Potential bit problem
The equipment: I've used the same bit on my 27 year old Tb for about 8 years now, I keep it incredibly clean and it shows only slight signs of use. I have recently (within the past year) changed her bridle, however, and I'm worried I might have not set it exactly as my old one was.
The behavior: She's great about putting the bridle on, getting to the ring, getting on. We have no significant problems with stopping except that she's large a bit too forward moving sometimes and it takes her a while to get there. She's got a beautiful flex left, and her flex to the right has never been as good (I've been told many times horses often have a better side) we can get there but recently I've been noticing she tosses her head when I initially ask her for bend.
What I've done so far: I've watch TONS of bridle fitting videos, checked in my own books asked the barn folks, all say we're relatively correct, I've got two wrinkles in the corner of her mouth, no banging on her teeth that I know of... no issues on the left.... At the end of our rides I ask her to bend all the way till her nose almost touches my outstretched boot (apparently a good flexibility move and something I've done for years) and she resists more on the right than the left. This has not always been the case...
I'm stumped! Any ideas?
are you sure age diesn't have a teeth problem? did tou change your weight or attitude in the saddle? it is strange she's changing after all this time, simply for a change of bridle. do you hold them differently?
Yes, Vet is coming for shots and I'm checking to see if she needs her teeth floated. Age is a definite possibility. Thank you!
Grats to you for having a well-functioning and loved 27 year old!
My first question would be: Have you had her teeth checked as of late? Most likely not the problem because of her age, but never hurts to check for sharp points, abrasions, etc.
Next I would ask if she has had any chiropractic care in the last year or two? Could be a recent adjustment has caused some stiffness. Even more likely, if she has not had an adjustment, her new bit may be causing her to carry herself a bit differently, causing stiffness in muscles she has not used before (or in a long time).
Lastly, has she gained or lost any weight? Your saddle fit could be off, causing tenderness that may go away with muscles warming up, and when asking for a deep flex/bend, could be pushed back into a painful state.
Best of luck, and be sure to keep us updated!
Aside from the things the others mentioned, check to see if it really is the bridle.
Lay out your old bridle and new bridle side by side. I bet your old bridle has marks on it where you've had the buckles set for so long. Compare where the bridle used to have the bit to where the new bridle currently has the bit.
I agree with the above suggestion - get out a measuring tape if you need to, to make sure the distances of the browband and crownpieces are the same as the old bridle. You might try for one wrinkle instead of two...especially if the browband and crownpiece causing the bit to hang a smidge differently than the old bridle. Lastly, I would ease up on the flexing. At 27, and especially if she's flexed this deeply for a lot of years, she may have arthritis in her neck. If so, it will hurt to flex that much. One of the clinicians I've respected says that their nose should never pass their shoulder, because it never does in nature while they're walking.
Kudos to you for taking such great care of her and spending the effort to help her! Great job...
Welcome to the forum!
Before I did all that measurement, I would switch back to the old bridle and see if the problem persists. What kind of bit are you using? I've always found that 2 wrinkles is too much and my rule of thumb is to just press slightly in the corner of my horse's mouth.
Horses in their twenties shed their molars. She might have a loose one, just flexing in the gum.
When you have them checked ask the vet or dentist specifically, mentioning the problem you've had. Hopefully it'll be nothing too serious :)
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