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View Full Version : Observation: my horse jumps better unbraided then braided



cherham
May. 30, 2010, 11:25 AM
Could someone clarify that I am not crazy. I swear then when my horse is not braided he jumps SOOOO much better. Drops his head lower over the fences, does not seem so "stiff" and up coming in the fences. I have video that I have watched over and over again....both schooling at home and at the shows and when he is not braided he seems so much more comfortable to drop his neck over the fences. Being a very sensitive skinned guy (read HATES having his mane pulled) I am wondering whether the tight hunter braids are making him uncomfortable and pulling at his mane while he is jumping......I might add that the braider does an excellent job but the braids are done up VERY tight. Perhaps suggest to her that we loosen them up a touch? Any thoughts?

Milo19
May. 30, 2010, 11:46 AM
It could make sense. I don't think you're crazy.

If his braids are very tight or uncomfortable to him, I can see why he wouldn't want to stretch his neck out and really use himself over fences. If stretching his neck means further pinching from the tight braids, he's not going to be inclined to do it.

norcalammie
May. 30, 2010, 12:36 PM
Had a hunter who HATED being braided. When on course he would toss his head and the rounds were not pretty. At one show I told my trainer it was the braids and I showed him the next day unbraided. Went from no ribbons to placing second in good company. After that I showed him roached and did well consistently. Some horses just cannot stand being braided and believe me we tried everything - braiding right before the class, looser braids, using a numbing substance on his nect to no avail. Braided his forelock and roached the rest.

Big_Grey_hunter
May. 30, 2010, 12:51 PM
You are not craxy. I knew a horse just like yours. He had a fabulous jump, but he HATED the braids. He would suck back and refuse to stretch his beck over fences. They fized this braiding the base of the braids very loose. He still preferred being unbraided, but it did not affect his performance

winfieldfarm
May. 30, 2010, 01:40 PM
NOT crazy at all...I can't ride well when I have a wedgie. Totally distracted and will stop to pick my butt in front of the pope if I have to.

kellyb
May. 30, 2010, 01:44 PM
NOT crazy at all...I can't ride well when I have a wedgie. Totally distracted and will stop to pick my butt in front of the pope if I have to.

:lol::lol::lol:

Small Change
May. 30, 2010, 01:47 PM
That's why Milton was never braided in the latter part of his career. :)

cherham
May. 30, 2010, 01:51 PM
You guys are awesome. My sanity is restored. I will delicately suggest to my braider that she not braid so tight next show and see what happens. Thanks everyone.

kookicat
May. 30, 2010, 02:22 PM
Lilly was like this. Could not show her plaited at all- she would shake and shake her head until I pulled them out. Didn't matter what I did with the plaits. Some horses just don't like them.

Go Fish
May. 30, 2010, 02:55 PM
Try keeping braids in at home (not full braids, just braid the mane over). Maybe for several days. Take them out, then a week or so later, braid again. I had a horse that hated being banded. It's what we did and it worked. Working at home with the same feeling he's experiencing at shows may make him more comfortable.

I would not show a hunter unbraided. He's got to get used to it. Looser braids may help. Talk to your braider to see if he/she has any ideas.

Moocow
May. 30, 2010, 03:43 PM
Also knew a stallion like this. Braid him and he'd have 12+ faults in a round. Take the braids out and he'd be clean every time. Just didn't like the tightness he got on his skin where the hair was pulled tight!

trilogy
May. 30, 2010, 03:49 PM
I worked with a horse that was the reverse. She also went in jumper braids because if her mane got in the reins or god forbid you yanked out a single hair over the fence you were not getting to the next one.She wasent great to braid but once there in she was much better

hntrjmprpro45
May. 30, 2010, 05:55 PM
Keep in mind that most horses will jump more relaxed at home than at shows. I think for most horses, its not that they dislike the braids or are hindered by them, but more so that they are a little anxious about being at a show and the braids only add to that.

I like the suggestion of braiding at home. It'll at least help the horse get used to it. Also, when braiding, check how the horse is standing. If he stands with his head up fairly high (but otherwise rides/jumps with head lower), then the braids may not "stretch" enough. If this is the case you could try to keep his head lower while braiding (maybe a low haynet or just a helper keeping an eye on him making sure he is not acting like giraffe). Just an idea.

KristieBee
May. 30, 2010, 08:03 PM
for what it's worth, cindy smith (animalsmith.com) is an animal communicator and she says the number one request she gets from show horses, -bar none- is to loosen up the braids because they pull and hurt when the horses really use their necks while jumping.

joiedevie99
May. 30, 2010, 08:08 PM
Yup - definitely try some thing at home before your next show. Figure out how loose they can be without falling out, and how loose they need to be to make him happy (you don't have to sew them up for this purpose). Try braiding with rubber bands instead of thread. And yes, if all else fails, roach him.

RockinHorse
May. 30, 2010, 08:11 PM
Keep in mind that most horses will jump more relaxed at home than at shows. I think for most horses, its not that they dislike the braids or are hindered by them, but more so that they are a little anxious about being at a show and the braids only add to that.



I agree and would add that, in addition, most riders are more relaxed at home or when schooling than when showing. Depending on how the rider's tension manifests itself, it can also impact how the horse is jumping in the show ring.

indygirl2560
May. 31, 2010, 02:17 AM
I agree and would add that, in addition, most riders are more relaxed at home or when schooling than when showing. Depending on how the rider's tension manifests itself, it can also impact how the horse is jumping in the show ring.

I think the OP is saying that she's shown the horse braided and unbraided, not just braided up at shows and not at home...

kookicat
May. 31, 2010, 07:07 AM
I agree and would add that, in addition, most riders are more relaxed at home or when schooling than when showing. Depending on how the rider's tension manifests itself, it can also impact how the horse is jumping in the show ring.

I showed Lilly both plaited and un-plaited. I had my trainer do the same. She went much better un-plaited. :) Trainer said she was just a 'delicate flower' :lol:

3eme
May. 31, 2010, 01:36 PM
Sorry to hijack, but this thread is just too darn timely for me to pass on the opportunity:

Do you think that the opposite can be true?

Like, is it possible that braiding can mellow a horse out? I braided my horse for the very first time this weekend, and he was way less stressed than usual, and went 10 times better. The next day, when I didn't braid, he was back to his usual hot cranky self.

Coinckydink????

Ibex
May. 31, 2010, 01:43 PM
Is it possible that his forelock is tickling him?? I think it was here I read about someone's horse that was fussy at home, and steady away. For whatever reason they braided his forelock at home one day and Presto!, the relaxed show pony appeared.

Mozart
May. 31, 2010, 03:31 PM
Perhaps the horse can be braided while he has has head down eating hay? Would make the braider's job harder but then they wouldn't feel tight when he stretches over a jump.

Some dressage riders who do running braids on their Andalusion type horses do the braid while the horse's neck is flexed so that is not too tight when the horse is working in a frame.

Sacred_Petra
Jun. 1, 2010, 02:42 AM
Sorry to hijack, but this thread is just too darn timely for me to pass on the opportunity:

Do you think that the opposite can be true?

Like, is it possible that braiding can mellow a horse out? I braided my horse for the very first time this weekend, and he was way less stressed than usual, and went 10 times better. The next day, when I didn't braid, he was back to his usual hot cranky self.

Coinckydink????

I just started a drafty that couldn't stand his forelock bouncing around. He'd fling his head around like crazy unless you tucked it under his forelock. He still flung his head around a little bit afterwards, but you could get him working, moving, and somewhat focused.

As for the OPs problem. I don't know how fashionable/acceptable they are, but can you do scalloped braids (they're in the grooming to win book)? You can probably do the plaits looser, and I believe the scalloped braids have a bit more flex.