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loveyourhorse 03-27-2013 12:01 AM

Heavy At The Canter
Hi Everyone!

Not sure if I am posting this in the right spot or not...

Anyways, I have a 5 year old TB mare who is quite heavy on the forehand at the canter. She goes quite well at the trot and is very light on my hands. However, when we go to canter it's another story... She becomes very heavy on the forehand and will nearly pull me out of the saddle. If I lessen my contact she picks up a ton of speed.

I have recently started taking lessons and the trainer said that my mare is grabbing the bit when we canter making it impossible to tell her what to do. I am currently riding her in a loose ring french link snaffle. When I had a regular snaffle on her she would constantly root because she didn't like the nutcracker.
The trainer I have started taking lessons with told me that I need to get the exact same bit only with a D ring instead of a loose ring because it will help my mare to not grab the bit.

Does this make sense? My thinking is.. if it's the exact same mouth piece, how is just changing the ring going to do anything? I don't want to waste my money buying another bit that will have the same functionality of one I already have.

I also had a friend suggest to me that I use a level 2 Myler with a medium port to help lift my mare up. I don't know a lot about bits and I don't want to put anything too harsh in my mare's mouth.

Any suggestions or input would be helpful! :)

loveyourhorse 03-27-2013 12:13 AM

I should probably also add that I have been working on transitions with her to try to get her to use her hind end more.... Halt to trot, trot to halt, back up to trot.
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JustDressageIt 03-27-2013 12:31 AM

It isn't the bit that's the problem, your mare is falling on the forehand and doesn't know how to balance - for that I prescribe tons and tons of transitions and lateral work, at all gaits.
A few exercises:
- transitions: tons of them. Within and between gaits. Walk 5 strides, trot 3, walk two, trot four, walk one, trot six, walk five, canter three, trot five... Throw some halts and backups in there. Then add in some collected and lengthened gaits. Vary it so she can't anticipate.
- on the transition note, set up two poles at S and V or R and P, or I and L. Walk in, and in the middle ask for a trot and trot out. Trot in, transition to walk and walk out. Then trot in, ask for a few walk strides in the middle, and trot out. Then trot in, walk, trot, walk, then trot out. Then trot in, walk, trot, walk, trot, walk, and trot out. Get it down to as close to one-and-one stride of each.
- circles and spirals... Start on a 20 m circle at a trot, spiral down to 10 metres, then leg yield back out to 20m. Same at a canter. Same with a counter bend at walk and trot.
- lateral work: leg yields, haunches in, shoulder in, haunches in.

All of the above will get your horse more supple and learn to carry itself a bit more correctly. Then when working on the canter, ask for a few strides then bring back to a balanced trot. Then ask again, few strides, back to balanced trot.

Can you do walk-canter transitions?

tinyliny 03-27-2013 01:18 AM

I have heard just the opposite regarding bits; that the horse can "grab" LESS the loose ring bit.

JDI's ideas will be the long term cure.

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