I wanted to ask about the bit. I started my horse in a plain full cheek snaffle and then bought a Sprenger KK Ultra Full Cheek with the Aurigan mouth. (I think that's it.) It is the goldish colored bit and rather than a plain snaffle, it has a little ovalish piece in the middle jointed to either side of the snaffle.
It is supposed to be super soft for the horse. Well, my horse didn't like it. It wasn't a head shaking, angry sort of didn't like it. His dislike was so mild. It was almost like he would back off the contact just when he was settling in.
Just thought I would put this out there and let you know my experience. I have sinced just switched back to a plain snaffle and he is much happier.
Also, I noticed some horses don't like the loose ring of a loose ring snaffle and prefer the solid. Maybe it's something as easy as this?
Sorry! But that barn smell is my aromatherapy!
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Oh no fear of me getting after you, I am all about trying things, as you know.
I know so much of her history, I feel like I am "cheating" commenting on this thread. But it is interesting to see what people think (like, her being a square shaped horse.. no, she actually is a long rectangle) and the ideas they come up with. I didn't want to squash that.
Anyway... IMO the stiffness in her jaw originates in the stiffness in her back. When I rode her I could get her thru her back and into the rein but it was HARD. When Amy rode her, she could too, but it was HARD. I am sure Brendan would say the same thing.. yup, I can do it.. but it is HARD. Harder than it should be.
Due to her previous saddle issues, perhaps she has a damaged spot there. Perhaps because she was ridden - after being started very well by BG - by someone who pulled on both reins and kicked at the same time, but obviously MORE on the right rein, it did other damage to her. Physically/psychologically, both, who knows.
When you combine this with her very long back legs, high hips, weakish coupling, downhill back and then a really *nice* shoulder/neckset... I think she has a balance point naturally that she can work in and feels fine (having found it and having watched Amy find it on her). This is when she goes "like a hunter" and she does it beautifully and happily. But when you begin to try to lift her back up and transfer some of her balance back to her hind end, she is clearly unhappy. Not just like an average horse saying OH, THIS IS HARD.. she says OH THIS IS IMPOSSIBLE.. and I don't think she is lying.
If I owned her, I would spend my time on her back sorting out the places she is stuck, no matter what my eventual intention was for her. That's just me. I would not ask her to get under herself, I would not ask her to come up, I would not ask her to do anything but unkink her body. It's slow and boring work and no one wants to watch it or do it for a long time but sometimes thats what it takes. Would she be a great dressage horse in the end? I don't think so. She comes from jumping lines and she thinks like a natural hunter. She is not built to do dressage easily either. Would she be more comfortable jumping? Yes, absolutely. Would she be happier in her body in general? Of course, she's already come a long ways from the first day I met her Poor girl was like a board then. It may be just that you have to be patient longer and wait for her. It may be that the original damage done to her body by the pulling/pushing after BG had her has some residuals that are not going to go away.
You have her best interest in mind, you always have I would ask Brendan what his thoughts are about where this is going and where he thinks the problem originates, how he rides her thru it, does he ever get her completely stepping thru on both reins - does the circle of the aids/energy come around when he rides her.. and if so, what does he do to make that happen. On a scale of 1 - 10, how hard is it, 1 being easy, 10 being the hardest horse he's ever ridden. I think I consistently rated her a 6, maybe a 7 some days and I think Amy would agree. Not every horse is ever going to be easy, we wish they would, we hope they will, but some of them just won't. So his feedback might be interesting.
FWIW... IMO her jumping talent easily outstrips any minuses to the average hunter person about what she does in the bridle.
OH - Edited to add, I think I have something you might be interested it check your email later!
Edited again! To ask - was her brother who developed arthritis in his jaw ridden by the same trainer? I don't remember...
Last edited by EqTrainer; Jan. 1, 2009 at 11:45 AM.
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Given the description of her build and how she is to ride, it makes a lot of sense what's going on, and so does the experience and comments of your hunt seat rider. It also makes it seem less like this is due to something an injection would fix, and more like the impression the photograph gives, that she is doing the best she can.
Let the horse do what she is good at, and leave her happy.
Cute horse, what is her breeding? I also have a mare who does not give her back which effects the connection to the bridle. It's a vicious circle for the both of us. Lots of serpentines, voltes, 15m circles and of course, forward forward forward.
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