New horse problems
So! I just got a new 5 year old gelding. Very broke. Supposedly was shown earlier on but lately has been used mostly for trail and gaming. I rode him today for the first time and here are OUR problems.
Dropping shoulder into turns
Stopping on the front end
Pushing/walking through the bit when asked for a stop/back/sidestep/haunch turn etc.
I am riding him in a medium weight O Ring snaffle and am thinking about transitioning him into a Myler D Ring comfort snaffle with the independent side movement HOPEFULLY to help pick up that shoulder...
The previous owner rode him, and all of her other horses, in a twisted wire O Ring. I refuse to go that route.
I'm thinking working on collection could help?
Any advice/comments/experiences WHATEVER would be much appreciated. I am wondering about bit choices (rings, shanks etc) and methods that may help supple him up or whatever you recommend. I check back often so I can answer any additional questions you may have.
Ahhh if only a bit could solve all our problems!! That would be wonderful.. What bit will teach my horse the flying change? .. The bit connected to an educated rider would do that! No bit is going to magically fix the horse dropping his shoulder. It's a piece of metal in his mouth for heaven's sake.
Stick with the snaffle. To me, it sounds like he's just never been taught to go properly. Focus on the training scale (rhythm, relaxation, contact, etc..) and work on many transitions in the gaits and to other gaits. Right now, don't worry where his head is. Work on getting him to understand that leg means go over the back and into the hands and that you want him to reach for the bit. Once you have a horse that accepts your aids and is relaxed, then you can start worrying about where to place his body. First you need a willing partner.
Actually, I support you going to a Myler comfort snaffle because the inverting and pushing through the bit could easily be linked to the nut cracker effect your single jointed snaffle is doing. It's very uncomfortable to horses.
A bit will not help lift the shoulders or cause collection. That comes with proper flat work and a very strong foundation so the horse is actually ready for that kind of training.
I understand that I need lots of slow work and collection work and work in assisting him in picking up the shoulder and working off his hind end. As for going up and down in gaits thats good too since he has no concept of rating his speed within the same gait. I understand that a bit won't solve anything. My concern was whether or not, in your opinion, a bit would perhaps alleviate some symptoms- since I have had him vet checked thoroughly less than a week ago and there are no physical reasons for anything.
Also, some exercises I can do that help with these problems?
its early days- he could just be a bit confused ie slight differences between your aids and the previous owners aids. i just wonder if this might help. pretty basic stuff, but this worked for me when it was suggested for a similar problem i had with a mare. slightly lift the rein on the side you are coming into ie dropped shoulder side. and i would do general schooling of serpentines and large rectangles with a counterclockwise circle at each corner, big and slow, not tight and sharp. and i would keep my hands lightcontact, so for turns i would keep inside rein steady, just slightly lifted, and give with outside rein. for stops i would just use my seat to stop, not really rely on my hands, just maybe a couple of half halt finger tweeks, and deepen your seat for halt. are you giving him vocal aids as well? it might work for some of your problems; it just sounds like he is generally unbalanced and clumsy / abrupt in his actions.
While no bit is a miracle, and it does come down to schooling, a bit can make some difference. For instance, my horse dislikes single joint bits. Put a double joint in his mouth and he's a different horse. Same goes with the cheekpieces; Denny seems to dislike loose rings - I figure there is a lot of "static" noise that he doesn't like. He's a different horse with a solid cheekpiece.
Now, the Mylers allow each side of the bit to move without affecting the other side. If you go to a tack store, pick up a french link and a Myler. Hold them out by the cheekpiece and pull upwards (rotate) on one side. With the french link you will see the middle piece move and be affected; if you keep moving the cheek, eventually you will have movement through the other bar. Now move the Myler bit. You can rotate it 270 degrees without it moving any other part of the mouth. This freedom of movement can help a horse understand exactly what your hands are asking. If you do this to a single joint snaffle, you don't get much movement (rotation) at all without the other side coming into play.
Will it be a miracle? Hell no. No bit will teach your horse to stop dropping a shoulder -- HOWEVER the RIGHT bit can help the signals to the horse become more clear.
How does your horse move? It sounds as though he is very unbalanced and doesn't know how to push off from his hindquarters.
He IS moving on his front end. When I saw the seller giving a demonstration she was running him around in tight circles and he was definately leaning in. Kind of an all or nothing. I am less concerned with him dropping shoulder than I am with him resisting and walking through the bit at a halt/back/haunch turn/side step/even a half halt. The dropping the shoulder I'd done a little with before with my barrel horse, support and picking up of the inside rein and inside leg for him to flex.
What really worried me was not just the stopping on front end and resistance to bit. Initially when asked for something as simple as a back, he tried to throw his head in the air above the level of a control. Small rearing concern I guess? I did get him to back eventually much more willingly but he definately seemed to be testing me.
Wow that was a long post...
Any more advice? I figured that I need to get him paying more attention to my seat and legs and just overall getting him to relax and TRY to work him into some collection. Right now hes frazzle brained and all over the place.
Very gentle horse though. Cute too...
if hes throwing his head back and taking that with everything you have said, i'm wonder if he is having some pain. it would explain a lot of what you have described. have you had his teeth and his back checked out, and saddle fitting
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