Training My Mare - The Horse Forum
 
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post #1 of 9 Old 01-18-2009, 02:31 AM Thread Starter
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Exclamation Training My Mare

Hi I have a Thoroughbbred Mare thats 16 going on 17 is she to old to be trained to hack and low dressage...
I have been tryin to train her to flex so i pull on the rains and say head in and she does flex but she just flings her head up and shackes it around no sooner afterwards... what do i do
When i walk she will flex for about 10 sec in the walk and the she will shack her head again....
when she is joggin aka sit trotting and rise trotting she flexs and then it goes back up
when cantering she is perfect she just holds the flex and does not do a thing wrong...
what can i do to fix the walk and trot so she will flex all the time... i have tryed once she has flex reward her but its not seeming to work.. also i have a just a normal snaffle bit could that have something to do with it... what should i do to maintain her flex... or should i just send her to a trainer to fix the problem but the thing is i dont wanna spend to much
Regards Nina
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post #2 of 9 Old 01-19-2009, 12:07 AM
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I would try using a standing martingle or side reins. Also, when she flxes let your hands go forward a little bit and loosen up just a LITTLE bit so she realizes she is doing something right, it is kind of like a reward. I wouldn't hold her head down like that. It takes time for a horse to keep its head down and everything because it take ALOT of muscle.
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post #3 of 9 Old 01-19-2009, 01:40 AM
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couldnt have said it better myself "eralcx3"!!!!!!!
good luck with your horse ninasocks!!!!!

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post #4 of 9 Old 01-19-2009, 08:18 AM
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Because of her age and lack of schooling, she's likely to be quite stiff, so it's probably just a case of working on suppling exercises and letting her get there slowly. Try big circles, spiralling down to small ones and back again. Side reins might help, as eralcx3 suggested. You could also try a Harbridge, which is a training aid that clips on the bit rings. It acts like a standing martingale, but it's got elastic in it so it has some "give" - if she likes to get her head up, this might suit her better that a straight standing martingale.

Good luck!
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post #5 of 9 Old 01-19-2009, 08:57 PM
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Artificial aids will not solve your problem, but merely cover it up.

I would recommend asking her to flex then when she does drop the reins. Keep doing this at every gait. Then you can start asking her to hold it for two seconds at a time. Keep doing that until she really understands it and then gradually ask her to keep her head flexed for longer.

This is teaching her to soften and give to the bit. When she tosses her head it's her fighting the bit and not giving to it.

I hope that helps, if you need more explanation just ask
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post #6 of 9 Old 01-19-2009, 10:54 PM
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She's not too old to learn, but remember that if competing in hack classes younger horses may look and move better than her, depending of course how she looks for her age. Dressage is just the basis of riding and any horse can learn it.

When you say flex I'm not sure what you because it sounds like you want her to soften and go "on the bit". Remember that being on the bit isn't just about head carriage, its how their frame rounds up so its about their whole body.

I wouldn't use a martingale. Firstly, as far as I know, you can't use them in the dressage ring, and if you could use them in the hack ring it would probably count against. Secondly, its not going to fix any problem, its just going to hold her head down.

I would do lots of circles and transitions, she should be able to do everything in a snaffle, I wouldn't go to anything harder. Try and get her responding to very light hand aids and make sure you don't try to pull her onto a contact. You might have to start getting her relaxed and working with her head down on a longer rein then one she can consistently hold that start shortening the reins little by little and lifting her head up.

As others have said, having right outline takes a lot of new muscle and if a horse is not used to it they can hold it for very short times.
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post #7 of 9 Old 02-28-2009, 07:13 PM
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I'd say just practice to build up her muscle, when she does as you as release the pressure so she knows she did what you wanted from her.
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post #8 of 9 Old 02-28-2009, 09:15 PM
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1. have her teeth checked by an equine dentist - sounds like issue could be dental.
2. have her saddle fit checked.
3. sounds to me like she's likely false framing at the canter, and isn't truly flexing - if she's not flexing at the w/t, which is easier, then i highly doubt it's correct at the canter based on my past experience with horses.
4. also try a three piece bit - some horses don't like a simple snaffle as it can poke the roof of their mouth and be rather painful, as can the nutcracker action. A simple three piece such as a french link (NOT a Dr. Bristol as those are rather harsh) may make a huge difference. I have a TB who will freak out in a simple snaffle, but put him in a french link or a mullen mouth (his pelham is a mullen) and he's a totally different horse!

Good luck!

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post #9 of 9 Old 02-28-2009, 10:53 PM
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I'll have to agree with CJ8Sky. I would NOT use any artificial aid...that will only hide the problem, not fix it.
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