Andalusian Contact/Mouth issue about to lose my mind. Help!
My lovely 8 year old Andalusian mare has ongoing issues with her mouth and accepting contact on the bit. My mare is a homebred and I have had her all her life. She has had ongoing issues with her teeth that I just did not get for quite a while since every vet or dentist I have ever had do any horses teeth has complained about the previous float job.
My mare had regular dental care as a youngster from either a licensed vet or equine dentist. Was started under saddle at age 4 (four years ago). Was floated once a year her five and six year old years. Since then has been checked and floated every six month since I figured out that she gets awful sharp points and a major wave quickly. In theory she has been pain free for two full years. Still, she fights any kind of contact. She will open her mouth and fling her head when I ask for contact.
I ride two other horses that don't have these same issues. So while my hands may not be perfect the issue is unique to her.
I was riding my mare in a KK loose ring (not the thickest and not the thinnest), then tried the myler french link. In between tried a rubber mullen mouth, and regular snaffle with a loose ring. A few months ago I bought one of the Myler, comfort bauchers and no difference. I do notice the 5" Myler is huge on her when other 5" have fit fine. I have a KK D ring that I could try and also a bunch of full checks.
I decided that for this summer I was just going to hack her out on the buckle and not fight about the mouth and have had a blast with her this summer. She is light to the aids and works just lovely off my legs and seat. I have taken a few jumping lessons on her this summer just for fun. She is a dream about everything as long as I don't ask for contact. We have also done a lot of long and low work on the buckle and she has muscled up in all the right places over the summer.
My instructor says that my mare has made phenomenal progress otherwise this past year and that is true. She thinks I should try a flash and just not worry about her opening her mouth and flinging her head for right now. It is such a contrast to how my other two horses go that is is majorly disconcerting.
I am pretty much at my wits end and I want to progress with her and that will mean working through this issue. I want to do dressage with her with a bit and regular bridle. Bitless is not a realistic option for us. Please do not start a debate about bitless here as that won't be helpful.
Otherwise, I am very open to suggestions and appreciate any one willing to share their own experiences and how they worked through an issue like this. Does anyone think yet another bit will make a difference? Any exercises anyone can suggest that might help her to accept some contact? Thanks!