The problem with Arabs... - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 37 Old 02-15-2010, 07:25 PM
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That sucks about the snow! I know your pain...we don't get out riding as often as we would like in the winter because of the snow!
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post #12 of 37 Old 02-15-2010, 07:29 PM
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^ I feel your pain sister! Bloody ay-rabs :p

Wildey did the same for the longest time. Of course I got him as a green 5yo when I was a green 10yo - What better combination could you find! So for a long time we struggled around with his head in my lap and my hands in the air. Sometimes I could see his entire blaze in front of me his head went so high. We made do. Then someone suggested a martingale - On it went, and yep, it helped. I learnt how things should feel without that arab head in the clouds. Slowly we both got better.

Nowadays - He really only flips his head if you catch him off guard with an aid or he doesn't want to stop out on the trail.

I don't think it is something you can completely get rid of in an arab that has the habit - It's just too natural for them.

I manage Wildey quite well by anticipating the signs of an impending head flip and shutting him down before it happens. I use one rein, hard, to say HEY! Back to earth! - He brings his head back down and looks cranky for a few strides but then continues on ok. Doing this consistently has really helped - I can ride him 99% of the time without any head flips.

I still put a martingale (super loose) on when other people ride him as they can't pick the signs like I can. When it's on he doesn't even try.

An idea on the straight lines thing - Can you get her two tracking/shoulder in? I.e. head facing left, shoulders moving right? If so - You could try moving onto a straight line and as soon as she goes to flip flex that head around and keep the body going the same way, and don't let her stop. When she relaxes again, let her straighten out, and repeat if it happens again. It will put a bend in her body/neck similar to a circle but still maintain the line.

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post #13 of 37 Old 02-15-2010, 07:33 PM
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The pulley rein is usually used as a back up for if she doesn't listen to traditional slow down aids (ie leaning back, pressure on the outside rein). Since her mind isn't listening, the pulley rein makes her body listen. I have used it with great success on a jumping Appendix who liked to go from canter to gallop all the time(similar to your situation, controllable in circles but would speed up on straight lines), starting at the walk and then practicing at the canter. They will start to pick up on your normal slow down aids because they know that if they don't they will have to stop anyways with something stronger. It works well if you use it for transitions, ie asking for the trot, she speeds up, you stop with the pulley then trot again until she can trot without speeding up and slows down with light sensitive aids instead of an abrupt pulley rein. Think of your normal aids as the brake, while the pulley rein is your emergency brake. Make sure that you know the mechanics of the pulley rein before you try it by looking around for pictures, explanations, and videos of it being used.

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Last edited by roro; 02-15-2010 at 07:36 PM.
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post #14 of 37 Old 02-15-2010, 07:38 PM
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If she goes well in a hackamore, ride her in a hackamore...

Ω Horses are a projection of peoples dreams Ω
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post #15 of 37 Old 02-15-2010, 07:45 PM
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^ There are many, many situations where a hackamore isn't the right choice, and sometimes not allowed. I would not buy a horse who could only be ridden in a hackamore.

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post #16 of 37 Old 02-15-2010, 07:57 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks a ton wild_spot! Haha, I was hoping you'd post - you know exactly what I'm talking about. I'd never put it off as an "Arab problem", it's just an issue that arises more in Arabs. It's not an issue I've ever really seen in say, stock horse for example.

Sorry I made it sound like she's "running away" - she just gets SO headstrong, that you're left not being able to do anything but concentrate on wrestling her down to a manageable canter.

I'm going to try the shoulder in techniques - she's very well trained to leg pressure, and I think you're right, I need to keep that busy Arab mind on something OTHER then "YAY RUNNING!"

Honeysuga - realistically, I probably could. But we like to jump her in summer, and Shay-la has taken a real interest in English and she's the ONLY remotely English trained horse we have on the property She's a fanatastic little mover when she behaves, it's just been about six years now since any real English training was done on her. The way we fixed it in the past was with draw reins and I was curious if there was an alternative method.

I hope God tells her to smash her computer with a sledgehammer.

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post #17 of 37 Old 02-15-2010, 08:12 PM
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Oh god no! I would probably faint in shock if Bundy lifted his head much higher than his wither! I had to get used to riding a whole different way going from Wildey's Arab head carriage, to Bundy with his head-on-the-ground stock horse carriage! I still get a bit unnerved by really low head carriage!

The shoulder-in idea is great - It has so many applications. It's great for arabs because when they have that bend through their body/neck they can't physically get the head up. It's funny how improving lateral flexion usually fixes a lot of vertical flexion issues. So many people (Myself a few years ago included!) underestimate the importance of lateral exercises.

Last edited by wild_spot; 02-15-2010 at 08:14 PM. Reason: so many typos!
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post #18 of 37 Old 02-15-2010, 08:49 PM
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I have two thoughts.

Do you have enough room to serpentine or big figure-8's? If you do, I'm not thinking of a fancy serpentine but rather, take her in a circle and then let her go straight for a stride or so, just enough to show her she's going straight, but not giving her enough time to bolt off like a maniac, and bring her into a circle the other direction. Hopefully, this should keep her occupied enough that she doesn't want to bolt. And, you should be able to increase the amount of time you can go straight before you have to circle again. Just try to catch her and get her in a circle BEFORE you "lose" control.

My second thought is doing tons of transitions. I know it's boring to walk around and stopping every several strides for twenty minutes, but it's the best way to "fix" most any problem. So lots of transitions. Walk, stop, walk, trot, stop, trot, walk, stop, trot... you get the idea. Hopefully reminding her how to "yield" to the pressure of the bit. =]

I also concur with your idea of ceasing to canter until she's better at the trot. Good luck!

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post #19 of 37 Old 02-16-2010, 10:11 AM
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*giggles* Zierra's version of running away with a rider is comparable to a 3 year old trying to steal a cookie before dinner...she tries, but it's almost never something that she "gets away with". There's always a way to stop her, but out on the trail during a ride, who wants to have to hold up the group by doing circles in the field?

I do think ALOT of loose rein transitions will be very helpful. I also think she was catching onto the one rein stops, but like Moki said, the footing just isn't good enough to continue with that method. I do not think that just giving her her head and letting her get it out of her system will teach her anything except she gets to run...this mare LIVES to gallop. Most horses see stopping as a reward, it seems a punishment to this mare. I swear she'd do somersaults if it meant she could since stopping is such a punishment in Zierra's mind, I figured loose reins would be her reward at this point, worry about picking up a contact again later once she's stopped eating jet fuel for breakfast. (sarcasm)

Moki was not trying to say this is an "arab problem", but merely compounded and reinforced by her naturally high set neck and head carriage. The pictures she posted should say it all...I think the only time I really see her head DOWN is when she's eating. That being said, the only horse out of our 8 that can hold a candle to Zierra's head set is my mom's QH/arab mare, she does the same darn thing but there are different circumstances to fixing that one. Long story made really short, my mom doesn't want us riding her because we're "teaching" her these things and we got sick of being blamed for all her behavioral issues. Just used that mare as an example that she's the only other horse on the property that has some of the same issues, and she's half arab.

It's been crazy getting used to my Clydie X's head set after years of riding said QH/arab and welsh ponies...every time she dropped her head I'd get worried she was getting ready to throw a buck...when in reality, that's just where she carries her head. It's quite the change. I'd LOVE to see Zierra RELAXED at the canter...she's always so "go-go-go" that it's either trot or gallop. I think my main focus at this point will be to get her to relax - lots of walk, trot, whoa transitions and I like the cut out canter entirely at this point. Once she's relaxed at the trot and not rushing it, whoa is solid with minimal movement, reintroduce the canter. We'll get there!

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post #20 of 37 Old 02-16-2010, 10:17 AM
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Originally Posted by MacabreMikolaj View Post
As a note, she's almost 100% controllable if you have a tie down on her. This is obviously a quickfix, but what I'm saying is that it's her getting that nose into the air that is the entire problem. When she has a tiedown on, she listens, she doesn't get over excited, and she's very soft in the mouth. I gamed her this past summer in a snaffle and had a perfect whoa on her.
Which to me points to a balance issue. Ropers, gamers, etc put tie downs on for the horse to balance itself.
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