not expert enough in this matter of dressage.

What I always seek from a horse is relaxed confidence, good manners and willingness. I can sense when DiDI is in super hype mode, unfortunately I can't often work out why.

But you Ladies have given me something to think about and watch out for.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg BG Joe lessons in arena copy.jpg (74.0 KB, 119 views)
    02-09-2011, 01:51 PM
I hope you don't mind me asking, as a precaution to what? A flash does not stop a horse from bucking, bolting, spooking, etc. I've been on plenty of horses wearing a flash jacked up tight and been bucked off and taken off with. I used to ride my mare in a flash, for no particular reason other than "that's just what you did," and she could be pretty bloody hot when she was young. When she wanted to be a lunatic, a flash didn't stop her.
    02-09-2011, 02:32 PM
I have never formed an opinion yet about whether flash nosebands are unkind, it just seemed that a horse like DiDi would make it obvious if she did not like something.
In general, I have found that hotter sensitive types have issues with feeling trapped, and will be more prone to explode if they can't find release from pressure. Which is why I have no more than a passing experience with a flash noseband, having never tried it on my own horses.
When horses I have trained seemed to want to avoid the bit I looked first at my own hands, then tried another bit until I found one they liked.
    02-09-2011, 02:52 PM
Thinking back on it now (this was quite a few years ago), I may have had the concern that I'd have less control over the horse if I removed the flash, which may have been one of the reasons I rode with it for a while. I somehow kept up this delusion that the flash was doing something useful in spite of the fact that the horse used to take off bucking not infrequently and was RIDICULOUSLY heavy in the bridle. I think you can safely say that when you feel the entire weight of the front end of the horse hanging on the reins, the horse is probably not softly giving to the hand (she's stopped doing all of that. Win).

All the flash did, insofar as I could tell, was stop the horse from opening her mouth so she didn't *look* as resistant to contact to anyone watching as much as she actually was.

Edit: Oh, look. She has a flash on in the avatar pic. Looks pretty out of control and wild. I have no idea why that's there, although I'm sure when that pic was taken, it was when I used to put on a flash so loose I could stick two fingers underneath it.
    02-09-2011, 03:10 PM
Gottatrot, just because you wish that you were Barry's wife, don't lay false accusations on me (I act like a horse is a machine, etc.) **friendly chiding**

thesilverspear, your posts here have been a delight, for their informativeness on the valulessness/deleteriousness of the practice of strapping the mouth shut.
    02-09-2011, 03:32 PM
Cheers, Northern. I really should not be lingering on the forum procrastinating....:)

Another issue with the flash: if you look at that flash in my avatar, for example, you'll see that it goes across the horse's nasal passages, which is quite a sensitive part of their face. That's more or less just where the flash goes if you use one. And if you're using it "correctly" (as I said, I didn't after the first year or two I owned the horse; I kept it so two or three fingers would fit under it until I found a better use for it as a strap with which you could attach things to the saddle) you have it jacked up bloody tight. So you're not only forcing their mouth shut, you're putting pressure on soft, sensitive tissue on their faces. I've been told that if you really feel that you need to force your horse's mouth closed, a grackle noseband is better since it attaches higher up and the pressure is mostly on the flat leather thingy where the figure eight crosses over. Not sure, though. I've never used one as I found it far more conducive to everything, really, to get the horse to correctly come to the hand.
    02-09-2011, 03:58 PM
Thanks again, thesilverspear, for that important additional point.

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