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Bobblehead
Aug. 10, 2009, 02:05 PM
My horse tends to lock her jaw on the right. I'm trying to become much more aware of this and correct it right away. My question is, what is the best way to deal with it? Flex from the ground before every ride? Flex as soon as I'm mounted, at the halt? After warmup? At the walk, or only at the halt?

Right now, what I'm doing is at the halt, usually after I've noticed a problem with the TOH. I keep a strong squeeze on the right rein for about 3-5 seconds, soften, the squeeze again. My left rein is looser than usual, but if I don't keep some tension on that rein, what she does is turn her head rather than releasing her jaw. If I keep just enough pressure on the left rein to keep her from turning her head, eventually (after about 5 minutes) she will relax her right jaw and start to chew. At that point I go on with the ride, and usually there's a big improvement. I don't repeat the exercise.

Is this correct? Or should I be doing it differently?

mbm
Aug. 10, 2009, 03:14 PM
i am not sure how a 3-5 second "squeeze" is going to address a problem that is ongoing during a ride.

In any case - a locked jaw is an indication that the HIND LEG is not working correctly. It is a SYMPTOM of a problem - not the problem itself.

address the hind legs and the jaw will follow.

so- ride actively forward into an even contact. ride the horse on bended lines appropriate for it's level of training asking it to really step under with it's inside hind. Spiral in/Spiral out are good - so is serpentines changing bend each time you cross the center line.... when you feel the horses topline lift and the horse feels lighter and move "handy" you know you are on the right track.

also, in general you want your hands to be quiet, but alive. if your horse is coming above/below the bit (ie is unsteady) make sure your hands are quiet and not moving all over the place....

goeslikestink
Aug. 10, 2009, 04:37 PM
i am not sure how a 3-5 second "squeeze" is going to address a problem that is ongoing during a ride.

In any case - a locked jaw is an indication that the HIND LEG is not working correctly. It is a SYMPTOM of a problem - not the problem itself.

address the hind legs and the jaw will follow.

so- ride actively forward into an even contact. ride the horse on bended lines appropriate for it's level of training asking it to really step under with it's inside hind. Spiral in/Spiral out are good - so is serpentines changing bend each time you cross the center line.... when you feel the horses topline lift and the horse feels lighter and move "handy" you know you are on the right track.

also, in general you want your hands to be quiet, but alive. if your horse is coming above/below the bit (ie is unsteady) make sure your hands are quiet and not moving all over the place....

agree read this link as in my helpful links then read all of page one and all links
http://www.chronicleforums.com/Forum/showthread.php?t=178116

mbm
Aug. 10, 2009, 05:04 PM
GLS - super links! i had no idea you had compiled such a great list!

Quest52
Aug. 10, 2009, 06:01 PM
also... have clear contact with your outside rein, pushing the horse into that outside rein with the inside leg. This is assisting on bringing the horses inside hind underneath... as already stated above, but more descriptive of contact and what one should be doing exactly.

I completely agree with the spirals and figure 8's. Just realize the horses level and ride accordingly, do not ask for serpentine of 8 loops if it is a young/inexperienced horse etc.

slc2
Aug. 10, 2009, 06:07 PM
It should be getting better over time, you should not need to keep doing this - if not, seek an instructor. One side of a jaw can't lock - the problem is the weight distribution putting too much weight on that side of the horse, the horse needing to be supple overall, not just the neck and definitely not the jaw. Physically, a horse can't lock his jaw on one side, at least, that is not where the 'heavy on one side' feeling comes from. Just taking the rein won't fix it because the origin is not in the jaw but more general. Leg yielding can help to get the horse more supple and to get him more even. Work with someone who can guide you in person.

ESG
Aug. 10, 2009, 06:11 PM
My horse tends to lock her jaw on the right. I'm trying to become much more aware of this and correct it right away. My question is, what is the best way to deal with it? Flex from the ground before every ride? Flex as soon as I'm mounted, at the halt? After warmup? At the walk, or only at the halt?

Right now, what I'm doing is at the halt, usually after I've noticed a problem with the TOH. I keep a strong squeeze on the right rein for about 3-5 seconds, soften, the squeeze again. My left rein is looser than usual, but if I don't keep some tension on that rein, what she does is turn her head rather than releasing her jaw. If I keep just enough pressure on the left rein to keep her from turning her head, eventually (after about 5 minutes) she will relax her right jaw and start to chew. At that point I go on with the ride, and usually there's a big improvement. I don't repeat the exercise.

Is this correct? Or should I be doing it differently?

You're starting at the wrong end. :winkgrin:

The locked jaw is symptomatic of a problem that has its genesis in the hind end. I don't see anything in your post about using leg or seat to engage the horse's hindquarters. If you don't do that, you're only treating the symptom, not the cause.

Get yourself to a good trainer and get sussed out. Too difficult to evaluate the real issue online.

Good luck. :cool:

mbm
Aug. 10, 2009, 06:16 PM
also... have clear contact with your outside rein, pushing the horse into that outside rein with the inside leg. .

probably going off on tangent - but as i understand the training scale - first the horse learns to go into both reins evenly - and then once they have that mastered you start working on lateral aids - ie: inside leg to outside rein.

Bobblehead
Aug. 10, 2009, 06:30 PM
It should be getting better over time, if not, seek an instructor. One side of a jaw can't lock - the problem is the weight distribution putting too much weight on that side of the horse, the horse needing to be supple overall, not just the neck and definitely not the jaw. Physically, a horse can't lock his jaw on one side, at least, that is not where the 'heavy on one side' feeling comes from. Just taking the rein won't fix it because the origin is not in the jaw but more general. Leg yielding can help to get the horse more supple and to get him more even. Work with someone who can guide you in person.

She actually leg yields beautifully, can cross to either side quite fluidly and can even do it as a zigzag down center line. I've done a lot of spiraling and bending with her, but not so much lately, it's true. She does like to hold the bit in her mouth. In fact, fairly often I have to wait a few seconds for her to drop the bit when I unbridle her. I'm currently using a mullen mouth on her but wonder if I should go back to a french link?

It's not so much that she feels heavy on the right, but she seems less flexible in that direction. For a long time she had trouble picking up the right lead canter. Over the past couple of months that has improved a lot. I understand that some of that problem was due to weakness of the right hind (if I remember correctly). Maybe this consensus about the hind end means that I'm expecting too much at this point?

I do have a trainer but as it's show season, and I don't show, lessons have been canceled more often than I'd like.

slc2
Aug. 10, 2009, 07:31 PM
I don't think you're expecting too much if you expect your horse to not pull your one arm out on the right side. But how to get there. I'd ditch the mullen mouth bit, first of all.

There is a contingency that anytime anyone asks a question, sighs and says, 'Oh Phillistines! It's all in the hind leg!', and quite often that's a part of the 'don't touch the reins' camp that believes no one should ever see even your pinkie finger move. I'm not that far gone yet. I do think you need to bend your horse and work your leg yields - if your horse comes out and you feel a ton in one rein and the only way you can fix it is by holding pressure til she gives (which means she is not crooked and BEHIND the bit), the leg yields you are doing aren't having the desired effect of suppling her and evening her up on both reins. Sometimes we don't really have the solid connection when we do leg yields and the horses learn to go sideways with their bodies stiff, instead of 'letting the leg yield' through to affect their entire body freely.

Bobblehead
Aug. 12, 2009, 09:18 AM
I'd ditch the mullen mouth bit, first of all.



Why?

ESG
Aug. 12, 2009, 01:28 PM
Yeah, I'd like to know why, too. :confused:

slc2
Aug. 12, 2009, 08:22 PM
Horses either back off of it too meuch eor get tooe stiff and tight on it.

ESG
Aug. 13, 2009, 09:53 PM
Beg to differ. If you have a horse with a low, fleshy palate (as many of the warmbloods and draft crosses do), they often go much better in something that isn't constantly poking them in the roof of the mouth. My 17.2h ISH gelding goes better in a rubber mullen than anything else, and jumps in a rubber mullen pelham. Also had flighty, sensitive TBs prefer it to all other bits, as well as a couple of warmbloods. Doesn't do to discount a bit, just because it's fashionable to ride in nothing but a French link loose ring. :dead:

slc2
Aug. 13, 2009, 10:03 PM
The properly fitted snaffle doesn't poke them in the roof of the mouth - even one with one joint. We used them for years. They didn't ever poke the horse in the roof of the mouth. And a mullen - I don't care for it. For years, we were told if a horse pulled like an effin' train, the mullen mouth was the remedy. I see it backing sensitive horses off more, and making strong horses too stiff and fixed and not supple enough, in their contact. Not enough spreading out of the pressure.

mbm
Aug. 13, 2009, 10:59 PM
question re: mullen..... how does it work for flexion/suppling etc? i have been taught that only a jointed bit works for that purpose. ??


i ask as i have a mare that broke her jaw as a wee foal and has forever after had a jaw that is not quite "right" and coupled with a fat tongue she doesn't have much room in there.... so i am looking for ideas on bits.... have always done the KK ultra or plain KK in a 14mm, but want to try others....

.

Ambrey
Aug. 13, 2009, 11:15 PM
question re: mullen..... how does it work for flexion/suppling etc? i have been taught that only a jointed bit works for that purpose. ??


i ask as i have a mare that broke her jaw as a wee foal and has forever after had a jaw that is not quite "right" and coupled with a fat tongue she doesn't have much room in there.... so i am looking for ideas on bits.... have always done the KK ultra or plain KK in a 14mm, but want to try others....

.

I was under the same impression, MBM. Really interested in hearing more on "the great mullen controversy."

goeslikestink
Aug. 14, 2009, 04:31 AM
The properly fitted snaffle doesn't poke them in the roof of the mouth - even one with one joint. We used them for years. They didn't ever poke the horse in the roof of the mouth. And a mullen - I don't care for it. For years, we were told if a horse pulled like an effin' train, the mullen mouth was the remedy. I see it backing sensitive horses off more, and making strong horses too stiff and fixed and not supple enough, in their contact. Not enough spreading out of the pressure.

bits are only as strong as the hands that use them

slc2
Aug. 14, 2009, 05:41 AM
"the great mullen controversy" - oh baloney. I am allowed to have different ideas about various bit designs if I want to. Some people like the bit and others don't. With everyone I worked with the mullen mouth was kind of a last ditch effort with a puller. I never saw it do much for either the puller or the behind the bit type.

"Bits are only as severe as the hands that use them"

Nice theory, and one I often hear to justify using a harsher bit/get tthe horse behind the bit. But a specific bit design has a specific effect, and horses react differently to them, and while the skill of the hand is important, different bits are, in fact, different. The mullen mouth bit has no joints, no looseness to it, it's just a straight bar that doesn't move, and it has a different effect from a jointed bit. I think a jointed bit is better for suppling the horse than a bit with a straight bar mouthpiece.

egontoast
Aug. 14, 2009, 07:34 AM
It's all in the hind leg!', and quite often that's a part of the 'don't touch the reins' camp that believes no one should ever see even your pinkie finger move.

WHAT? So typically condescending. No one has said that except you, slc.

Often when people say their horse has a 'locked jaw' there are other things going on related to the hind end and/or correct bending of the horse. The horse may feel braced on one rein and feel like he is avoiding 'filling " the other rein. Often this has nothing whatever to do with the mouth or the type of bit . Often it is a matter of bend or uneveness in strength or engagment of the hind leg or both.

Of course you have to have the right contact and not throw the reins away. Give people some credit for understanding basic dressage concepts.:confused:

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Aug. 14, 2009, 07:52 AM
esg, gls,mbm and egontoast - thank you! We have a similar issue - and engaging that hind end equally is our goal. The links and discussion were very timely!

Iride
Aug. 14, 2009, 08:07 AM
A couple of additional ideas for you. If you are sensing tension or grabbing of the bit on one side (feeling like a locked jaw) I would also have his teeth checked by a good dentist. Also, could he be out in his poll on that side, if so it's something you can help unlock before riding by gently massaging that area for a minute or so, and something a chiropractor can help too (not just his poll but check his body overall).

Gloria
Aug. 14, 2009, 09:53 AM
i ask as i have a mare that broke her jaw as a wee foal and has forever after had a jaw that is not quite "right" and coupled with a fat tongue she doesn't have much room in there.... so i am looking for ideas on bits.... have always done the KK ultra or plain KK in a 14mm, but want to try others....

.

mbm, I have similiar problem.. .Except my horses by nature have big thick tongue and low roof. Those KK bits are too thick for them. What I have found worked very well is the Myler comfort snaffle. They are 10mm I believe and the curved shape helped the bit to distribute pressure evenly thus milder. You may want to give it a try.

Gloria
Aug. 14, 2009, 09:59 AM
So many have given so many helpful tips so I don't want to repeat.. But it just occurs to me that one thing you ought to check is the saddle fit.

I have one horse that would lock the jaw and his whole neck bargin forward like a bus. Initially I contributed it to him being ridden by a young girl who used rather strong bit and strong hand. So I was baffled why he continued after working him for quite some time. Then it turned out this 15 hand guy needs a XW saddle:eek: and I was riding him in a wide. Once I hunt down a XW saddle and ride him in it, he is much much better. Old habit dies hard but much much better.

ESG
Aug. 15, 2009, 10:23 PM
The properly fitted snaffle doesn't poke them in the roof of the mouth - even one with one joint. We used them for years. They didn't ever poke the horse in the roof of the mouth. And a mullen - I don't care for it.

Sorry, but you're wrong on this one, slick. "Properly fitted" means "the right size" with a single joint snaffle; doesn't have a damned thing to do with the fact that, with a low, fleshy-palated horse, that it will indeed get poked in the roof of the mouth by that single joint.


For years, we were told if a horse pulled like an effin' train, the mullen mouth was the remedy.

Odd, but I never heard that. You've clearly been listening to the wrong people. :p


I see it backing sensitive horses off more, and making strong horses too stiff and fixed and not supple enough, in their contact. Not enough spreading out of the pressure.

Ahem - the mullen "spreads out the pressure" better than any other bit, being unjointed. Better check your physics again, there, girl. :winkgrin:

slc2
Aug. 16, 2009, 06:15 AM
"you clearly been listening to the wrong people"

Is that your answer any time someone disagrees with you?

Henri Van Shaik is the wrong people? Then I will stick with the wrong people.

"Mullen spreads out the pressure"

Better check your own physics. Without the joint and especially without the loose rings, the pressure is much more unrelieved, and 'fixed'.

cutemudhorse
Aug. 16, 2009, 10:31 AM
I think you have to look at the whole picture, or the whole horse. Their mouths are shaped differently and the fit of the bit IS important and single jointed bits are more apt to poke into the roof of the mouth than a double jointed bit, depending on the horse's mouth shape. In either case, a curved mouthpiece is most likely more comfortable. Ask the horse. Try different bits while keeping an open mind. And, yes a mild bit is dangerous/uncomfortable in ignorant hands.

Yes, the horse could have some tension blocking it anywhere in its body. Forward is always good, but try to loosen the poll and jaw as well. Chiropractic and massage are great for horses. You can learn basic massage techniques yourself.

As far as jaw loosening exercises, I would do them when I first got on, after walking on a loose rein for a bit, maybe even after trotting on a long rein but before you start working. At the halt, with your hands in the correct position, squeeze one rein to get a flexion to that side and release it when the horse gives. Alternate sides. Your goal is to get the horse to respond with a 'position right' or 'position left' while keeping the ears level and the neck and jaw soft. It won't look like that at first. It's not something you'll do forever but it might be the answer you're looking for. See Leslie Webb's first DVD on schooling figures. You might contine your warm up on a loose or long rein to let the horse shake out what you just did.

Carry on.

ESG
Aug. 16, 2009, 11:45 AM
"you clearly been listening to the wrong people"

Is that your answer any time someone disagrees with you?

No, sweetie - that's your MO. :winkgrin:


Henri Van Shaik is the wrong people? Then I will stick with the wrong people.

Suit yourself.


"Mullen spreads out the pressure"

Better check your own physics. Without the joint and especially without the loose rings, the pressure is much more unrelieved, and 'fixed'.

We'll have to agree to disagree on this one.

Bobblehead
Aug. 17, 2009, 10:37 AM
Well, a few days have gone by and here's what I found out. Pain. Not saddle - just went through that and her new saddle fits nicely. Not teeth - just done recently and no problems anywhere there. Not really muscle/joint - recently had a massage session and she found nothing unusual. So let's see, what else obvious would that leave? FEET. I knew she was a little ouchy on rough ground and had arranged for hoof testing at her next farrier visit. That was Saturday. She was positive on both front frogs. The farrier said she was uncomfortable turning in any direction. Recommended not trimming right now, putting her on MSM and total rest for a week, then reevaluating as to exactly what kind of shoes to put on her, most likely leverage balancing.

Although I've ridden for years, this is the first horse I've ever owned. I knew I was ignorant about all the intricacies of actually caring for a horse, but I keep being amazed at just how ignorant it's possible for me to be. But to try to be a little easier on myself - I was using this summer as a test as to whether she really needed shoes all summer, all the time, or what. Now I have a definite answer! Also there's the farrier issue. Got an emergency now, but I'll come back to talk about that.

Bobblehead
Aug. 17, 2009, 11:38 AM
Okay, rest of story. Last year I switched to a new farrier, and he's been trimming her religiously every 6 weeks. Feeling my ignorance, I've been deferring to his strong opinion that it's best to keep them on a regular schedule like this, even though her feet don't look to me like they need to be done that often. My trainer believes that the reason my horse is sore now is that our extremely wet early summer softened her feet up, then she was trimmed a little early, then right after that the weather heated up and the ground hardened, and she's been worked regularly all that time. Not saying the farrier did anything wrong, but it didn't work for my horse. Trainer encouraged me to be more assertive with the farrier, and I'll definitely do that. Trainer is very knowledgeable, farrier is very knowledgeable, but they don't agree on every point and the trainer does know me and my horse better. Both of them do say, though, that this should be a temporary problem which will heal fairly quickly with proper management.

As for the bit, I changed her back to the french link and I don't think she's grabbing it as much. Her evasion in the french link is to twist, which the mullen mouth discouraged, but overall I think I prefer the jointed bit. When I get back on her, I'll work on it from the hind end.

I'm thinking this foot issue explains why I've had such a hard time getting her truly supple and flexible. She's just a little quarter horse and is lazy, but I've felt all along that she really was trying but something was getting in the way. If I'd had a trainer as good as this one all my life, I'd probably be a lot more confident about my gut feelings. But anyway, this has been a great learning experience. I appreciate everybody's suggestions and different points of view - they were helpful.

goeslikestink
Aug. 17, 2009, 12:11 PM
"you clearly been listening to the wrong people"

Is that your answer any time someone disagrees with you?

Henri Van Shaik is the wrong people? Then I will stick with the wrong people.

"Mullen spreads out the pressure"

Better check your own physics. Without the joint and especially without the loose rings, the pressure is much more unrelieved, and 'fixed'.


be a bit hard to listen to him slc2-------- as hes dead

ESG
Aug. 17, 2009, 10:47 PM
Oh, slick never lets a little thing like death stand in her way. :p

goeslikestink
Aug. 18, 2009, 04:48 AM
"the great mullen controversy" - oh baloney. I am allowed to have different ideas about various bit designs if I want to. Some people like the bit and others don't. With everyone I worked with the mullen mouth was kind of a last ditch effort with a puller. I never saw it do much for either the puller or the behind the bit type.

"Bits are only as severe as the hands that use them"

Nice theory, and one I often hear to justify using a harsher bit/get tthe horse behind the bit. But a specific bit design has a specific effect, and horses react differently to them, and while the skill of the hand is important, different bits are, in fact, different. The mullen mouth bit has no joints, no looseness to it, it's just a straight bar that doesn't move, and it has a different effect from a jointed bit. I think a jointed bit is better for suppling the horse than a bit with a straight bar mouthpiece.


not theory and is the truth
but obviously you being a novice as it clearly shows that you dont understand the how bits work and how the hands work which can effect the horses movements


or a rider doesnt give as being to strong on one side of which you have learnt that one from me ( as you have often quoted me saying tha i say that) so the rider has to give of the strongest side so the horse can be even its common rider error


and as regards to my theory -- how many horses have you re habbed and or trianed
properly
as one you dont lunge or long line and 2 you teach things like rein back as a trick to get the horse to do it


a quote by yourself--- Originally Posted by slc2 View Post
I've seen it help a number of horses, in fact. Because they don't like the bit wiggling around in their mouth. The caveson holds the bit more steady.


you obviously dont know your nose bands either ------- a cavesson doesnt hold the bit in place

you neeed to brush up on you bits and bitting and nose bands plus tack in gerneral

another quote by you
The oddest thing I've ever run into is a 'bit popper', my friend's little 13 hand pony. His jaw is so tiny and short he pops the bit with his back teeth almost constantly. There's no room to put the bit lower, if it is, it's banging against his tushes and he gets frantic. Someone even seems to have almost completely hacked off the leading edge of the two lower first molars to try to stop him.

obviously ill fitting bridle -- some horses and ponies are between sizes of there bridle
so the answer is check the length of the cheek peices they might have to be altered or down sized on a bridle same to with a brow band or head peice as some horses and ponies have wider or narrower head


only a novice would let a freinds pony continue in discomfort

slc2
Aug. 18, 2009, 06:31 AM
Well, goes like witch hunt, you're barking up the wrong tree as usual. Cavesons can indeed keep the bit steadier in the mouth, by steadying the jaw, and they don't need to be terribly tight to do it, and that lady had literally a dozen people go over that pony - vets, dentists, trainers, people far more experienced than I, and dentistry, chiropractic, ulcer meds, changes of bit, adjustment and everything else tried, did nothing. It was simply a long standing habit and no indication of any pain or discomfort at all. Before she got the pony someone had put a huge bit set in his front molars hoping to keep him from catching the bit. Conclusion of her vet and trainer, he just is simply a very mouthy pony who constantly has to have something in his mouth and be playing with it. None of the professionals who looked at tthat pony felt any discomfort at all was involved.

Cavesons - ANY caveson, change how the bit works in the horse's mouth. Ride without a caveson. Feel the horse's response. Put a plain caveson on - the response is different. And if I were to go low and use insults, as you have, if you can't feel the difference, that's a shame. A dropped noseband has a different effect on the horse's response, a flash different again. They aren't just for dressup. They change how the horse responds. That's why they were developed in the first place.

Additionally, 'novices don"t let a friends pony continue in discomfort'? This is the point you're brushing absurdity. First, there is no discomfort with this pony. Secondly, how do you suppose the world's 'novices' get other horse people to take their advice? Horse people are not really known for having flexible opinions as you have so many times demonstrated. Once they get an idea in their heads, it's pretty hard to change it. A horse is someone's property in the United States, and they can do pretty much whatever they want with it as far as training no matter what anyone says. Our cruelty to animals laws don't extend to bitting or riding methods.

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Aug. 18, 2009, 08:22 AM
Bobblehead - so glad you resolved the problem!
it's funny how differently horses will respond when uncomfortable or in pain, so it's good you listened! I've also learned that when my horse seems recalcitrant to look for the issue: is it me? is there something bothering him? and sometimes the issue isn't quite so easy to figure out. Glad you're back on track.

egontoast
Aug. 18, 2009, 01:48 PM
Cavesons can indeed keep the bit steadier in the mouth, by steadying the jaw, and they don't need to be terribly tight to do it,

A regular cavesson without a flash as compared to a drop or crank which has been cranked would have to be awfully tight in order to make any difference whatsover on the steadiness of the bit. Keep back pedalling.

Bobblehead
Aug. 18, 2009, 02:56 PM
Yes!

This is why if you see a horse moving naturally in his/her pasture who is correctly moving from behind, they look beautifully collected.
I do envy people who actually see their horses moving in the pasture. Mine always has her head down in the grass. Occasionally she ambles around. That's it.

egontoast
Aug. 18, 2009, 03:48 PM
Okay, rest of story. Last year I switched to a new farrier, and he's been trimming her religiously every 6 weeks. Feeling my ignorance, I've been deferring to his strong opinion that it's best to keep them on a regular schedule like this, even though her feet don't look to me like they need to be done that often. My trainer believes that the reason my horse is sore now is that our extremely wet early summer softened her feet up, then she was trimmed a little early, then right after that the weather heated up and the ground hardened, and she's been worked regularly all that time. Not saying the farrier did anything wrong, but it didn't work for my horse. Trainer encouraged me to be more assertive with the farrier, and I'll definitely do that. Trainer is very knowledgeable, farrier is very knowledgeable, but they don't agree on every point and the trainer does know me and my horse better. Both of them do say, though, that this should be a temporary problem which will heal fairly quickly with proper management.



A regular six week schedule is not trimming 'early'