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Discussion Starter #1
Okay so here is the whole back story of why I am posting.

I have a horse called Phoebe who used to rush to every jump and just try to get it over and done with so we worked on dressage and relaxing work and seat legs then hands and she started going great and was jumping fantastically at home and in the warm up. But as soon as we go into the main ring to do a course she goes hyper and I can't get her back to be and back on her hocks. She is perfect doing courses at home she just seems to get super excited when she sees all the people and the colourful jumps and everything all together. We have worked on everything we can and she is perfect everywhere but the main ring.

I was thinking of putting her in a low port pelham bit that I sometimes use at home when training in dressage with my instructor. I do use two sets of reins with this bit and I do know how to use it. We do not use this bit to put her in an outline or force her into a frame but I would be riding in the pelham for jumping only at shows and I would be using the snaffle rein most of the time just using the curb to get her attention back to me when she tries to speed off.

I was just wondering what you all thought of this?
 

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She sure knows the difference between training and competition. i wonder if you can blur that line by entering some small shows where you don't care about winning or completing the course. just ride her around, take a jump or 2 IF she is relaxed, and then exit. no matter how hard we try, we telegraph to the horse the importance of doing well in the ring, which they sense as tension.

and using your other bit is a good idea to try. it will give YOU more sense of control which will telegraph authority to her. (that being said, i couldn't ride well enough to handle the 4 reins and jump at the same time. but sounds like you can!)

JMHO
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Well I have booked an arena with my trainer this week like we do every week and she said to maybe try to do some small jumps with the 4 reins and see how it goes before trying to go in competition with them.
 

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good plan. can you enter one class just to blow it and just do some circling and a few jumps? might help relax her.
 

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Sounds like she isn't comfortable in that environment. I would recommend going to shows but not competing. Start out with the little ones and take small steps, you want each experience to be relaxing and positive. Ride in the warm up arena, lead her around the tack up area etc. If you can, walk her around the show ring when nobody is in there (then move onto trotting and cantering when she is fine at the walk). Desensitize her to show stimuli-people yelling and waving, announcer voices, freaked out horses, and more. Learn relaxation techniques both for your horse and yourself, such as breathing deeply for you and teaching her to release at the poll during groundwork. It may help to boost your confidence and experience by taking a friend's older calm horse and showing him so you get used to the rhythm of the show ring. A pelham might give you better control of her mouth, but it won't tackle the root issue of her feeling uncomfortable in the ring.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you for your advice roro I think it might be more me than her to be honest when we get into the ring but I am not really sure
 

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good plan. can you enter one class just to blow it and just do some circling and a few jumps? might help relax her.
You can inform the judges ahead of time that you're only there for the exposure and to not rate/judge you. As long as it is a low level/schooling show it shouldn't be a problem.
 

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This is what I said to you on the other forum:

This is what I have to say


You have a great concept of how important Dressage work is for both horse and rider. Many GP Jumpers spend 5 - 6 days a week doing only dressage because of how important the fundamentals are for being sucessful in the Jumper Ring.

Most Eventers at mid to upper level spend majority of their time training in the Dressage ring, for the same reason - because without it, you have many holes in both horse and riders education and training.

So, be proud of yourself for knowing how important it is to keep riding Seat Into Legs Into Hands To Soften - I do the same. I spend 99.9% of my time doing Dressage with my horse, and I ride alot of the same Seat Into Legs Into Hands To Soften, as shown to me through a few Olympic Level Eventers in Clinics - BUT I fall into the same scenario with my guy when we Fox Hunt.....I can use all the seat I want and I can incorporate all the leg I want. I can ride this way till the cows come home - but when it comes to Fox Hunt, all that goes out the window because his mental state is not there.

So - I say, use what you need to get the job done. As David O'Connor says "Train/Ride at home in a snaffle, but use what you need to use at a comp to get the job done"

Look at GP Jumpers - those horses know minimally level 3 dressage, because of how much time is put into them in the discipline of dressage, but at comps, it's a different story. These are big, hot, strong, powerful horses who know their job and get it done, and those riders use what they need to use to get the job done.

So - through thorough discussion with your Trainer, and through thorough research on the bit, and while yet you continue to ride how you should ride and continue to train through the theories of Dressage - use what you need to use at a comp, to get the job done.

When I ride my guy at home, at comps, away at other barns - we are perfectly fine. I ride Seat Into Legs Into Hands and incorporate dressage in our daily riding. I use a basic French Link Egg Butt Snaffle - but when we Fox Hunt, I put a 3 ring french link elevator in his mouth, because of how strong, powerful, excited he gets in that situation.

All the best!
 

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^ Yes, yes, yes. :]

It didn't take me too long to figure out how to go about riding my new horse. He can be hot, and he is strong, and can be a bully. I started out riding him in a gag only. But now he goes in a rubber D snaffle 99% of the time, with LOTS of basic work and LOTS of dressage. If I were to ever take him XC schooling (like I hope to soon with my trainer) or were showjumping I'd put him in the gag again. Because like MIE said, sometimes you just have to use what will get the job done.

Good luck, and it sounds like you're on the right track!
 

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Gillian - this is completely OT but I love love love the horse in your avatar. It reminds me so much of the horse I had growing up. Just a stunning horse you have.
 

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Thank you for your advice roro I think it might be more me than her to be honest when we get into the ring but I am not really sure

I believe you have hit on the problem. The horse is sensing YOUR nervousness when you go into the ring. She will react because she will feel if YOU are worried.....there must be something to be scared of. We are often our own worst enemy.

Spend time learning how to make yourself relax. The tenser your horse gets, the SOFTER you must ride. By softening your aids/body, you are communicating that you are NOT worried. This will allow her to diffuse her nerves. Trust me...it works. She starts getting tense...soften.....visualize yourself sitting at the beach with a glass of wine (are you 21?) in your hand....relaxing....relaxing.....

See if you don't notice your horse switching gears.

I do this with my students all the times I see their horses amping up. The minute I remind them to relax, I can see their horse downshift. It works that well.
 

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Gillian - this is completely OT but I love love love the horse in your avatar. It reminds me so much of the horse I had growing up. Just a stunning horse you have.

Thank you! He's the best horse I've ever had. Giant puppy dog. :]
 

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great post allison !
 

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This was my boy - from my senior picture. I always loved the light whiter nose.

 

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^ They do look alike! I love the winter nose too, it's so cute.
 

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They sure do! Anyway, sorry for the derail OP! Been wanting to tell Gillian that for awhile!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks for all the advice everyone and MIE you know I read it on the other forum anyway :D thank you allison and Solon its ok all threads go a bit off track sometimes lol
 
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