ahh FINALLY, no more super-strong horse! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 01-10-2012, 11:27 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Australia
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ahh FINALLY, no more super-strong horse!

sooo, some of you might know I've been having some issues with Monty being super-forward and real strong when we're jumping, and when we're trail riding.

WELL. I finally got it licked. It was simple enough but I'm not sure my coach will approve because he's been totally against me putting a stronger bit in Monty's mouth. Um. Anyway.

I stuck him in a mullen kimblewick. I'm not using the slots at all so there's not much leverage, if any - its action is basically that of a hanging cheek snaffle with a chain. VERY mild curb and poll pressure. He'll work in it on the flat exactly the same as he works in his French link snaffle (but it's not dressage legal so we're sticking with the snaffle for our dressage), it's when we're jumping that the change comes.

He still gets real excited and forward but the kimblewick combined with a few well-timed half halts seems to have totally solved the problem. We're cantering confidently into our fences (I haven't done that since my little grey Welshie this time last year!) in a controlled manner and we can even do related lines without him turning into an idiot.

The biggest change is in me. I am SO much more confident because I know I have more control, and that changes my riding for the better. I think he's responding to that more than the change of bit.

I'm so excited. 2012 is going to be one heck of a year.

Now off I go to finish the last of these jump standards...

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post #2 of 6 Old 01-10-2012, 11:30 AM
Join Date: Feb 2010
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Originally Posted by blue eyed pony View Post

The biggest change is in me. I am SO much more confident because I know I have more control, and that changes my riding for the better. I think he's responding to that more than the change of bit.
I agree, but if it's working then that's great. Next trick is to keep that confidence whatever he has in his mouth. So often I think that we say we have found something that works well for the horse, but in reality it's the change that it has brought to the rider that makes the difference.
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post #3 of 6 Old 01-10-2012, 11:49 AM Thread Starter
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haha yes. And old habits die hard - I learned with the previous two horses to PUSH PUSH PUSH forward when I'm nervous about a fence because they were both very lazy and would stop if they knew I wasn't 100% committed, whereas Monty will jump it no matter what and it's a totally different set of skills that I need with him. I do still sometimes need the leg on/more go if he takes exception to a particular filler but I find it's more a case of correct half-halts and not unintentionally pushing him forward through force of habit.

The bit makes a big difference because I know I can stop him if I really have to, no matter what, without ripping his face off. If I'm not nervous I don't push him forward. It's a vicious cycle because the forward is what makes me nervous in the first place.

My coach was dead against it when I mentioned it to him but it's made such a difference to ME and it's really no harsher on Monty's mouth. In fact if anything it's a more simple action than that of the French link snaffle, spread over more parts of his head, so thinking about it, it could well be softer. But we have more controlled canter and much easier transitions in it so whatever the action, the results are there.

I would like to have him back in the French link for jumping but first off I have to fix my issues. I don't trust him in a snaffle because I've had a nasty fall off him, so I end up pulling on him, which just gives him something to pull against and it makes him worse. With the kimblewick I'm able to release my half-halts without freaking out and that makes all the difference.

I don't know about you but I'd rather be more comfortable in a perceived harsher bit than scared witless in a soft one.

The REAL test will come tomorrow. Well... later today. It's 10 to 1 in the morning so I really should go to bed! Anyway. I'll be riding him along the verge of a busy highway, and that verge just so happens to closely resemble a cross country course. He LOVES cross country, even more than he loves jumping. Should be interesting to see how we go.

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post #4 of 6 Old 01-11-2012, 09:24 AM Thread Starter
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so instead of riding along the highway we went to a barn near us and did some more jumping work. perfect again. staying home tomorrow because I'll be tired after work and then will ride along the highway on Friday.
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post #5 of 6 Old 01-12-2012, 01:32 AM
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I rode my gelding in a plain snaffle when i first bought him. He was really hot and would grab the bit on the flat and over fences. I changed his diet and rode him in a corkscrew gag for about 30 days...
that's all it took. Now i ride him in his snaffle and he's just as responsive as he was when i rode in the gag. Sometimes a new bit and a little time is a BEAUTIFUL thing!

Life seems mighty precious, when there's less of it to waste.
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post #6 of 6 Old 01-12-2012, 05:56 AM Thread Starter
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I totally agree! Monty's no problem at all at home on the flat or in an arena on the flat but trail riding and over fences he does the same thing your gelding used to so I'm hoping that I'll get a similar result. Except for the diet thing, Monty's been the same on about 4 different supposedly non-heating feeding regimes and he's at his most reliable on the high-energy senior feed he's on at the moment. But he still isn't an easy ride if I'm not riding at my best.

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