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flamingauburnmustang 09-12-2010 11:12 AM

~ Hates any contact on mouth...
I have noticed this with Damper ever since I have been riding her (which was this year Feb). Its mainly with walk and trot. Every time I apply just a little bit of pressure on the reins (like when I am trying to get her to work up from behind into the contact) she opens her mouth and tries to "regain her mouth" by putting her head down.

It can't be any physical pain, because she's fine when she's jumping. :???:

I have resorted to just riding her on a loose rein when I'm walking and trotting her, and this isn't any problem for me, but I'm just curious if there is any way I could get her to accept the contact from my hands and to stop trying to get away from it.

Another thing I have with her is that it is very difficult to get her to stop. It doesn't matter what I do to stop her, from squeezing with my thighs to pulling on the reins! She just gapes her mouth (clearly evading the bit) and carries on walking until she feels it is a good place to stop. To get her from a canter to trot and trot to walk is fine, but getting her from walk to halt takes quite a while until she stops.

My instructor says she just has a hard mouth, but how does this fit in with her always trying to avoid the contact in walk and trot?

I just can't figure it out...any help please? :sad:

ridergirl23 09-12-2010 11:18 AM

have you had a vet look at her mouth?
What kind of bit are you using?
Does she like to jump? I'm guessing that's why she's fine when she's jumping, because she likes it, so if something is hurting or annoying her she has to much adrenaline to notice.
Do YOU have soft hands? If my hands get hard rena gapes her mouth open too.
Does the saddle fit?
If it's none of those things I would probably guess she just wants to do it her own way and gets piss when you interfere, so she knows that she is the boss, and she's just taking advantage of that. She needs to be told(as nicely as you can at first) hey, no, I am picking up the reins and were doing what I want. But only do that after everything else on the list is checked off.
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starlinestables 09-12-2010 12:34 PM

I don't know if your a good rider or not, but this could be something your doing. A video would be helpful!

I'll answer this with the assumption your a good rider, and the horse has no health problems or fitting issues:

I would put a surcingle on with side reins for a couple of weeks. Let her warm up with out the side reins and then work the side reins in a trot gradually decreasing the length of the side reins. Let her pull and gape on her own for a bit and she'll teach her self that her evasion tricks only make it worse.

While your lunging this would be a good time to practice your transitions. Do tons of them.

Also get your trainer to lunge him (in side reins) with you on so your horse can practice with weight as well.. and you can practice on your seat while your at it.

It could also be a flexibility thing, so for half an hour in the stall stretch her next in both directions. Put the surcingle on and rig her head to the left and then to the right with one side rein. (This should be supervised!) I would either use a full cheek or a flash so she doesn't pull the through her mouth.

The things I've mentioned above won't completely fix your problem but it will help significantly. Under saddle, do a lot of halt, rein back, trot off transitions to polish it off. ALSO don't soften the reins till she gives. You could be encouraging the behavior if you give her the reins while she gapes or pulls.. make sure she stops and then soften.

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