So a lady I have known for many years, is an avid horse breeder "striving to produce reiners and performance horses" Although, I think this breeder is a little confused about bloondlines and confromation to produce "reiners".
She bought an ex-western pleasure mare, who had injured her back in a trailer accident, leaving her unsound for ridding. She bred the mare to a pleasure type stallion and that's how this colt, who would become my gelding, came into the picture.
When the colt was born she really liked his splashy, super loud color, and decided that this colt would be her super star reining prospect. To begin with, this colt was NOT intended to be a reiner. He is the typical leggy, tall, pleasure type horse who grew up to almost 16 hands.
The breeder/trainer was self taught but was not new to breaking horses. I will give her credit though, in the past, some of the horses she has broke, she did put a decent start on them. This gelding was started differently, however. Since she had big dreams of becoming the next champion reiner with this gelding, she pushed him, hard.
The first bit she used on him, was a very advanced correction bit: ( http://www.tractorsupply.com/wcsstor...00/4007575.jpg)
Yes, that acually is the exact same type of bit she broke this 3 year old gelding with. So as you can guess, he learned to suck up into rolkur. The trainer thought that this was a proper "headset" for reining and became so focused on pulling his head back that she didn't really train him anything else, other than to stop hard on his forehand and a bunch of other bad habits.
After hard work outs of fast cantering and pretending to do reining movements in a tiny roundpen, her idea of cooling him out was tying his reins to his girth, between his legs and making him stand freely in the roundpen with his nose pretty much pressed onto his chest.
As you can imagine, as she continiued to ride like this, he eventually learned to outsmart her. He learned that running backwards and rearing would scare her and she would get off, but them beat the absolute sh** out of him and then tie his head down in the stall or roundpen.
The gelding eventually became unridable. Running backwards, rearing, and resisting everything. Somehow, she believed that he inherited a bad back from his mom, and that was the reason for his ill behavior. How he could inherit something from his mother that was an accidently injury is beyond me. Haha.
So, she kept him as a pasture pet for a few years and then offered him for sale a few times at outragous prices. When no one inquired on him because of the "bad back" she asked me if I wanted him for free, since she knew I wanted a halter horse and she thought that this gelding would make a nice halter horse. I said I would take him.
She told me several times that I can never, ever ride this horse because she diagionsed him to have a genetic back issue. I can only ever use him as a halter horse and nothing more. Well, I felt around on his back with my hands and objects such as a hoofpick. I couldn't find a single tender area on his back. I called a chiro to come look at him. And guess what, he told me there is NOTHING wrong with him. 100% sound back.
So I started to ride him, and even though I rode him in a snaffle, he still ran backwards and reared. I got past both of those issues easily. I have been ridding hims for about nine months now, and he is a great horse. No bad behaviors at all. I am still working on all the bad habits she taught him, such as hard stops on his forehand, drifting on his circles, proper bending, ect.
The only issue I can't get past, is the rolkur. I usually ride him on loose reins, but he is just like permantantly stuck in rolkur. All the time. It's just a natural position for him now, but as I want to show him more I want to bring his head down in a long and low position. I just can't get him to stretch down. Does anyone have any ideas to help relax his neck?
Thanks for reading all of this ^.^ I didn't want to just ask how to stop rolkur without giving the whole story as to why he has this issue :)