Horse pulls on reins, makes it hard to post
Hello y'all. I ride English on my paint mare Squaw. I've recently been doing a lot of her retraining. But here's my problem:
So, I've been riding English and lately I've realized that Squaw's collection sucks. Hunter horses are supposed to keep their noses tucked in. And Squaw noses out and tries to lower her head. Not to thut my own horn, but my equitation isn't bad at all, so that's not apart of the problem. When I go to post, Squaw noses out a lot, and resists the bit. She tries to tugs the reins out of my hands while trotting. It's hard for me to stay balanced during this. Then, on top of that, she thinks I'm asking her to stop or slow down. So I'll be in mid post and nearly fly over the side because she pulls me up and then stops!
I hope you guys can understand that, please let me know if you have any questions about the situation. Thanks everyone!
-Skylar & Squaw
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How does she do on a loose rein, like if you give her enough rein that she can't pull against you?
She puts her head super insanely low. Like it's around the area her forearms would be.
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Drop the reins. Sounds like you're balancing on her mouth. Ride her on a looser rein and use your seat and legs to push her forward into the bridle more. Don't worry about where her nose is, it will fall into place when her body is moving correctly. Focus on her butt and not her nose.
From George Morris's "http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/0385410824/ref=sr_1_4_up_1_main_olp?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1376093696&sr=1-4&condition=used". Available for $12 used on Amazon. Or you might try "http://www.amazon.com/Hunter-Seat-Equitation-George-Morris/dp/0385413688/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1376093696&sr=1-1", which is still in print.
A horse may lower its head for a variety of reasons, both good and bad. It should not affect your posting. If the horse gets way forward in its balance, that is a different problem. If the horse is stretching down low in order to pull hard against the bit, that may be yet another problem.
Some pictures would help. I'm not a jumper, but "nose" and "collection" normally should not be used in the same paragraph.
Lengthening the rein and allowing her to stretch out may help but at the same time what you need is impulsion. As Muppet indicated a horse can't move up into the bit if they don't have the impulsion from behind; they will hang on the bit.
Now, on the other hand, if she is pulling just to pull, which some horses will do, you need to set your hands and let her pull against herself. Eventually she will get tired of hitting herself in the mouth. If necessary use a bucking strap on the front of your saddle, or the neck loop of a martingale on her neck, to enable you to set your hands.
You say retraining in your post. I wonder if she has been taught to go with head low previously?
Secondly, collection comes from the back end. If she doesn't have enough strength or balance to propell herself from the back you will need to look at exercises to help her with that and make sure you are using enough leg and seat to help her accomplish it.
If however, she is leaning on you and resisting, a good way to make her pick herself up is to ride her on a circle and whenever she is dropping away from you, you throw away the contact with the inside rein. After a couple of strides, pick up the contact again, repeat when she leans on you again. This encourages the horse to balance and carry itself.
^^ Agree. They cannot lean if you give them nothing to lean on. Drop her like a bag of hot potatoes when she leans.
Is she stretching her neck really long and low? Sort of like how you see the Western Pleasure horses doing? What she trained to do that?
If this is a new thing that's only occurring recently not related to previous training my first thought would be to check out her tack. When you changed riding styles did you change bits and saddles? Does the new tack fit correctly?
Have you checked the horse's back for pain or muscle issues? I would have a chiro check her out if this is a new issue. Dropping their nose like that helps stretch out their back muscles.
What bit are you using? is it single jointed? I hope you switched into a bit without leverage if you switched from western to english.
If the bit has 1 single joint int he center of it what often happens it the joint hits the roof of the horse's mouth so they either stick their head all the way up in the air, pushing the bit hard into their bars and tongue, but relieving the pressure on the roof of their mouth - or they drop their head completely which tilts the bit and again puts all the pressure on their bars and tongue rather than the roof. Try using a mullen mouth, ported or french link bit. Those are either solid mouth pieces that won't hit the pallet or double jointed so you still have the sides working independently but not hitting the horse's pallet. You'll have to experiment a little to find what your horse is most comfortable in.
So I guess I can't be of anymore help without knowing what tack he's being ridden in. When you lunge him at the trot with no tack does he do the same thing?
Until you rule out equipment/pain issue I wouldn't call this a training issue yet.
REtraining? was she previously ridden Western Pleasure? and had years of work where the rider kind of snaps the rein up in order to "set her head"? the horse MUST keep their head down or they get snapped in the mouth, they put their head down and get rewarded with looping rein with no contact more than the weight of the reins. Horse becomes worried about contact, since it's a BAD thing, in that kind of training.
So, your horse is probably a lot worried about contact, is braced in her neck and poll and jaw, and when you start to post, she gets even more worried. it can also be that the saddle you ride in is not very comfortable and she tightens up her back, dropping it down, too.
I bet that this tightness and worry about contact is evident at the walk, too, but you just aren't noticing. she might not barge the reins, but she is likely not soft on contact at the walk, either.
I would work at the walk, teaching her to accept contact. That is what your next thread might be on, but I don't have time to write that out now.
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