he's so heavy on my hands!!

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he's so heavy on my hands!!

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    05-26-2010, 02:46 PM
Cool he's so heavy on my hands!!

Wow. I have not had this problem before, so I thought I'd ask for a little help:
My 5 year old gelding and I had a lesson this past Sunday. I noticed right away he was pulling through my hands, and very heavy on the bit. I did not have a problem stopping/backing him up, but just going along at the trot he really wanted to stick his beak out and pull through the bit. Usually when he does that, I bump his nose by alternating reins left right left right. He is excellent to put his head back down and collect after that reminder, but he would only last a few strides before sticking his head up again.
Now, it's been a while since his teeth have been done (the vet is doing them this week) could this be the issue? My trainer also suggested maybe the bit is too soft and suggested the controversial Tom Thumb, just for a few weeks to remind him that behaviour is not ok (I have him in a double jointed copper snaffle currently.) I really feel my hands are not soft enough for the Tom Thumb bit, as I do get a little jumpy sometimes and don't want to yank his head off.
So, any suggestions as to why he is doing this? I am really hoping he was just having an off day, he has been doing really well and was finally looking and moving like a nicely broke horse, and it is not really his bag to be defiant (well, maybe a little naughty sometimes!!) Thanks everyone!
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    05-26-2010, 02:55 PM
I am thinking maybe balance? But if you said he has always been fine before that, then I think it may be something else. Either it was an off day (horses seem to have lots of those :roll: ) or there could be another underlying problem with him.

It could have even maybe been you, even if you didn't notice it? Maybe you were abit unbalanced, or something else? It happens alot with me...I will think that Night Heat or Damper are just being naughty or unresponsive, but then my instructor will point out to me what I was doing wrong, etc. When I correct that "mistake" (or whatever you may call it), the horse would respond much better. So before you think there may be something wrong with your horse, just check yourself out first.
    05-26-2010, 03:04 PM
If his teeth are due to be done, I wouldn't be surprised if that's the problem. I'm curious to hear how he does post-float.

As far as actually getting him off his forehand and off your hands, do lots of transitions. Walk, trot, canter, and rein-back. Don't go longer than one lap without asking for and getting a change in direction, gait, speed, or balance. Also do transitions within gaits: slow, medium, and fast W/T/C while maintaining rhythm. The upward transitions help establish and maintain forwardness, and the downward side of the transition coin shifts the weight distribution backwards, lightening the forehand. Try half-halts as well to re-balance him. Additionally, double check your position. If your hands are a little off position-wise, that can contribute to the way your horse is reacting to the bit.

A horse heavy on the forehand is either an issue of discomfort (which you are looking into with the teeth) or an issue of training. Upping the bit strength is not a permanent fix; eventually he will be heavy on the TT if the root of the heaviness is not addressed.

Best of luck!
    05-26-2010, 03:38 PM
Nobody's perfect right:) It could very well be me, I am not overly experienced so who knows right? I am working with an instructor who is quick to point out when I need to relax, etc, and she didn't say anything about me, just that he seemed really heavy.....here's hoping it was just an off day :\
    05-26-2010, 03:41 PM
As far as actually getting him off his forehand and off your hands, do lots of transitions.
I LOVE transitions to limber him up and get his focus.....best suggestion ever. We do them every time we ride because he is still a baby and it helps a lot.

She only suggested the TT temporarily (for a few weeks) and then to switch back. I guess she does this on a regular basis as a training tool and her horses are amazing...then again she rides 8 hours a day 7 days a week *jealous*
    05-26-2010, 04:45 PM
^^ Wow! She's soo lucky! I'd love to be able to do that....
    05-26-2010, 05:27 PM
I'd have his teeth checked for sure, but my guess is that he's falling on his forehand due to an inactive hind end.
He may not physically have the muscles to support himself if you are trying to get him into a frame - in which case you will have to gradually build up to it.
If he is in fact inactive in his hind end, I would do lots of work at trot. Have him leg yield off a quarter line consistently. Have him ride in a 20m square (ride straight, half halt, turn on the haunches, ride straight, etc). Lots of transitions, making sure he's tucked in an upward transition, and try to keep him from falling onto his forehand in a downward transition.
    05-26-2010, 06:01 PM
My only lil piece of advice on this is once you go 'up' in bit, it can sometimes be difficult to get back down.
    05-26-2010, 08:26 PM
Originally Posted by corinowalk    
My only lil piece of advice on this is once you go 'up' in bit, it can sometimes be difficult to get back down.
Agree totally. I have my clyde X in a waterford gag-hoping to go back to the snaffle of the old days.....after he lightened up...but alas.....it has now been YEARS! We have worked on softness and bending forever! He is like riding a fridge! Love him tho.
    05-26-2010, 10:09 PM
Once you get 2000# on the move...its hard to stop! I did the same thing with my hefty QH...moved him off of a snaffle and on to a sliding gag...we can use the snaffle in the ring...but on the trail is the gag or he turns into a barn runner! LOL

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