My horse needs to relax. - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 12-04-2007, 03:31 PM Thread Starter
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My horse needs to relax.

I just recently bought a 7 y/o OTTB. She definately a forward horse. She is fine and holds her head really low when i don't have any contact, but brings her head up and tenses when i pick up the reins. I have trotted on the buckle but she was really fast and had her head up were she normally has it when I have contact. Her tack fits fine and she holds her head this high when being lunged and free lunged too. How can I teach her to be relaxed and balanced with and without contact?
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post #2 of 4 Old 12-04-2007, 03:44 PM
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Well you need to give him time to let down and relax in his new off-the- track surroundings especially if he is racing fit and hasn't been turned out on a farm for awhile. I never used anything more than a medium thickness loose ring French snaffle (2 joints - 3 pieces 2 regular snaffle pieces connect by smaller middle section - not a Dr. Bristol which is more severe) and a flash nose band with my off the track thoroughbreds. The loose ring is good because it will slide and they might not grab the bit as easily. The flash helps keep the mouth closed which also aids in not letting them grab that bit. The double jointed bit puts pressure in areas of the mouth that they aren't used to so they seem to respond better...different feel, different expectations... The worst thing you can do is keep a tight hold on them because then they just want to go faster, also keep you hands quiet because changing holds on the reins is a signal to go faster when they are galloping. Most of the horses on the track are used to being taken a hold of and the hardest thing for a rider to do is actually use light contact because you are sitting there thinking "If I'm going this fast and I have a good hold if I give him some rein I'll end up in the next county." But that is what you have to do works. Have fun they are the best horses in my opinion.

This was a post from the site below, hope it helps.
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post #3 of 4 Old 12-04-2007, 08:17 PM
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I, too, would suggest getting a double jointed snaffle. My horse has issues with contact as well. Anytime I pick up contact his head comes up and he hollows his back out. I use the JP by Korsteel Oval Mouth Copper Loose Ring snaffle. He loves that bit.

So what I've been doing is "combing" the reins to get him confident with contact. This should ONLY be done in a DOUBLE jointed snaffle. Basically you slide the reins through your hands, in a hand-over-hand motion, and having a light contact. The more your horse resists, the more drag you put in the reins. When she puts her head down release the reins completely and rub her. Do this first at the halt, then walk, then trot, but NOT at the canter. After she gets the idea, don't release the reins completely when she reaches for the bit, just keep a nice, light, flowing feel on the reins.

Be prepared for this to take quite some time. She needs to become confident with contact, so be patient. Also, I would NOT suggest using a flash noseband. It's just a band aid and covers up the actual problem, in my opinion.
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post #4 of 4 Old 12-05-2007, 02:03 AM
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yeah, I didn't know much about this but don't use things to cover things up. Heal it. No band aids.

I've combed the reins before on a horse that sticks his head up, its a great way to get them to relax and round up!
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