My horse keep putting her head down when I'm riding her. - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 18 Old 02-26-2013, 02:05 PM
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While I love riding in halters, flat halters have a tendency to twist and pinch quite a bit. if you clip the reins/leads on the square cheek holes when you pull either the halter twists and prods them in the face. At a therapy program I worked at all the horses rode in halters. The reins would twist the halter out of place, sometimes poking the horse in the eye with the cheek pieces. Even rope halters have a tendency to twist and poke them in all the wrong places. She's found that putting her head down relieves whatever pressure the halter is putting on her face.

What I do when I encounter issues like this is video myself and look at exactly what the horse is trying to fix/avoid. Then alter accordingly.

Which is why if you really want to ride bitless, you need hands as soft as if you were riding in a strong bit, and you need a tool designed to be ridden in. So a cross under, a sidepull or a hackamore of some variety, depending on your riding style and preferences.

ETA:Also, remember, even if you're riding without a bit a halter can rub on their face and push against their teeth, which if they're sharp can really hurt!! So even if you don't ride with a bit this could very well be a tooth problem

Last edited by PunksTank; 02-26-2013 at 02:14 PM.
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post #12 of 18 Old 02-26-2013, 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Sahara View Post
Has she had her teeth done recently? At that age a lot of changes are occurring in her mouth.
I second this SO MUCH. My mare's singular sign that she needs her teeth to be done is evading the bit like it sounds like your, the OP's, mare is doing. She'll stick her head out and down, then pull against whatever rein is asking her to do something.
My girl is 28 and this is happening - her mouth is not doing much except loosing tooth surface. Your girl is gaining tooth surface and erupting teeth right now, I can only imagine that her mouth might be a bit sore naturally! haha

I figure, since my mare gets "worse" the longer she goes without having her teeth done, that the pulling is just a knee-jerk reaction to pain - like you would have if someone bumped a bruise on your body.

If your mare hasn't had her teeth done in the last year, I can basically guarantee to you that they probably need to be done - especially given her age.
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post #13 of 18 Old 02-26-2013, 09:20 PM
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Yep. That flat nylon halter can be pinching the insides of her cheeks against sharp points and swollen caps. At that age, horses should have their mouths checked every 6 months.
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post #14 of 18 Old 02-26-2013, 11:00 PM Thread Starter
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I ride bitless because I have a nonprofit youth ranch that works with disadvantaged children. I have taught all my horses to ride with a halter so the children will not hurt their mouth with a bit. I do ride with a bit at times on trails ect.. but I let the children ride in the arena with just a halter. My web site is we are also on facebook under Healing Hearts Horse Rescue and Youth Ranch
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post #15 of 18 Old 02-26-2013, 11:11 PM
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Let's put it this way, I never ride my horses in a rope halter. What may be happening is that halter is rotating and pulling sensitive hairs away from her eyes. I've seen it happen a lot with rope halters. A four year old isn't going to be ridden by children anytime soon. So get her in a snaffle bit and get her trained right, get her understanding collection, use a lot of leg and never let her get her head away from you, but dont haul on her mouth either. After she is finished right, she will ride in anything. In my experience, Most horses that are trained correctly will ride in whatever you have handy..
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post #16 of 18 Old 02-26-2013, 11:12 PM Thread Starter
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All of our other horses do fine with the halter. I had her teeth looked at an she needs to have them floated. I am sure this has something to do with my problem. Thanks again for all the info.
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post #17 of 18 Old 02-26-2013, 11:15 PM
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Some horses will be fine, some won't. Depends on how the hair lays around their eyes, time of year, etc. "All of my other horses do this" is something that drives me nuts. Horses are even more unique than humans.

~Started young horses in Bosca te Ador, unto the two rein the old Spanish spade, brought them along with two hands that were gentle. Some fine reining horses as ever were made~
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post #18 of 18 Old 02-26-2013, 11:22 PM
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hhhryr, I work for a therapy program too, and we also have all the horses working in flat halters for the students. I found often times the buckles of the halters get twisted back and pinch the horse's face, or rub their cheeks where their teeth are. Which is why, those sensitive horses that don't like that (putting their head down is the easiest way to avoid the pressure) I switch them to either Dr. Cook's bitless bridle or sidepulls or Indian Hackamores, which are better designed for riding. Sidepulls and Indian Hackamores are very inexpensive if that's a concern.
I completely understand your situation and even if the horse isn't being bothered by the halter/bridle anymore, the horse could be anticipating it to hurt and avoiding it just in case.
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