breaking canter and throwing her head up in the air

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breaking canter and throwing her head up in the air

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  • Head up in canter
  • My horse throws head up in a canter

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    06-29-2008, 07:38 PM
breaking canter and throwing her head up in the air

Hey guys,
So as you know I bought my horse last week and so far I've been having a little trouble with getting her to listen to me.
I know her previous rider had her on the bit all the time but she seems to throw her head up in the air when I give her the aid. I'm not sure if its the bit or the arena. I'm using a KK on her and her previous owner used an eggbut (sp?) snaffle. She sometimes will go a few (1 or 2) strides on the bit and then stick her head up in the air again. It's very frustrating because I've seen videos of her being able to keep it for like 5 minutes straight at a show so why can't I get it right!
She also keeps breaking her canter, she takes the aid wonderfully and then goes 4 strides and drops it and what makes it worse is that if I give her leg on, she gets very excited and starts to run. She has a huge canter and she gets very excited. Sometimes I can tell when she's about to do it and other times she'll just break randomly. I don't know how to get her to stop this nasty habit.
Another random question, I've heard that gel pads can elevate the saddle too much and that its just better not use one, what do you guys think? My horse is very sensitive to the distribution of my weight so I'm not sure if I should use one on her or not.
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    06-29-2008, 07:45 PM
Why not try draw reins? Just today for the first time put draw reins on my mare and she kept her head down the whole time. For your horse breaking the canter, you have to be able to tell when your horse will break and then keep pushing them through the canter and give them the cue to push them through before they break and then eventually your horse will pick up that you want him/her to keep cantering.
    06-29-2008, 07:51 PM
Could it be that her back is botherin her when you lope? What kinda of snaffle are you usin? Sorry I don't think I read what kinda you used.
    06-29-2008, 07:58 PM
That's hard to define without more details. She may not like the bit, she may not like the saddle fit, maybe your hands are not as steady or seat as light as the previous owner...very hard to define. Video of you riding the mare could possibly help. I will say that if she is rushing the canter it might indicate a stronger, more driving seat than she is used to or saddle fit pain, but that is a guess.
    06-29-2008, 09:15 PM
Originally Posted by Harlee rides horses
Why not try draw reins? Just today for the first time put draw reins on my mare and she kept her head down the whole time. For your horse breaking the canter, you have to be able to tell when your horse will break and then keep pushing them through the canter and give them the cue to push them through before they break and then eventually your horse will pick up that you want him/her to keep cantering.
Sorry to disagree, but I wouldn't use draw reins. They can be necessary for a certain training purpose but definitely not for riding all the time. I'm saying this because at my old barn alot of the girls used draw-reins all the time. Their horse would look perfect with them, in a nice head-set. In the showring, without the use of them, the horses' heads were all above the vertical, as before. It sounds to me like this mare is just being disrespectful. She's getting excited, and possibly taking advantage of you. I'd do a TON of groundwork with her. Start lunging her. Chances are, she'll do the same thing at the canter on the lunge, as she does undersaddle. Fortunately, in my experience, its easier to control and correct on the lunge first. Take it slow and easy, not moving up to the next gait before the first is polished. Good luck, and as I said, GROUNDWORK is key.

Keep it up!
    06-30-2008, 04:58 AM
I hope you don't mind me posting here as i've only made a couple of posts previously.
I had a similar thing happen with a gelding years ago. He was beautiful with his normal rider and a complete twit with me (bad choice of words).
In the end, I had to go back to his previous owner, measure the bit he was used to and then buy that. Then I did a measure of her saddle, put it back on him, took photo's and then had to find one to suit. After all that, I went and had 'hand' lessons. (not sure of your terms for it, or even what they really called it but it was all about softening, lengthening, etc of the hands). And I spent hours upon hours watching a video of her riding him to perfect my technique to suit him.
After all that, I got a massage therapist out and found out that with the combination of the new gear, my inexperience with him, and him being 'out' in the poll and just above the wither, it was making him incredibly uncomfortable.
It took about 18 months in total before we were ready to show. We did get to the show, and he went beautifully. (he was the most well rounded boy that day..........unlike at home lol) and we would have placed had I not fallen off (cant even remember why I fell off now).
I had to retrain myself to ride like her and ride in her gear before we could work in harmony. Over time, I adjusted him to my riding style and we went on beautifully from there.
Hope this helps and sorry if I shouldn't have posted in here.
    06-30-2008, 09:53 AM
Hey guys thanks for the replies! Um, Not a big fan of draw reins, they are more of a forceful tool then anything else. It should come naturally imo. It could be that im a new owner and a new place and she may think she's on holiday. As far as lunging goes she's great, I can lunge her in anything (even a halter). She seems to go fine, its hard to get her moving forward though, she can be a little lazy. Once I canter her though she gets very excited and then I can get that forward movement from her.
I know that they did have saddle fitting problems with her before and they rode her in an unfitted saddle for a couple of months and then couldnt ride her at all for a few until they could get there saddle redone. Could she have picked up those habits from that? I have a wintec on her now and as far as I know it fits, ill take a photo of it that though. I can always change the gullet, its not a big problem at all takes 20 mins.
Could it be her hooves? She doesnt have shoes and hasnt had for a year, I know the vet said that she did have bruised hooves when he vetted her. She's a big horse (draft x) so it could explain it but I don't know if that would make her throw her head up. The arena is pretty soft for the most part. I am getting her shoes either way soon.
I'm going out today so I'll video her and post it tonight. Maybe you guys can get an opinion of what im doing wrong. I haven't ridden her since thursday so she may be a little spooky but ill lunge her before and then get on her. I was away for the weekend
    06-30-2008, 09:37 PM
Bruised feet could be causing this reaction as well, yes.
    06-30-2008, 10:34 PM

I changed her to a snaffle today which see seemed pretty to go pretty well in but you can still see her fighting me and putting her head in the air.
The aid I use for her to go on the bit is a little different from my normal method (half halts), she uses a jerky movement of both reins left and right. I posted 2 videos, as you can see she went amazing on loose reins (Haha jokes on me). She was a bit better today though but still not much contact.
Anyways let me know your opinions.
    07-01-2008, 09:31 AM
The second video is much, much better. Your hand position is not perfect, gotta get those thumbs up, but you are relaxed with a bent elbow and your hands aren't bouncing like the first video. She's a heavy mare, you need to give her more room, her head and neck actually look pretty good in the second video. I would stick with the snaffle and start with what you think of as loose. Shorten your reins more over time, but try to keep that same upper body frame.

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