The reason for going to the hackamore has to do with my horse needing to have his teeth floated. For several weeks we have been dealing with him flopping his tongue around, tossing his head while under movement with a bit in his mouth. We experimented with different bits because we upon examination of his teeth, everything felt fine. Finally, early last week, we were able to get an examination that indicated teeth.
We scheduled an appointment for next Tuesday to have his teeth floated and I have not put him back in a bit since.
Over the weekend, my barn owner saw this hackamore at the auction and purchased it as an interim solution for us. It is SIMILAR but not the same as the picture. My chin strap is chain with a nylon sleeve over it.The nose piece looks the same, but mine is flexible and very bendy.
When we tried it on Sunday, Sam responded well. For the first time in weeks I felt I could control him because he was engaged with me and working with me, rather than focused on something else. He reacted very quickly and smoothly to gait transitions, halts, and turns.
I rode him in the bridle again on Monday and Wednesday. Both short sessions did not go the same as on Sunday and I am absolutely confident I am using a light touch and there is plenty of slack in his reins.
What he is doing is still some head tossing, won't keep gait (jog, slow and fast trot) and won't move in a circle around the pen.
Before the teeth issue, I was able to jog and trot him around the pen in large and small circles without him breaking stride. Last night he would start at the trot and within 6 steps turn into the center instead of hanging out on the wall and then break stride.
I even let the reins (one continuous) lay on his neck and give him free choice and he wasn't interested in maintaining his trot.
In addition, I am struggling with his turns. Like I said we were doing small 360 degree circles at a jog or better with very little bit pressure and now I can't get him to turn left or right without what feels like force to me.
The bridle is resting on his face correctly. I hate the idea of not riding him until his teeth are floated but I don't want him to develop bad habits or make riding unpleasant for him. I thought the hackamore would be a great tool for me to ride and work him indoors without the bother of a bit.
Could the jiggling of the shanks while he is moving cause this problem? Should I stop all riding until after Tuesday? I guess I can still lunge him to keep him working, but I will miss riding greatly.
Is this typical of a horse with a new setup?