Won’t Carry a Heavier Rider - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 04-15-2019, 11:00 PM Thread Starter
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We recently bought a horse for trail riding for my mom to ride. My mom is heavier, but nowhere near big enough to hurt the new horse. The problem with Moose is that she was previously ridden by a 6 year old girl in the past year, and so she is unused to heavier weight. We were aware of this when we bought her but since our family is slightly newer to the horse world we need some help fixing it.
Moose is the sweetest horse I’ve ever met. Incredibly calm, only throws a fit when her buddy gets taken away (she’s almost too calm, we need to float her teeth.) But when my mom (who is a little inexperienced with riding) attempts to ride around on her, Moose tends to throw her head up and down, will not stand still, and tries to go her own direction. She even does it with me who weighs a little over 90 lbs, though not quite to the extent. It is not a life threatening predicament but we need to get fixed. Moose is very heavy set, bull-dog type so I don’t believe the weight is hurting her. She may need to build up some muscle though. She rides in a simple dee ring single jointed snaffle or a halter, with a tie down. Any advice would help. However, to clarify, I am looking for a way to get Moose comfortable to carrying heavier riders. I am not going to use a stronger bit, a shorter tie down, wear her out before riding, and please don’t say, “your mother just shouldn’t ride her.” We are looking for a long term solution that does not end in more problems. Thanks!

(PS I only got like 4 hours of sleep so this is probably riddled with spelling errors, apologies lol)
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post #2 of 17 Old 04-15-2019, 11:34 PM
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I would try a different saddle. It could be that the saddle doesn't fit well and that would definitely make the horse uncomfortable to be ridden. Saddle fit can be hard to determine sometimes, so the easiest way to do that would be to try a different saddle (or two or three, whatever you have or can borrow from friends). If you find she goes better in a different saddle, then that is your answer.

If you have a more experienced horse person to take a look at your saddle/horse combination, that would be really good. I just don't know what your resources are. But anyway, before jumping to the conclusion it is a behavior issue, I would explore saddle fit. Because I think there is a very good chance that is the problem.

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post #3 of 17 Old 04-15-2019, 11:43 PM
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Nine times out of ten a horse tosses its head because it's in pain. The first thing I would do is take the tie-down off. Tie-downs restrict a horse so that it can't move its head freely, which often times leads to a horse developing a ewe neck from fighting the pressure. They are usually used for disciplines like barrel racing to help with balance at high speeds and changing directions. I've never seen anyone use a tie-down just for trail riding.

If she still behaves that way without the tie down, then I would start looking for other reasons why she may be uncomfortable/in pain. Does her tack fit? Has she been checked by a vet for any health issues? How are her feet? You said she needs her teeth floated, that could also be a reason for the head tossing.

I would see if the behavior continues after she gets her teeth floated and she doesn't have a tie-down on, then go from there.
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post #4 of 17 Old 04-16-2019, 12:01 AM
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Agree with @trailhorserider ...

I would first make sure that your saddle fits her perfectly.

I firmly believe that many horses can carry heavier riders without difficulty. My husband weighs over 250 pounds and is 6'4" tall, and rides a very stout 15.3 hand 1300 pound quarter horse, who enthusiastically carries him with no difficulty. I am slightly over 200 pounds and my two 1200-ish QHs carry me with no trouble whatsoever.

BUT...

We are meticulous about tack fit and quality. We both ride appropriately sized Circle Y saddles and have high quality pads. We use Impact Gel pads, but I would also consider 5 Star, high end Professional's Choice or Toklat, or CSI appropriate quality for heavy riders. Our horses are 10 years old and are not struggling with joint, health or conditioning issues.

My husband, although a beginner rider, is very athletic and well balanced. He started out with his horse only walking, then very gradually added in a little trotting, then eventually progressed to loping, a little at a time. His horse was also a failed team roping horse, and was used to carrying heavier riders and working hard.

Honestly (and I hate to stigmatize heavier riders), you need to have a vet check the horse for soundness and pain, you need to have an experienced horseman check the saddle fit, and then have a very experienced rider or trainer ride the horse to make sure she's not just giving you the business and refusing to work. I would recommend some ground work for conditioning and respect, as well.

Ultimately, if the horse tells you that she can't carry a heavier rider after you do those things, you probably need to listen and find a horse that can.
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post #5 of 17 Old 04-16-2019, 12:25 AM
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Yes, tack could be an issue. But, more likely, the child that rode previously may very well have been a sort of 'passenger' on the hrose; basicallly allowing it to go where and how it wanted, so, no issue with this horse.


Now, if you put on a stronger rider, who is saying to the horse, "go THIS way, the way I want you to go", it upsets this hrose's view of the world. He is expressing his irritation about that.


I think once you are certain that the tack fits, you need to change up his view a bit by getting after him if he is not obeying, so that he realizes that he is not in the drivers seat.
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post #6 of 17 Old 04-16-2019, 03:56 PM
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If the horse also objects to your weight then I'm thinking that there's something making the horse uncomfortable.
Could be the saddle, could be skeletal.
What happens if you ride bareback?
You say you're newer to the horse world, does that mean you're real novice riders as well?
The reaction might not be down the to weight of the rider but down to the pressure the rider is putting on the mouth or the nose.
The little child might have been a great young rider with very light hands or might have just been passenger who didn't hold the reins at all and was just led around
Did you see her ridden before you bought her?
Too many sellers that don't tell the truth or sedate horses for trials
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post #7 of 17 Old 04-16-2019, 04:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyliny View Post
Yes, tack could be an issue. But, more likely, the child that rode previously may very well have been a sort of 'passenger' on the hrose; basicallly allowing it to go where and how it wanted, so, no issue with this horse.


Now, if you put on a stronger rider, who is saying to the horse, "go THIS way, the way I want you to go", it upsets this hrose's view of the world. He is expressing his irritation about that.


I think once you are certain that the tack fits, you need to change up his view a bit by getting after him if he is not obeying, so that he realizes that he is not in the drivers seat.
I'm in the same boat as @tinyliny I would check and make sure your saddle fits and doesn't pinch when there's weight in it. As long as that saddle fits good, I think it's more of an attitude problem.
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post #8 of 17 Old 04-16-2019, 06:47 PM
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What kind of horse is moose ? You should check your saddle

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post #9 of 17 Old 04-16-2019, 07:10 PM
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Weight is only one consideration. Saddle fit is another. How the rider sits is still another.

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post #10 of 17 Old 04-16-2019, 07:16 PM
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So, I think you have a spoiled rotten horse who is used to getting her way, when she wanted , how she wanted...
So assuming her saddle fits fine {you're checking that}...same reaction.

You need the horse to go to a trainer for a few rides where she is no longer allowed to get away with her attitude...
You want to keep her sweet attitude, but you don't want her being the boss and that is what she is right now.
She was ridden for the last year by a 6 year old child who I bet was a beginner rider and was a passenger not a rider...the horse did what she wanted, when she wanted and was permitted this as long as the kid was not frightened and she followed the group...
Now, you wrote this...
"Moose is the sweetest horse Ive ever met. Incredibly calm, only throws a fit when her buddy gets taken away (shes almost too calm, we need to float her teeth.) But when my mom (who is a little inexperienced with riding) attempts to ride around on her, Moose tends to throw her head up and down, will not stand still, and tries to go her own direction. She even does it with me who weighs a little over 90 lbs, though not quite to the extent. It is not a life threatening predicament but we need to get fixed"....

You tell me where you are not writing of a temper tantrum because she is asked to work, to leave her buddies...so she throws her head around, won't stand still and bullies you to do what she wants...
You need the horse to go to a trainer for a few rides where she is no longer allowed to get away with her attitude...again I state that and mean it, truly mean it!

For right now, no way no how would I remove that tie down that is offering you protection of her throwing her head and smacking you in yours...don't make it tighter if it is catching her head before it smacks you but don't remove it either.
Moose is living up to her name...
She is spoiled and needs to be reminded of her manners under saddle, and you need to learn how to be assertive with kindness but respected and horse comply to your wishes...

I truly don't understand this comment... (shes almost too calm, we need to float her teeth.)
You float teeth so there is no issue with chewing of food properly, a comfortable fit of bit in the mouth, no sharp edges or uneven surfaces to start with...
Floating teeth does not stop a horse from being "calm"...but if her mouth has pain it could be part of the problem of her head tossing.
I also would be making sure the bit you are using is identical to the one the previous owner rode her in where you did not experience problems with her...
Looks like is not the same as it is the same...there are many that look similar, but differences make a huge difference in comfort and being newer to horses...you might have missed something.

You need...
Experienced eyes to check that tack is correct and fitting well...
A experienced rider, preferably a trainer to work the issue you have and not compound it..
Lessons for all of you to learn how to work with a smart minded horse who has your number and the upper hand already in respect which you must now work hard to regain...

Good luck and enjoy the exciting journey we have all traveled at some point in our lives...

WELCOME to the Forum!!
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jmo...

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