update on 'where did his mouth go?'

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update on 'where did his mouth go?'

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    04-02-2010, 01:43 AM
update on 'where did his mouth go?'

Some of you might remember the thread I made a couple of weeks back about my green broke qh who all of a sudden seemed to 'lose his mouth'.

Original thread:
where did his mouth go?

Well, I decided to try 'retraining' so to speak using a bitless bridle. For those of you who are going to say it, I know they can be harsh but im a seasoned rider who knows full well how to use such things without inflicting pain or discomfort.

I decided to go back to basics on the ground before I risked my butt in the saddle again and tried driving him in the bitless bridle thinking that taking the pressure away from his mouth may well stop the idiocy which was happening previously.

Nope!!! The moment you ask ANYTHING of him from the bridle he throws his head, pulls the opposite way, struggles and carries on. Put simply I cannot so anything with his head. Nothing at all. Even if I have to pull him back a little when walking him in his halter he will do the same thing

Its starting to become more of an issue because I will not ride him again until I have some form of control. I am however still saddling him and getting on and off both sides so he still remains 'in contact' with the saddle and the feel of me on his back. As mentioned in the other thread, I don't want to hang off his mouth but I need something. He was obviously poorly broken and more issues are starting to come from this now. But in any instance I need to be able to pick up the reins if I need to without him throwing his head and going backwards.

So any ideas from anyone as to why, even in a bitless bridle or halter he is still throwing his head and carrying on and if so, how the kadoodle do I get him past it. P.s. Kadoodle is my word for not swearing. I have a lot of kids around me so I made up my own little 'angry word' lol
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    04-02-2010, 01:52 AM
It's all about the release. I would keep light pressure on the BIT (I hate bitless gimmicks) and just hold it untill he came around and then release. If you release anywhere but where you want him to be then it won't work. Pull on one rein just hard enough to make the horse uncomfortable and get him looking for relief. When his head comes around and his nose is pointed where you need it and he is quiet and his feet are still then release.
    04-02-2010, 01:53 AM
I'm going to beat Rios dad to posting this, and parrot what wild_spot said in the previous thread. You don't get a soft horse by being soft all of the time. Sometimes you just have to sit the horse on its a$$. You might have to use something other than a french link to get his attention and make him remember he has a brain in his head.
    04-02-2010, 02:43 AM
Thats pretty much my technique kevin ;) its not so much that he doesnt know what to do because he does, its more that he fights everything that happens around his head. I think bitless is a good idea. I don't have a gimicky bridle just a rope one with rings on the side. I do get what you are saying though

A brain in his head??!! Lol if he had that he would be dangerous hahaha im trying not to be too full on with him because he really did go to a bad trainer who was very rough and physical with him. I did not know he was like this otherwise I wouldnt have sent him to him. Since he came home he almost loses his mind at getting in trouble so I have to try and work around that and change my tactics a bit. I feel like if I put a harsher bit in his mouth he is only going to act up more. The harshest I have here though is a snaffle lol I have never had need for harsh bits as I usually work through issues without applying a harsher bit. I also personally, don't think the bit itself is the issue when he exhibits exactly the same behaviour with no bit.

Im not soft with him all the time. I go through the process. I ask softly and nicely then get progresssively harder until my desired goal is reached, then instant release.

Its hard to explain exactly what he is like without everyone having seen him and how he reacts and his state of mind since he came home. While he obviously has issues relating to his head in a way I think there is a lot of mental type issues behind it as well.

Someone said to put him out for a break for a bit but I don't know if 1) that's going to help his mouth and 2) whether or not its a good idea to put a 4 year old stud out for a break after only just being broken in, poorly, and coming home only 4 days after first being backed.

I dunno
    04-02-2010, 02:50 AM
Originally Posted by jazzyrider    
I also personally, don't think the bit itself is the issue when he exhibits exactly the same behaviour with no bit.
Some horses are just not a fan of bitless bridles and the pressure it puts on the face and poll. If he is head shy like you say, that might compound the issue. What kind of bitless bridle was it? Have you tried simply riding him around in the round pen with a halter and some reins attached?

Putting him on a break might work, but it would have to be a considerable break...6 months or more. In the mean time he'd get more studly, assuming you didn't work him regularly.
    04-02-2010, 02:51 AM
Yeah I know some might just not like the pressue, what im looking at more is the fact that its exactly the same response whether bit or bitless.

Its just a rope halter with rings on the side knots. I was thinking about just using a halter. Ill try that tonight on the long lines.
    04-02-2010, 02:56 AM
Originally Posted by jazzyrider    
yeah I know some might just not like the pressue, what im looking at more is the fact that its exactly the same response whether bit or bitless.

Its just a rope halter with rings on the side knots. I was thinking about just using a halter. Ill try that tonight on the long lines.
LOL the reason I asked is a halter basically pressure-free (a web halter moreso than a rope halter) unless you're yanking on it. If he still acts batty then he might just be fighting the pressure from your cues.
    04-02-2010, 02:56 AM
I am going to assume by "bit less bridle" you are speaking of what I would call a side pull. For a green horse, I think they are very nice to use.

This is really an easy fix. Just slow things waaayyyy down. Sometimes slower is faster. Even if you are taking 10 steps back to try to just catch up to where you were.

Begin at a stand still. Ask for the nose slightly to one side and HOLD. I am talking an inch. The instant he gives, release. Do this a 1000 times or more on each side progressing as fast as HE allows. Repeat repeat repeat. You want to reach the point that he easily brings his head to your toe and doesn't jerk it back from your hands when he feels you releasing. He should begin to hold his head tipped the direction you have asked him to give.

Then advance to the walk. Just move him in a large circle and ask lightly for a nose tip to the inside. Keep your leg at the girth to to hold him on the circle and not allow him to drop his shoulder and cut inside YOUR circle. Continue 1000 or more times, he should be able to walk with his head tipped to his shoulder IF you ask.

Then make the exercise harder and ask him to tip his head outside the circle. Remember to start small, an inch. And ask for more as he progresses. When you ask for that inch, do not release until he gives his head and is soft on the bit. But the instant he gives, make sure you release, that is the reward he is looking for.

Once your guy flexes both directions easily (this could take a week, or a month or more depending on circumstances), you can then ask for flexing right to left, left to right softly and easily. At that point you can begin to ask for verticle flexation.

Now if I take a horse to this point, and it gives its face to me easily left to right I know its soft enough to be able to flex at the poll. But the horse may resist and attempt to throw its head and test its bounderies. It is okay for the horse to test... But I hold my hands steady to the pressure and continue to ask as I drive the horse forward with my legs. If I am afraid things may get out of hand, I can always go back to the side to side exercise the horse is familure with and relax him and get him to cooperate, then ask for the verticle flexation again.

You stated you guy was green broke, I think he is just testing his bounderies and the two of you will be fine. I think its more important for you to be comfortable with your training sessions and you feel secure that you aren't going to get yourself in a wreck. Smart thinking!

One last thing, you mention him throwing his head and going "backwards". Last thing I want is a horse throwing his head UP and setting back on his hocks. Feels way to much like a prep for a rear or for me to feel good. What "I" would do if after doing all I have said above, then moving into the flexation if this were to begin to occur I would ask for a change in direction. For instance, lets say I am walking a straight line asking head side to side and all is well. So instead of going side to side I move it right to straight ahead (but flexed at the poll). Lets say my mount gets nervous at this point and begins to flip the nose and I feel the weight shifting back... I would just continue the nose tip to the direction I had been going and ask the horse to follow its nose FOREWARD in that direction.

I hope this makes sense...
    04-02-2010, 03:18 PM
Their could be a number of factors as to why he is behaving this way. It is hard to diagnose or give advice when you don't actually see or properly understand the situation. We only know what you are telling us, we then try and understand from what you are saying, what the horse is telling us. I do not believe the bit has anything to do with your problem. Nor do I think the saddle or any of your tack have to do with the situation, it seems like you know what you are doing in that category.

When correcting this behavior my question would be, are you being assertive? Some synonyms of the word assertive are confident, firm, or even aggressive. What I mean by this is when the horse tosses his head or acts out against what you ask him, what do you do? Do you take a step back and calm him down before asking for it again? Or do you get his feet moving or give a firm tug. This horse needs to be taught white and black, when he does what you ask the white is pure and comfortable. When he tosses his head (does he know this is wrong?) he needs to understand immediately that is something you don't like. You do this by being an assertive leader, confidently and aggressively getting him to understand you didn't approve of his actions. If you are working from the ground and he doesn't do what you are asking, and starts tossing his head. I would give a firm tug on the lead rope and get his feet moving. Get him to trot a few circles then ask him again to turn. If he tosses his head and pulls back, get after him!

He will learn the quickest this way, this horse apparently believes he can get away with things. From what I have read this is a matter of respect not of lightness in the mouth, it isn't that he is responding slowly to you asking for something with the bit. Instead he rebels, pulls back, or tosses his head, teach him that if he does this, it will be ultimately uncomfortable. Teaching correctly can be the greatest form of love.
    04-02-2010, 07:04 PM
Toymanator, small contradiction in your post.

"When he tosses his head (does he know this is wrong?)"
"this is a matter of respect ~~~ he rebels, pulls back, or tosses his head"

BTW, I agree with both statements. I believe you to mean for Jazzyrider to have clear cues and punishment to resistance. That way he will understand when he is doing wrong. His "rebelling, pulling back, tossing his head" is occuring due to the behavior working in his favor. He behaves that way, and the end result is that he wins and Jazzyrider leaves him alone. Jazzyrider is no longer calling the shots, hince a "lack of respect".

Correct me if I am wrong. :)

I disagree with this statement though...

"this is a matter of respect not of lightness in the mouth"

A horse soft in the mouth is a willing partner, not a horse throwing his head in the air when he feels rein contact. I stand by my post to go back to basics and get very black and white with the cues to accept the bit pressure. Be firm but fair. Make the horse's WIN be the same as the rider's WIN, aka relaxing the jaw and giving the face.

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