Re-installing Brakes - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 25 Old 09-20-2009, 07:25 PM Thread Starter
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Re-installing Brakes

So this is a bit of an on-going saga. My best friend has a pony called Pepper. He has a lot of problems! I don’t think he has been treated very well in the past. It’s kind of hard to know where to start.

His biggest problem is the bit. I have a feeling that he has been horribly treated by one in the past… He has a scar and a chunk out of his lower lip that no-one knows the origins of. When you put a bit in this horses mouth, he just turns into this bundle of nerves. He brings his head up and back, braces against it, chews, sometimes shakes his head… of course there are moments when he relaxes but they are few and far between. He just works himself up into a nervous sweat, and sometimes has what we call ‘brain explosions’ where he just tunes out and almost has a fit, with all his legs moving in different directions, and his head bobbing and shaking. He is also extremely hard mouthed. She rides him in a snaffle as much as possible, but has to put him in a kimberwick (without slots) for mounted games/polocrosse etc. We have tried a million different bits to try and find something he is comfortable in. Single jointed, double jointed, mullen, rubber, copper, stainless, sweet iron… I think ported is the only thing we haven’t tried because we don’t have/have access to one. She has now started to ride him without a bit, as he is just getting harder and harder to pull up. She rides in a halter but has ordered a mechanical hack so that if he has one of his moments she has a bit of oomph to pull him up for her own safety. He is also ridden in a head check or rings all the time, otherwise it is just impossible to do anything.

Now… I know that head checks/rings aren’t ideal, are only quick fixes, etc. The thing is, we don’t know what the problem is to fix it. He has been chiropractored, massaged, lasered, teeth done, checked for pain, saddle fitted, feet done regularly… The only thing we can think of is a mental block.

It has kind of come to a head because at polocrosse on the weekend he bolted… She was pulling him up and he was flinging his legs around so much that he tripped and fell from full speed, and threw her. They both are ok, but it could have been SO much worse.

So, does anyone have ideas? He is incredibly strong, I’ll attach a picture so you can see how short and thick his neck is, and how he carries it. The problem is my friend isn’t much of a ground work/flatwork person. Well, she does flatwork, but she is different o me in that she doesn’t insist on things like bend, or straightness… I hate riding Pepper because 1. He is stiff as a board. Partly his conformation but partly his habit of bracing against the bit, he doesn’t have any bend in his body, ever. 2. He doesn’t travel between your leg and hand. He wobbles all over the place, shoots in front of your hand, blows out on corners, etc. Both things I HATE.

So yeah. Any advice is appreciated and will be suggested to my friend. We are pretty much willing to try anything to get him happy, comfortable and stoppable.

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post #2 of 25 Old 09-20-2009, 08:22 PM Thread Starter
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Oops, forgot the picture!
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File Type: jpg polox4.JPG (87.1 KB, 89 views)

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post #3 of 25 Old 09-20-2009, 08:22 PM
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Groundwork. That is what he needs, good, gentle, consistent groundwork. :)

You could long rein or work in hand to teach him respond to the bit and stay calm, but it's just a different way to teach bending, flexing and relaxation to th bit.

For groundwork tho I do not in any circmstanses recommend s mechanical hackamore as it is really bad for the things he needs the most; bending, flexing and yielding. I'd prefer a riding cavesson or a sidepull, it's much better for tht kind of riding. I wouldn't fight any more with the bit since she's so stressed out from it and probably just can't learn with that kind of mental block.


Always keep your head up, but be careful to keep your nose at a friendly level.


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post #4 of 25 Old 09-20-2009, 08:33 PM Thread Starter
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^ The problem is that without a person on top, he is fine. Relaxed, etc. It's only when you get on and strat riding that he gets nervous/jittery/bracy etc.

He is also really good to pony in a bridle, really responsive, doesn't run, etc. It's so frustrating.

I also agree that a hack is not ideal for groundwork. If I can convince her to try some then it wil be done in the bridle.

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post #5 of 25 Old 09-20-2009, 08:42 PM
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Working in hand is basically to do everything you do mounted (including piaffe and canter piuettes ;) ) but in hand. It would make him stronger and he would know what to do and how to properly respond to the bit and light pressure :)

But, if he's nice when you're walking next to him, start over. Walk next to him, make some walk-halt-perhaps trot transisions. Put on a rider and do it all over with a passive rider (i.e. you do the work with him and your friend just sit there) untill he's relaxed with that. Then the rider starts giving orders while you're just there as support. When he's relaxed and ok with that, step further away untill he's relaxed with the rider alone.
The big thing is to keep him calm and trust the rider.


Always keep your head up, but be careful to keep your nose at a friendly level.


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post #6 of 25 Old 09-20-2009, 08:54 PM
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If he is fine with a bit on the ground, perhaps put him in a bridle with a gentle bit and a halter with lead ropes. Ride with the bit on, but steer with the halter. Gradually (only as fast as he is calm and comfortable) transition to steering with the bit. This could take weeks or even months, just take it at his pace
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post #7 of 25 Old 09-20-2009, 09:02 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
But, if he's nice when you're walking next to him, start over. Walk next to him, make some walk-halt-perhaps trot transisions. Put on a rider and do it all over with a passive rider (i.e. you do the work with him and your friend just sit there) untill he's relaxed with that. Then the rider starts giving orders while you're just there as support. When he's relaxed and ok with that, step further away untill he's relaxed with the rider alone.
The big thing is to keep him calm and trust the rider.
He is also fine with a person walking next to him, as he was used solely as a lead-rein pony for a young kid for a few years.

He is generally ok at a walk, unless you have already done something that gets him going.

Quote:
If he is fine with a bit on the ground, perhaps put him in a bridle with a gentle bit and a halter with lead ropes. Ride with the bit on, but steer with the halter. Gradually (only as fast as he is calm and comfortable) transition to steering with the bit. This could take weeks or even months, just take it at his pace
Forgot to say, he sometimes still gets nervous and kittery with the halter, but far less often and not as bad.

Ugh, to me it seems like the best thing to do would be to give him a few months off, then bring him back in and start as if he was unbroken. But he is friends only horse and we have state MG coming up, as well as a few other big events.

I'll see if I can get her to try some ground work with him. What equipment do you need for ground driving? Bridle, long reins, and that girth thingy with the rings? (can't remember the name!) I'm also not sure if he lunges, so may be somehting else to try.

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post #8 of 25 Old 09-20-2009, 09:06 PM
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Giving Pepper a brake sounds good, if 'she' whats she can probs use Buddy for amga... doubt she'd want to but maybe...
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post #9 of 25 Old 09-20-2009, 09:08 PM
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Quote:
He is also fine with a person walking next to him, as he was used solely as a lead-rein pony for a young kid for a few years.

He is generally ok at a walk, unless you have already done something that gets him going.
Then you have a good base. You say he gets nervous when the rider gets on, then keep the leader there if he's calm with a leader. If not, have the rider passive untill he is calm, first then ask the rider to actually ride, still with you there, when he's still calm with that, gradually step away. Voila, suddenly you have a relaxed horse alone with a rider.
You can work like this in trot and canter too, just make sure he's calm and relaxed before you go to a new step.



Quote:
I'll see if I can get her to try some ground work with him. What equipment do you need for ground driving? Bridle, long reins, and that girth thingy with the rings? (can't remember the name!) I'm also not sure if he lunges, so may be somehting else to try.
You only need a bridle and reins, a whip, and some knowledge. Work in hand isn't exactly the same as ground driving tho.
A video of work in hand, or long reining, rather than ground driving :)
I hope you'll notice the diferenses.


Always keep your head up, but be careful to keep your nose at a friendly level.



Last edited by Zab; 09-20-2009 at 09:12 PM.
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post #10 of 25 Old 09-20-2009, 09:22 PM Thread Starter
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I do a small amount of work in hand with my horse, bending/flexing, lateral movements etc. I think I just got confused because I see that as more general ground work and long lining/ground driving as very seperate.

Can't see youtube videos on this computer so will have to wait until I get home, but thankyou.

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