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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec. 8, 2007
    Posts
    420

    Default At a loss..(as to what else I can do)

    I am at a loss on what to do for my horse, and I am also a bit frusterated.
    First, I will tell you my issues, then I will tell you what I am going to do. Then I need your help and ideas and tips, pretty please?!?!

    My horse is a skinny 16.3 ottb. I am wroking on getting weight on him. He looks much better than when I got him, but I figure it will be next summer before he is about perfect.
    Issues-
    - my saddle does not fit him. I am borrowing saddles, can not find anything that does not pinch him. I need a new saddle for myself too. I do not have money to drop into a custom right now. But I do not think that is the answer, as I am trying to get weight and muscle on him still.

    - he moves with his head UP. I can't get him to bring it down if we do more than walk. I have been trying, and no luck. I'm a bit frusterated.


    Me trying to help:

    - Calling a chiro. I would like to see if this helps him out.
    -I had his teeth done(they were BAD!)
    -I keep trying different saddles and different pad combos.. trying to find a decent fit.
    -I am walking hills. Up and down before and after we ride.
    -I am setting up ground poles..
    -I am just walking with minimal trotting right now.. over and over the hils and poles. Trying to get him going from hind to front. And to use his neck and stretch out.

    What else can I do for my boy? Short of not riding him for the next year due to the saddle issue, any thoughts, tips, anything?!?!
    Thank you!!



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr. 23, 2008
    Posts
    1,411

    Default

    Well, Im not exactly qualified to give this kind of adivice, but here it goes anyways. First, I would have a full vet check on him if you think he might be in some kind of pain. Maybe try riding him bareback to see if the saddle is the cause of the head being to high.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr. 8, 2004
    Location
    The Great, uh, Green (?!?!) North!
    Posts
    3,875

    Default

    Does he have any post-track training, or is that what you're working on...?

    Once you've ruled out the physical issues, treat him like a baby. Ask him to motor forwards - he'll start to naturally use his hind end.

    Also, proper work on the lunge with side reins to encourage him to reach over his back can help. Be sure to enlist the help of someone who knows how to lunge properly to create an uphill and balanced horse as you can make things worse doing it incorrectly...
    "Adulthood? You're playing with ponies. That is, like, every 9 year old girl's dream. Adulthood?? You're rocking the HELL out of grade 6, girl."



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec. 8, 2007
    Posts
    420

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by spmoonie View Post
    Well, Im not exactly qualified to give this kind of adivice, but here it goes anyways. First, I would have a full vet check on him if you think he might be in some kind of pain. Maybe try riding him bareback to see if the saddle is the cause of the head being to high.
    Yep,
    I did talk to a vet about everything. He wanted to give him some more time....said light riding(which I am doing. We walk with little trotting at this point) And if things don't get better call him back and we will go from there.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct. 30, 2001
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    1,283

    Default

    How are you asking him to drop his head? What kind of bit?

    Working on a collected canter should be on your list too.

    Do you ever lunge him?



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct. 20, 2008
    Location
    Florida, USA
    Posts
    779

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by spmoonie View Post
    Well, Im not exactly qualified to give this kind of adivice, but here it goes anyways. First, I would have a full vet check on him if you think he might be in some kind of pain. Maybe try riding him bareback to see if the saddle is the cause of the head being to high.
    I agree with spmoonie.... and I'm pretty sure (like 99.99% sure) that when you find a saddle that fits him... he'll be more apt to bring his head down. Him having his head up is only a defense mechanism... especially if the saddles are too tight and/or resting on his withers!!!
    I agree that getting a custom right now is probably not the BEST idea if he is going to change much... unless you work with someone that will understand that. Saddles can be refitted as he changes...
    On the other hand... why not try to lunge him in side reins (since you had his teeth done he should be fine with a bit in his mouth) for a bit and see if he drops into the contact- you can use a surcingle to make sure he has no pressure points!
    A chiropractor is a great idea except... if you still can't find a saddle that will work for him... you'll be undoing all the "good-doing". If I was in your shoes, I'd get him adjusted, start lunging him... or even long-lining him... see how he does. If he's still not willing to go down after that. Get the vet out asap.
    I wouldn't expect a horse to go on the bit if the saddle was a bad fit though... I can promise that much.
    Best of luck... and hope you find a saddle fast at an affordable price.
    BTW, why can't you seem to find a saddle that fits him? Shark-fin withers?? Wider shoulder... ???
    Might be able to help you in the right direction
    Proudly living in my "let's save the world bubble"!



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun. 12, 2007
    Location
    CT
    Posts
    6,038

    Default

    After a basic once over by the vet...

    Find a saddle with a tree shape that is generally right- but too wide. Get a nice thick saddle pad, like those Rambo ones, and put a thick sheepskin half pad on top. Now, horsie is unlikely to be able to feel you use your seat- but it will work for a while while you do light work and build him up.

    Stop trying to bring his head down. Leave it wherever he puts it until he has enough muscle to do otherwise. Lounge him once or twice a week for 5-10 minutes in side reins at the walk and trot so he can learn to go forward into contact without worrying about balancing your weight. If you have a really, really gradual hill, you can lounge him there after a few weeks (assuming he's trustworthy).



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec. 8, 2007
    Posts
    420

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Ibex View Post
    Does he have any post-track training, or is that what you're working on...?

    Once you've ruled out the physical issues, treat him like a baby. Ask him to motor forwards - he'll start to naturally use his hind end.

    Also, proper work on the lunge with side reins to encourage him to reach over his back can help. Be sure to enlist the help of someone who knows how to lunge properly to create an uphill and balanced horse as you can make things worse doing it incorrectly...

    Duh, I left all that out. I am sorry!!
    He was last on the track 2 years ago. He bowed a tendon, rehabbed for a year, then trail rode/endurance rode for a year, now I have him. The breeder says he was very well trained(for what I do not know?)
    He is green in the ring, has no clue about bending really, staying on the rail, etc. He thinks all leg means GO. I have been working on making him move forward off my leg, bending, transitions, etc.. But all he does is string out and put his head up...
    BUT today he did better, with the ground pole work.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec. 8, 2007
    Posts
    420

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by joiedevie99 View Post
    After a basic once over by the vet...

    Find a saddle with a tree shape that is generally right- but too wide. Get a nice thick saddle pad, like those Rambo ones, and put a thick sheepskin half pad on top. Now, horsie is unlikely to be able to feel you use your seat- but it will work for a while while you do light work and build him up.

    Stop trying to bring his head down. Leave it wherever he puts it until he has enough muscle to do otherwise. Lounge him once or twice a week for 5-10 minutes in side reins at the walk and trot so he can learn to go forward into contact without worrying about balancing your weight. If you have a really, really gradual hill, you can lounge him there after a few weeks (assuming he's trustworthy).

    I have not really done much to try to bring his head down, other than exactly what you said, wait. I guess I just thought we would have some response by now.
    BUT I think alot has to do with the saddle. I would run around with my head up if my back was pinched too.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct. 30, 2001
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    1,283

    Default

    Given the added info, definitely start working with the lunge line. Get some side reins and start long. Be sure you work evenly on both sides!



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec. 8, 2007
    Posts
    420

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JinxyFish313 View Post
    Given the added info, definitely start working with the lunge line. Get some side reins and start long. Be sure you work evenly on both sides!

    thank you!



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr. 28, 2004
    Location
    Saratoga Springs, NY
    Posts
    4,565

    Default

    Do you have any idea how many racehorses I get on (I'm an exercise rider, as well as a h/j rider) that I've been told are really well broke, really well trained, even have a win or 2, and find that they have no mouth, can't move off the leg, don't steer and can't even travel in a straight line? Well broke, my a$$! Lol. My advice, treat him like a green as grass baby, lots of longe work as others have said, and when you ride, lots of work moving forward, straight (his body, not just straight lines ;P) and make him use that motor. Remember, the more he uses that hind end, the better able he'll be to lift his back and drop his head. Dressage 101. Lol. Good luck!



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan. 12, 2009
    Posts
    288

    Default Some Back Ground

    Mamy is a WONDERFUL new Mom for this horse he is a gorgeous prospect and when she's done with him he will be something.

    His breeder/trainer do all their own work and personally foal and break their babies. They employee mostly English or Irish riders @ the training center.
    Mamy's horse is a very well bred TB G, who was properly broke from ground up. He had round pen work, lunge line, ground driving then was sat on. He was flatted and ridden out in sets w/ pony horse. Ridden XC thru woods up n down hills and sent forward on a loose rein..well before he was asked to put his head down and take a hold as a race horse. He trained @ Fair Hill and had lots of "out back" time there.They did lots of hacking to and from training track.
    He injured the leg when he slipped on the Tapeta track, a horse in front threw a shoe and he stepped on it.
    He has had 1 year of full Bow Back rehab w/ scans along teh way to detail progress.
    Then another year doing alot of cross country hacking w/ minimual ring work by a weekend trail rider.
    He has high withers but they aren't abnormally high, he knows whoa and go, but no lateral skills and 2 years of no real education can make for a stiff unsupple horse.
    He is capable and ready for a kick in the butt and made to step up to the bit and not be evasive. He has no reason for a sore back or hocks. Beyond the bow and some sore feet from stomping flies w/O front shoes for a month he is clean legged. He was never joint injected or suffered any of the track abuses.
    He may have only ran 1-2 times if @ all. He was going to be a "big" horse not a cheap claimer. And his bow in any other trainers hands would not have kept him from being run down the claiming ladder.
    He has enjoyed having it his way for a while and not a ungenerous horse he has to remember its time to "Give" back now vacations over.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct. 30, 2001
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    1,283

    Default

    I forgot one thing...carrot stretches

    Are you familiar with them at all?



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov. 15, 2005
    Location
    NY
    Posts
    6,754

    Default

    Think of it this way- first he has to learn and develop his muscles to carry himself, and then he has to learn and develop the muscles to do that 'with his head down' or in a relaxed frame. He's probably going to be sore several times along the way.
    By the time he can carry himself, he will have bulked up and he may be ready for that saddle you need to buy. What's wrong with borrowing until then, if they work?
    You're taking the first steps of a great journey. Enjoy it.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec. 8, 2007
    Posts
    420

    Default

    Thank you everyone for chiming in!!!
    Someone asked what bit it is an eggbut snaffle with a french link.
    as for his withers, I don't know! He is pretty typical.. ( can you tell anything from pictutres? This was taken 2 days ago:
    http://i12.photobucket.com/albums/a2.../100_39511.jpg
    http://i12.photobucket.com/albums/a2.../100_39531.jpg

    This was not my saddle, and not padded up because I was trying to get the saddle pad dirty to see where it was pinching ( down the spine near the withers)
    http://i12.photobucket.com/albums/a2.../100_38771.jpg )

    UncleWiggle/Pat thanks for chiming in!! I'm really enjoying Chimmy. And I sort of think he likes me too, I love it!!

    I will start lunging!! and love carrot stretches!! Great idea!



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec. 8, 2007
    Posts
    420

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Angela Freda View Post
    What's wrong with borrowing until then, if they work?
    You're taking the first steps of a great journey. Enjoy it.

    There is nothing wrong with borrowing,except I can't find anything that works for him yet. AND if you look at the pics I just posted you will see I'm not exactly built to borrow...( 6'2 150 lbs, freakish femur, LOL!)



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jul. 9, 2008
    Posts
    724

    Default

    IMO...

    I wouldn't bother riding him other then hacking on the buckle if you can't find, or afford a saddle that fits him. Keep him at a good body tempature, and quiet in a non stressful enviorment with hay in front of him 24/7. Lunge him 5 days a week in side reins.. start slow and increase the work load. The more he's working and developing muscle in the right places the more you will be able to feed him grain wise. Intensive Care GI by McIntosh is a good supplement. In my experience it helps put weight on.

    Once he's working, and gaining more weight and muscle it may not be as difficult to find a saddle that fits.



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul. 20, 2003
    Location
    CA
    Posts
    1,426

    Default

    Feeds that I have used successfully to help add muscle include alfalfa hay, Purina Ultium and rice bran (prefer the pelleted variety). Also make sure to treat the horse for encysted strongyles with either Quest or a Power Pac de-wormer in the fall and the spring.
    Horsezee



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Dec. 8, 2007
    Posts
    420

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by kitsunegari View Post
    IMO...

    I wouldn't bother riding him other then hacking on the buckle if you can't find, or afford a saddle that fits him. Keep him at a good body tempature, and quiet in a non stressful enviorment with hay in front of him 24/7. Lunge him 5 days a week in side reins.. start slow and increase the work load. The more he's working and developing muscle in the right places the more you will be able to feed him grain wise. Intensive Care GI by McIntosh is a good supplement. In my experience it helps put weight on.

    Once he's working, and gaining more weight and muscle it may not be as difficult to find a saddle that fits.
    Thank you. This is what I have been thinking the past few days too.
    I think I may try to add lunch to his feed. I need tot alk to the BO. I looked at the feed schedule yesterday and noticed he was down to only 2 flakes of hay a day... but up to 1 1/2 scoops 2x a day.. I want him to have more hay too. I do not think 1 flake twice a day is enough.



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