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Having Issues with bridle
Hi. Just to give a little backstory to this horse. My mother bought Macey seven months ago as a western pleasure mount for herself. Some health issues came up and she is no longer able to ride her, so I, the more experienced rider, took Macey on. Now with us Macey has come leaps and bounds since when we first got her (she would flinch everytime someone touched her, spooked a lot.) and she is so much more calm. But, she has issues with the bridle. She takes a bit reasonably well and had her teeth done a month or so ago. And she bends and does neck flexes just fine from the ground. But once you're on her she will not bend or flex her neck. If you put too much pressure on the reins she will start throwing her head. I have tried the bit she came with (plain jointed fullcheek snaffle.) and she is very hard mouthed and pulley on it. i have also tried a french link snaffle and just a rope halter. I just can't find something she is comfortable in. The vet also said she did have some sores on her mouth when she floated them (Macey had never had her teeth floated before and she is 13) and said that they would go away in a day or two. We dont ride Macey everyday either. We ride her every other day or every two days. Any help would be appreciated.
I guess i wasnt super clear with my question. I was wondering if anyone knew some training techniques to get my mare to be more responsive and less pulley with her mouth.
My horse is learning fast and doing well, but she is young and does have the issue of resistance to the bit. The problem with her is not that she is always resistant, but that we want her to become more consistently willing to get on the bit (we're doing basic dressage, and she just got under saddle again after ~3 months off due to arthritis). I also don't ride my horse every day.
I'm not sure what discipline you are doing, but using side reins and lunging has worked wonders for me. I warm her up with side reins, and they are gradually getting more tight, so she is getting on the bit working against her own pressure rather than mine (or whoever is riding). I do 10 minutes of lunging before every ride (5 minutes each way -- since it's somewhat of a tight circle, best not to do too much, even if the circle is actually pretty big like mine). The side reins are very helpful!
Next, I honestly do not have the experience to handle my issue so I'm working with a professional trainer who rides my horse twice a week. I know this can be pricey, I'm not sure what your budget is or your experience level, but if you're having trouble you should try to have a professional ride your horse even once to see if they suspect anything more than a behavorial issue (maybe a health issue) and they can give you some pointers.
A lot of this issue stems from the problem with going forward. Horses need to determine the "forward factor" which can be taught using lunging, but you need to determine it in the saddle. If you need more clarification, I would suggest starting another thread because that is a very elaborate topic with a lot to say.
You might have already known some of this, so sorry if I was repeating things! Happy easter and I hope some of this helps :)
She may not have had a good float done. Sure wouldn't be the first time a vet did a not so good job on teeth and wasted a client's money. If it was me, I would get a vet known to be a good power float operator. Anything less, IMO, is substandard.
Thank you very much for the help! Yes I dont have the funds to get someone to ride her but i feel like the issue is getting better now that i've switched back to her old bit. I've also figured out that all of the practicing stopping and backing up and transitions was boring her. She's an exceptionally smart horse and i dont think im challenging her enough. So we put out trot poles today and rode with another horse in the arena and it made a world of difference just in her attitude and mine. I may try the side reins and see how they work on her. Thanks again!
That may be the case. We did get to see the whole process of her getting her teeth floated and it seemed pretty good. The vet is a well-known vet that the whole barn and many others uses (we dont have a ton of equine vets in our arena). Other horses got their teeth floated that same day and are doing pretty well. But I am not an expert on teeth so that could be the case. I just don't want to call another vet out if it turns out the float was fine. Is there any way to tell without calling out a vet?
Yes, the horse has problems bitting, sometimes drops crumbles of food while chewing etc. The vet I currently use for floating (I have different vets for different things, I travel & haul everywhere), wears a scope light on his head, tranqs the horse, has sling to the hold the horse's head up and of course the mouth opener thing, and he has the power float. He used different floats, stops, has me feel a certain spot for sharpness, waving, unevenness, makes me look with a light in the horse's mouth so I know what's going on. He then proceeds to even up whatever problem. It's takes him about an hour or more. My daughter's horse had been hand floated 3 months prior, he checked this horse and found ulceration sores way at the back caused by her teeth. She paid that other vet $200 for absolutely nothing as this vet had to do it all over again. Until I can see a vet being that precise and showing me everything, I will not use them.
My vet had the head lamp, tranq, sling, mouth opener and power float (i am pretty sure it was a power float cuz it made a ton of noise). My mom watched the whole thing as Macey is really her horse. Macey eats all of her food and is dominate in the pasture but she has lost weight after the vet floated her teeth (the BO thought it might have been because her teeth were sore seeing as she had never been floated before and had a slight wave that they had to file down.). I thought the weight loss was really odd for a Haflinger (she came to us really muscular and not skinny, just trim, and then gained some weight and now lost some weight that we are trying to put back on her.). Any thoughts about the weight loss would be great.(could it just have looked like she gained weight because of her winter coat? she still has a lot of it and just started shedding (noticeably) at the end of march.)
They shouldn't lose weight after a float, they should gain weight, they can utilize the food better. Sounds very odd. Sorry, I have no answers for you.
you can always use a sidepull for a while to see if the lack of a bit makes her more relaxed.
Also, when you do put a feel on the rein , to ask for a lateral flexion, don't release just because she throws her head. Keep the pressure on and wait until she gives you a little of what you are asking for. If your reward with a release when you see her getting upset and flinging her head, you are essentially training her to do that. Keep in there until she makes a different choice and reward THAT!
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