He Keeps Throwing His Head Up!
The pony is approx 14.1hh, bay gelding called Ben. He was ment to be for dressage at a Prelim level and showing. At his last home, in Ireland, he did WHP, jumping and showing. He need's more condition for showing. When my sister rode him for the first time, he wouldn't stop cantering and he put his head up very high and Ben wasn't on the bit at all more like avoiding the bit! My sister rode him today and so did the livery yard owner's daughter, Courtney, did too. He wasn't bad like the first time, he came to a outline in walk and in some parts in trot and canter. He was a star, not perhaps as good a outline as you would want for dressage/showing purposes but he improved rapidley. Ben's a gem in the stable and in the field. My sister went up to groom him an hour ago and just came back, he was tied up with his rug taken off being brushed for an hour! My sister said he was perfect. But I'm still wondering why he doesn't keep on an outline and why he sometimes throws his head up. Ben's ridden in a egg-butt snaffle with a nut cracker action, do you think he doesn't like that bit ? Which bit would you reccomend ? Also, any ideas on what could be making him do that ? Thanks!
the first thing that would come to mind is does the tack (saddle, bridle, etc) fit him correctly?
He probably doesn't go in an 'outline' because no one is asking him to. Horses don't just 'do it' by themselves. You have to know how to correctly ask him to bring his hind legs under himself and get him soft. The head will come as a direct result of the soft back and engaged hind end. It is not a case of just putting his head in.
A video would help.
Well, it could certainly be the bit, you'd be surprised by how bad it hurts to be pinched by a snaffle, especially under a rider with heavy hands.
Try it once... have someone hold both rings of a snaffle bit. Wrap your hand snugly around the bit, and ask the person holding it to move the rings like they would if they were riding. It HURTS. Bits with larger rings, egg butts, D rings, O rings, etc aren't as bad for pinching because they allow the rein to slide along the curve of the ring. When you start getting into bits that have a slot or groove punched in the ring to keep the rein stationary... NOT good.
With that said, it could be a number of things. Heavy hands, improperly fitting tack, rider that falls behind the motion, a rider that balances on the bit, the wrong shaped bit for the horses mouth, teeth that need floating (that perhaps have caused abscesses), the horses jaw being out of alignment.... so many things could cause the horse to toss their head. Like spyder says, a video would help.
As for bits, I really like the Robart Pinchless Bits. Very nice, they make a million different versions, but they are designed so that the joint can move freely so it doesn't pinch the horses mouth. You can do the same exercise with a Robart in your palm and have your friend twist away wildly, and you won't get a pinched or bloody palm.
Here is what the Robart joint looks like....
from reading your information I have to disect it carefully. For me when one of my horses acts irregular I see if it happens again. If it does then I start from the ground up. I check for proper shoing, trimming. Does the tack fit, is the bit working as it should, has the teeth been addressed and finally is he sore. Many times a horse will throw it's head when it is uncomfortable. It could be a conbination of all these of just one. But you need to look at everyone and then remove each from the equation until the issue is found.
Rememer, your horse can't talk he can only show you if you're willing to listen.
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