One last thread about Clem's head scooping/tossing
So after a very long time I have deduced that Clem's head issues are simply what she does to express she's sick of working and wants to be done. After having her teeth done, tack checked, etc - after a particularly long groundwork session in nothing but a rope halter and leadrope she started up. She'll pull her head all the way to the ground (which either pulls the reins from me in saddle or yanks me out of my seat) and then sometimes ends with a little toss. It's especially bad in saddle after riding for a longer time - I won't go into the entire story because that would be long, and many of you have heard it already.
Now. recently, since I won't ride again until she gets her feet done, we've been working on her dropping her head when I put downward pressure on the rope and say "Head." She's getting quite good at it. I've also noticed that when she starts with her head scooping, doing that same thing - pressure on the halter and the 'head' command - is quite successful with getting her to bring her head back up into position.
So, I have a few ideas as to how to help this in-saddle (because believe me I have tried SO MANY things to get her to stop and it's certainly not getting me anywhere.) They all center around nose pressure, since she's responded very well to it. The first idea is using a loose tie down. I know the stigma behind them, but I thought that if I had it loose enough that she can move her head around but not stretch it down, it would simulate the pressure on the noseband, and I could throw in the vocal cue.
The second idea that NBEventer gave me is to use a Kineton noseband. These look fantastic - but are SO expensive. They are adjustable so I could use primarily bit, but if she starts up a bit more rein pressure would make it so some of that pressure is put on the noseband if she ignores the bit.
The third idea is switching to a hackamore. I really do like the conrtol the bit gives me, but there are hacks that operate entirely on nose pressure. I really like the control a bit gives, but would be willing to try one.
My last idea was a combination bit. I will be the first to say I really don't know much about them, other than it's sort of a combo between a bit and a hack. So, if there's major problems with them, let me know.
I'd love to try the Kineton, but it's really a bit more than I can afford unless I have a strong feeling that it will help. I thought I would ask (I'm sorry, you're all probably sick of hearing about her head tossing) to see if anybody has any experience in a similar situation. And, if not, what the people who know more than me about horses (most of you, haha) think. I do see that all of this could be seen as a 'band aid' to the problem, but it's been two years now and it's been ongoing - if she reacts well to nose pressure, then I'll find a way that uses nose pressure to stop it! I feel like once I get it under control with whatever nose method I could gradually transfer that back to a standard bridle and bit somehow.
Really I'd love to just try all of them - but I can't afford that, and I don't know anybody I could borrow any of this from. So I'd like to get a few recommendations before spending the money on one of them!
Can you catch her before she gets her head all the way down and give her a few jerks on the bit (not hard but enough to get her not pulling away) and stop the problem before she can snatch the reins from you?
the noseband-- i dont think it would do much stopping the horse from putting its head down- unless you run it through the chest collar but then they can still get their head down.. i can tell you from experience it wont stop head tossing- crow hopping- rearing- bucking- or anything like that- it will keep them from busting your face with their head and needs to be removed for swimming.. lol. I know.. *random informationnn* :-P
hackamore-- might be a good choice for your horse if theyre trying to get away from the bit but can be more of a concern with the horses nose being so sensitive though.
Combonation bit-- depends on what youre trying to git done- for this no i wouldnt use one for that.
What type of bit do you use on her?
She's in a French link snaffle switched from a single jointed snaffle. It doesn't have anything to do with the bit - she does it whether she'd bitted up or not, tacked up or not. Just whenever she decides she's sick of working. She can have absolutely nothing on and she'll start up after a while.
I'm not sure what you mean by the noseband - you say noseband buy you talk about it like you mean the tiedown. The noseband won't stop her from putting her head down, no - but it'll give me the ability to put some pressure on the nose with reins. The tiedown, I figured I could run it through the breast collar - it would stop her from stretching her head down like she does, and simultaneously put pressure on her nose like her halter does.
And I can feel it before she does it usually, but no amount of doing anything with the bit will make her stop. I can wrap the reins around the saddle horn (when I had one) so she couldn't yank them from me and she'd keep trying. I stopped, as I didn't want her to destroy her mouth :p
Did you say she does this with other riders on her? I can't remember from you other thread.
....Not to mention I don't know any horse people in real life LOL. She's been doing it since I got her, so I wouldn't be surprised if she did it with whoever rode her before me.
In the UK we call this 'reaching' (or at least that's what its known as in the circles I've always been in)
My old mare used to sometimes do it when she'd been worked just maybe a fraction over her fitness level and I never found a noseband of any sort made a difference and neither did riding in a hackamore.
I did find that the more I tried to stop her doing it the worse she would get but if I rode her for a while on a really loose rein with barely any contact she'd stop
She also never did it in a schooling situation where she was constantly being made to think, at shows or hunting
A thin loose ring racing snaffle is about the best bit she goes in - and ridden on a really light contact
The one time she almost planted us both in the dirt trying to reach (good name for it, it makes sense) at a canter.
Edit: I'm not trying to find a noseband to just fix it, or force her head back up. It's simply because the only thing I have found that she responds to is pressure on her nose when we're on the ground in just a halter.
In that case have you tried a bitless sidepull or maybe an English hackamore with an extra layer of sheepskin on the noseband
My mare is VERY forward going so I don't have the problem with her stopping when I remove all pressure on her - the opposite is a bigger risk!!!
If you have a nylon or leather headcollar then the cheapest way to get an idea of a sidepull is to attach your reins to the rings on either side of it
The kineton might work because you can set it so the pressure of the reins is mostly on the noseband - would be good if you could find a used one - you could try ebay
Whats she like if you lunge her in tack with some side reins set at about the pressure you would have your reins? If you don't have any side reins you could use baler twine - start of really loose and tighten a little bit each day - some horses panic in them.
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