Training and bit help on Arab

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Training and bit help on Arab

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    09-24-2013, 01:47 PM
Training and bit help on Arab

Ok, I am going to give you his story, hopefully it will help. Jitterbug is an 18 year old, late gelded Arabian. He is 14 hands, intelligent and very headstrong. His previous owners gave him NO training other than to slap a poorly fitting saddle on, put a heavy rider on till he stopped bucking, put on a horrific bit and run barrels until he became too wild for anyone to ride, then dump him in a rocky field. I met him at the barn I rode at, and bonded with him to the point that I was the only person he would allow to catch and ride him. I bought him (the owners just wanted him gone) and have been training him for some low level dressage, and some small jumping (he loves it). He is working on getting His head down, and accepting contact. The main problem is he does not yield to leg pressure very well, and he bolts at the canter. He is in a D ring snaffle with rubber bars, which he likes but I have problems stopping him with. He can now be ridden safely by experienced, light handed riders and is much friendlier in the pasture to other people. Does anyone have any tips for getting him to move off my leg, or to get him to accept the bit? And what other bits might I try? He is vet approved for what I am asking, but is bored quickly with schooling. For the record, I am relatively young, have him at a barn with plenty of experienced dressage and eventing people, and have a trainer. I am a relatively experienced rider, but this is new to me. He has already made so much positive progress, but any help is appreciated. :) and I'm not sure if it matters or not, but he is barefoot.
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    09-24-2013, 01:50 PM
He is also very stiff and unwilling to the left.
    09-24-2013, 01:53 PM
Retraining takes about 10x as long as training. Despite the idiots that owned and pretended to train him, it is understandable that he is not a good candidate at the moment.
I suggest that you start him over like a colt, and fix every hole in his training.
Your expectations should be small, like expecting him to be a decent riding horse at some point, in an arena, and MAYBE in about 2 years, you MIGHT get him trail riding. Right now I wouldn't get on this horse for a winning lottery ticket!
"Corporal" (1982-2009, RIP) was a 4yo Arabian when I bought him and paid $5 more than the meat market. He was young enough to start and I had him at a small CW Event after 2 months of CONSTANT training. Even rode him there on a snaffle and an English saddle.
18yo horses are nearing retirement. I know it's a romantic notion to think that you fix this horse, but I suspect he will just become an experimental project, and you won't be satisfied with the results. I suspect you will just make him a pasture pet.
Still, it is fun to take on projects, so good luck.
    09-24-2013, 01:56 PM
Arabs are super smart. My own arabs knows sometimes what I want before I even know. First you need to get him supple. He sounds super stiff. Start doing bending work on the ground. Lots of yielding hind end and for end. Also if he does not respect your leg you need to get your paint across. Start on the ground. Use a whip. Start out nicely. Ask him to step over or walk forward. If he does not get it ask harder. Keeping asking upping the pressure till he moves. Then stop and reward. Now about the canter. I am working with a arab mare now who has the same problem. She is super bad at the canter. Can't keep the lead. Throws a fit....etc When you ask for the canter and he throws a fit turn his head into the fence. I know it sounds mean. But soon he will learn if he takes off and starts his fit his nose goes into the fence. Some horses don't get the point across and till they know you mean business. Once he understands that. Canter him in a nice large circle. Do lots of stopping, yielding. All of this putts lots of thinking into his little brain. He will get it one day. Also try using a bit with more tung room. Most arabs because of there small mouth don't like any bits tat give a nut cracker feel.
    09-24-2013, 01:57 PM
Green Broke
What about getting him out of the rubber bit, and into a thinner metal D?

Have his teeth been done? Has he seen a chiropractor? One you rule out discomfort as a cause for the inflexibility, he needs to do more work in that direction to loosen him up.
    09-24-2013, 02:03 PM
Thank you. And I can (and do) trail ride him, he is a dream outside the arena, he is just about impossible to spook (think big tractor miraculously appearing beside you near a creek, he just looked at it). He has never bucked me (except when I got on bareback, didn't do it right and he kinda hopped forward), but he has other people (including his previous owner). I should also point out that I have only had him 5 months, and he is like a different horse. And I realize that he will never be a well behaved show horse, but I don't really care. I worked with him a bit before I bought him, and he has excellent ground manners.
    09-24-2013, 02:06 PM
He has not seen a chiro (I'm too poor ATM), but I had all his shots, a full exam and his teeth floated 4 months ago. And he has no issue with changing leads, I didn't know he could do it and it scared my when he switched as I turned. Thanks!
    09-24-2013, 02:35 PM
Sorry, the "bolts at a canter" gave me the impression he wasn't a safe trial horse, but who am I to tell you what to do.
    09-24-2013, 02:41 PM
The thing is, when I ask him to canter he charges ahead, and then slows down with a bit of fighting. Sorry if I used the wrong term, and your help and experience are greatly appreciated. If I use a term incorrectly, just point it out or ask for clarification, I am a (comparatively) inexperienced teenage girl. :) and for reasons unknown, he only displays these bad behaviors in the ring.
    09-24-2013, 02:49 PM
I would do a full pain check first. Chiro, massage, saddle fitting, and full vet exam. Then, I would exactly what was already mentioned and start over at square one. I grew up riding Arabians and in your situation, no one would be riding him for at least a few months. Lunge line work, and then ground driving would both be solid before anyone got on him. By riding him at this point, you're basically only reinforcing the bad behaviors. If he's changes leads without being told to do, then he's not even really ready to safely canter.
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