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View Full Version : What bit/bridle should I try? (Horse throwing head)



Zephyr
Oct. 1, 2009, 08:09 AM
Let me lay it out for you, and then any advice is welcome!

I took my horse to a show last weekend (Novice), and he was very strong and fussy in both jumping phases. I took off my running martingale because it seemed to make him want to rear or flip (but I think it was too short of a size).

He does a combination of bolting or running out with his shoulder in whatever direction he wants, followed by throwing his head up whenever I try to stop or slow him. He wears a plain, double-jointed snaffle (just added a figure-8 which seems to help with the mouth-gaping evasion, at least).

Some other factors:
--He doesn't do it when we jump at home
--He just had his teeth floated in the spring
--I've had him for years and his usual problem is to be too pokey in jumping
--I got a new jumping saddle a few months ago, but I don't think that's the problem since he goes so well at home

Anyway, it's made it feel dangerous to have him battle with me so much, even though about 1 stride out from the jump he locks on and focuses and jumps great, no questions asked.

Just wondering if there's a mild bit he might like better, or if you've ever had a similar problem. As things stand now, I won't be competing him again because he was just SHOCKINGLY naughty, no fun at all. And that's quite a shame because I love to compete!

Catalina
Oct. 1, 2009, 08:43 AM
Have you had his hocks and stifles checked?

You said you just added the Figure 8; it could be possible that that was irritating him and causing the head flipping and brattiness. The first time I put a flash on a horse that I had that was a horrid mouth gaper, he refused to move. Thake away the evasion and it can peeve them off :winkgrin:.

BigRuss1996
Oct. 1, 2009, 08:49 AM
Not sure if this was just this last event or if you mean he does this every time but....
If you are using all the same tack as at home and he is fine at home then maybe....it's you? Are you more nervous at competitions and maybe he is picking up on that and reacting to you? Sometimes when people are nervous they ride differently..(i.e take their leg off instead of using more for more support, etc) and sometimes we don't even know we are doing it.
Also do you take him away from home much? Sometime going for schoolings with friends etc can help them if that is the problem so it's less exciting to go some place new.

Zephyr
Oct. 1, 2009, 09:38 AM
Have you had his hocks and stifles checked?

You said you just added the Figure 8; it could be possible that that was irritating him and causing the head flipping and brattiness. The first time I put a flash on a horse that I had that was a horrid mouth gaper, he refused to move. Thake away the evasion and it can peeve them off :winkgrin:.
When I first got him years ago he was back-sore, so I had the vet out to inject his hocks, and he said it wasn't necessary (wow, thanks!). Since then, a VERY slow conditioning program in the spring has helped alleviate the sore back.

Yes, part of it could definitely be the anger at taking away his favorite resistance...



Not sure if this was just this last event or if you mean he does this every time but....
If you are using all the same tack as at home and he is fine at home then maybe....it's you? Are you more nervous at competitions and maybe he is picking up on that and reacting to you? Sometimes when people are nervous they ride differently..(i.e take their leg off instead of using more for more support, etc) and sometimes we don't even know we are doing it.
Also do you take him away from home much? Sometime going for schoolings with friends etc can help them if that is the problem so it's less exciting to go some place new.

I forgot to mention - he did it as his last show a month ago, too. We did Novice last fall and he was GREAT, really really easy to control. This year he's gotten more fired up, not sure if it's confidence now that he is so certain about the jumps (used to be a stopper).

Mid-summer he was really packing around the courses at several schooling shows no matter how badly I forgot to ride (and I was definitely forgetting to use leg), but just lately--a month ago--he decided (before the figure 8) to gape his mouth and flip and toss his head and run off in every direction. We get a TON of time faults because I can't turn him quickly!

(Another theory is that he's getting TOO used to the Ky Horse Park, where we show the most - he knows what that warm-up ring means, and gets reeaaaally naughty when we go in there, and he's been around that jump course more than any other.)

BigRuss1996
Oct. 1, 2009, 10:45 AM
Sounds as if he could definately be one of the smart ones who figures out what xco is all about and becomes a horse of a different color.... They can be amazing xco machines once you can harness all the enthusiam. I wouldn't play too much with bigger bits as that could make the head flipping worse. If the figure eight helps keep using it and work on some exercises to keep his attention on you and not whats going on around him so much so he can focus better on the job at hand. Once they learn about the start box and xco and know where they are going some can definately become a handful.




When I first got him years ago he was back-sore, so I had the vet out to inject his hocks, and he said it wasn't necessary (wow, thanks!). Since then, a VERY slow conditioning program in the spring has helped alleviate the sore back.

Yes, part of it could definitely be the anger at taking away his favorite resistance...




I forgot to mention - he did it as his last show a month ago, too. We did Novice last fall and he was GREAT, really really easy to control. This year he's gotten more fired up, not sure if it's confidence now that he is so certain about the jumps (used to be a stopper).

Mid-summer he was really packing around the courses at several schooling shows no matter how badly I forgot to ride (and I was definitely forgetting to use leg), but just lately--a month ago--he decided (before the figure 8) to gape his mouth and flip and toss his head and run off in every direction. We get a TON of time faults because I can't turn him quickly!

(Another theory is that he's getting TOO used to the Ky Horse Park, where we show the most - he knows what that warm-up ring means, and gets reeaaaally naughty when we go in there, and he's been around that jump course more than any other.)