My mare is 10 she was trained in Western Pleasure for about a year then became a broodmare. She has "remembered" most of her training at the walk/jog and we have been doing a lot of trail riding. She gets excited when we lope/canter and I ask her to come back down to a walk and she sticks her nose up in the air and doesn't want to stop. (Her teeth are fine BTW). She does well in draw reins when we are in the round pen but she's figured out that if they are not on, she can avoid the bit. How can avoid having to ALWAYS ride her in draw reins.
When horse raised head to avoid bit, instead of trying to pull horse back down, she raised her hands also and kept an uncomfotable amount of pressure on the bit until the horse tried anything other than lifting her head (because lifting the head got NO release). When horse dropped her nose even a fraction, release!
IF it means you must leave the canter to deal with this issue, do so.
She starts off nice and quiet but gradually speeds up, then when I take up the reins, she throws her head. We're making good progress with the draw reins she seems to respect them I just don't want to have to rely on them.
Thank you, I'm actually trying something similar. I've got the draw reins hooked on my saddle horn (not too tight) so when she holds her head level or down there's no pressure; she's basically fighting herself. I like that idea though it gives me the option of losing the draw reins which I like. Thank you both for your imput!
You might also try either a running martingale or a German martingale. You also might have to go to a twisted snaffle as it sounds like the mare's mouth may be a little hard. I have used a copper twisted snaffle (the copper makes them salivate, which softens their mouth) and the twisted snaffle puts a little more pressure on her mouth so she can feel discomfort if she tries to take the bit and not give to it. If you do try a twisted snaffle, start slowly and use very little pressure so you do not hurt her mouth, but it may result in her 'giving' a little more to the bit.
I havn'e ever used draw reins. I have used a German martingale a bit. I think that the problem with any sort of device designe to automatically set the horse's head, is that it can never be as sensitive and adaptable to the horse as an educated hand can be. A pair of good hands can apply more or less pressure according to the immediate situation and thus can encourage more or disourage more the desired behavior. I know that the idea is that the horse finds the place where the device is situated to not put pressure on the bars, and thus it rewards itself. But I prefer to have an active rider to horse dialogue of cause, effect, reward and on and on. I want to be in on it, I guess. And I want the ability to give huge rewards from time to time to break up the feeling and the drawreins restrict that.