Major head problem!!!

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Major head problem!!!

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    11-21-2008, 08:29 PM
Exclamation Major head problem!!!

Ok, I'll try to keep this as short as possible without rambling too much...

About 4 months ago I got this 21 yr old Arabian Mare. The owners were giving her away due to her being "unridable". When I went to see her, they explained that she wouldn't take a bit and she would take off at the slightest touch of your heel. So ignoring my better judgement I took her.

We started slow, just walking and trotting while I found her hot spots and got to know her. She's been doing great as long as we don't go any faster than a trot. She does great transitions from a walk, sitting trot, working trot, and extended trot but as soon as we start cantering she wants to rush and if she doesn't get her way she starts tossing her head in the air which has caused her to trip. I tried putting a running martingale on her to stop her head from going up but now she stretches it down instead.

So I have 2 questions. What is the best way to teach her to slow down her canter and how do I fix this head problem???

Thanks in Advance!!!
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    11-21-2008, 08:32 PM
What kind of bit are you using?

Are you able to control her, ie bring her back down to a trot or walk?
If you can control her, whenever you ask for a canter and she starts to rush, go back to trotting or walking for a while, then ask her again. If she does not rush into the canter and takes off nicely, praise her (verbally or with a pat) and let her have a few strides 2-3 and then bring her back. Keep doing this until you can ask her to canter and she takes off nice and smoothly and doesn't rush at all.
It will be a long process, but will be worth it in the end.
    11-21-2008, 08:51 PM
First I would rule out any physical problems. She is older so maybe she has a touch of arthritis. Also triple check saddle fit. If something is 'off' an arab will be sure to tell you! What kind of bit are you using?

I would get that martingale off her if you haven't already. That won't fix anything, it will only mask the problem.

I like the suggestion appylover gave. Transitions are amazing! Can you canter her online? If you can what does she do? If you can't I wouldn't ask that horse to canter under saddle until you work things out on the ground.
    11-21-2008, 09:56 PM
As Spirithorse said...rule out any pain, joint pain, teeth, hoof, saddle fit, ulcers, whatever. Something small can bother the horse realllly bad. Remember they can feel a fly land on them and able to get the fly off with a simple twitch of their skin.

And ditto again to waht Spirithorse said...the marginagle will only mask the problem, it will not fix it at all.

Definitely transitions, circles, and on-line work. I also suggest has really helped my horse!
    11-21-2008, 10:11 PM
Thanks for the suggestions! I use a plain eggbutt snaffle bit on her. I canter her on the line several times a week and she never shows these problems. Also, I have had the vet check her twice since I got her to make sure she was sound since she's not used to being worked much at all. The only time she acts up is when I ask her to slow down or collect her at a canter so I will work on trying the transition thing. Thanks
    11-21-2008, 10:16 PM
If she does it on-line good, then sounds like some pain only when you are on her.
I'd check your saddle and her back for soreness. That might be the culprit
    11-21-2008, 10:27 PM
Ok, just for your opinion, if it is that she is sore what do you suggest? I can't afford to get another saddle if that's the problem... I have 2 saddle pads, ones a rather thin one and the other is real thick and padded. Will using the thicker one do much good if it's a saddle fit problem? I'm going to the stable tomorrow and will try several of these things. Thanks again!!
    11-21-2008, 10:39 PM
I'd give her some time off to help heal her back. Give her some undemanding time, it will make you two bond closer and her love being with you even more. I'll bring my horse to the roundpen so it's just the two of us and I'll sit on the ground (or a bucket if the ground is wet) and read either quietly or aloud. And Sonny will just hang by my side and nudge me and start to lick my hands and yeah he likes it lol.

I'd find out if the saddle first is too big or small. If too small, then you'll need a new saddle...if too big, you can pad up so it fits.
Do you ride english or western?

Take pictures of your saddle on your horse bareback. No pad, and not girthed up. Take pictures of the saddle to see space between the withers and tree and then the sides. I'm attaching a photo of a picture that will defintely help to see if it fits (just don't use the pad with it). That angle will defiantely help to tell if the saddle fits but may not always tell.

Take a curry comb and run it down your horse's back....does she show any signs of pain? Cave her back in? Swish her tail? Pin her ears? And do the same on the shoulder area...and where the girth around be.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Tucker Saddle with Sonny 006.jpg (114.4 KB, 67 views)
    11-21-2008, 10:54 PM
Ok thanks! I'll take a pic of the saddle tomorrow and try to get it on here. I hate to admit, but I've never had to worry about any of this stuff before because my boarder/instructor took care of most of it. I'm kinda learning as I go! You've been a huge help!!!
    11-21-2008, 10:55 PM
By the way, I ride English. My saddle is a Wintec 250 which I know isn't the greatest but it was really all I could afford at the time.

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