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  1. #1
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    Mar. 8, 2008
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    348

    Exclamation Crazy Red head TB mare... High head carriage? HELP!!!??

    Bit Dilemma…
    Ok, I have this Thoroughbred mare, (red head, 2 white eyes – the whole shebang! NUTS mare) She’s an AMAZING mover… but you cannot touch her face while riding… her head is so high up, tried a martingale on her, they do nothing! She has he neck up so high, BUT her nose is tucked, so martingales do nothing! Right now she is being ridden in a Broken Sequnda Hunter D-Ring Snaffle Bit - this is the best bit we've found for her, she listens in this better than any other bit was have tried. Does anyone have any ideas if another bit would work for her, to bring her head down some? I mean when you ask this horse to canter her neck is (no lie) less than 4 inches from your face. Draw reins work on her well! But I can’t ride her everyday in them. It’s not fair…
    You board with what I call a, sh!t disturber - Patty Lynch



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun. 20, 2007
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    77

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    I have a red headed chestnut TB mare as well.. she had a lot of the same issues when I got her. After buying a tack room wall full of bits I have finally found one that works great for her. I am using a pessoa bit that has copper rollers on it. I dont even know what it is called but my horse loves it! I have had this horse for 9 years now and was unable to find anything that she really liked until this one. I found that the snaffle type bits she hated and anything that had a break in the middle. I would seriously try this bit, its great! Good luck!
    Proud owner of a TB jumper mare!



  3. #3
    Join Date
    May. 23, 2008
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    North Dakota
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    218

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    Have you had her check out by the vet/chiropractor? She may have something going on to where that is the most comfortable position for her. My OTTB did some what the same thing, chiro found out she was out of alignment real bad, now head is much better.



  4. #4
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    Mar. 8, 2008
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    You board with what I call a, sh!t disturber - Patty Lynch



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun. 20, 2007
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    77

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    http://www.equestriancollections.com...upcode=ER00715

    I found it! Forgot to add if you havent already you may want to find a good dentist and have them check her out.
    Proud owner of a TB jumper mare!



  6. #6
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    Mar. 8, 2008
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    Elverson/Morgantown, Pa
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    Quote Originally Posted by wolfatbay2002 View Post
    Have you had her check out by the vet/chiropractor? She may have something going on to where that is the most comfortable position for her. My OTTB did some what the same thing, chiro found out she was out of alignment real bad, now head is much better.
    She's been this way since day 1... she's now 16 y/o lol Vet says she's 100% Healthy... she's just nuts
    You board with what I call a, sh!t disturber - Patty Lynch



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul. 30, 2009
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    If you don't need great breaks, try a waterford...my OTTB gelding is very "sensitive" We were in the Sprenger white rubber like strait bar for a while, and needing a little more control we switched to the waterford, he's been in it ever since.

    I find that sensitive mouths hate one break in the bit, I always try something that has more than two sections- they tend to be a little more maleable and conforming to the actual shape of the mouth without being so harsh with one joint.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr. 1, 2009
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    Hmmm.... at 16 you may just have to be okay with what you have. You CAN work with what you've got, you can begin to ask for her to come round and lift her back. You will likely have to work within the framework provided to you by her, which is a higher head carriage.

    You will likely have to deal with her throwing hissy fits and saying, "Let go of my face!" Not that you're going to be hanging on her face, because you won't be, but you will also not be leaving her alone. You will be asking her to acclimate to the feel of your hands connected to her mouth at all times.

    I am surprised that you are using a Segunda on a horse with high carriage, as they are desgined to lift a horse up, not encourage them to come down.

    You can also apply the use of draw reins, and if done correctly and not overused, they can help your mare learn to come over her back. I have used them many a time on high headed horses. Nice and loose, and it becomes the horse's idea to soften and bring their head down and their topline up.



  9. #9
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    Apr. 1, 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by SunshineSummertime View Post
    We were in the Sprenger white rubber like strait bar for a while...
    Do you mean a nathe? I love a nathe for sensitive mouthed horses. That and the happy mouth mullen mouth, and also the simple steel mullen mouth. Lovely for horses who are sensitive.



  10. #10
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    Nov. 28, 2006
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    ON, Canada
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    At 16 it may be very difficult to change the way she carries herself without a serious long-term plan.

    Obviously, investigate all possible phyiscal causes.

    You may want to start with lunging her in side reins, then maybe a chambon, but use these tools VERY carefully...start off very loose to avoid her freaking and flipping. Keep the sessions short. Gradually and over a period of time, increase the tension and length of the sessions. As she works from behind and builds the necessary muscle, she should start to stretch out.

    Once she is ok on the lunge, you could try riding her in a neck stretcher, but I would attempt none of this without the supervision of a qualified trainer.

    I would avoid draw reins with a horse like this. I would also dit down to a simple snaffle of some sort.

    I would also try some dressage lessons.
    Proud Member of the "Tidy Rabbit Tinfoil Hat Wearers" clique and the "I'm in my 20's and Hope to be a Good Rider Someday" clique


    1 members found this post helpful.

  11. #11
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    Mar. 8, 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spud&Saf View Post
    At 16 it may be very difficult to change the way she carries herself without a serious long-term plan.

    Obviously, investigate all possible phyiscal causes.

    You may want to start with lunging her in side reins, then maybe a chambon, but use these tools VERY carefully...start off very loose to avoid her freaking and flipping. Keep the sessions short. Gradually and over a period of time, increase the tension and length of the sessions. As she works from behind and builds the necessary muscle, she should start to stretch out.

    Once she is ok on the lunge, you could try riding her in a neck stretcher, but I would attempt none of this without the supervision of a qualified trainer.

    I would avoid draw reins with a horse like this. I would also dit down to a simple snaffle of some sort.

    I would also try some dressage lessons.
    I'm understanding that she's set in her ways. She's had an easy life I'll say. She deserves it though - she lost her field mate in a pretty crappy way 2 years ago and was there to see it all... needless to say she hasn't been the same since.

    I'm not looking for anything drastic... just something that will encourage her to drop her head a lot. I don't touch her face at all, she's going around on a loose rein, hoping it registers in her head... Mom's not pulling on my face, I think I'm going to try and relax a little bit... it's almost like she's resisting the bit.
    You board with what I call a, sh!t disturber - Patty Lynch



  12. #12
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    Nov. 28, 2006
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    ON, Canada
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    It's not so much that she is set in her ways that I was thinking you should be concerned with, its that musculoskeletal reconditioning of a horse of her age will be more difficult than a younger horse - it will be difficult to rebuild her physique due to more limited flexibility, etc.
    Proud Member of the "Tidy Rabbit Tinfoil Hat Wearers" clique and the "I'm in my 20's and Hope to be a Good Rider Someday" clique



  13. #13
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    Mar. 23, 2009
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    Paddle faster! I hear banjo music...
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    If she were mine I'd start her in a Pessoa rig on the lunge tape and strengthen the top line so that it becomes easier for her to work long and low than it does with her head up. Then work with a neck stretcher under saddle. and lots of transitions to get her through from behind.



  14. #14
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    Oct. 20, 2008
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    Florida, USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rebelpaintrider View Post
    Bit Dilemma…
    Ok, I have this Thoroughbred mare, (red head, 2 white eyes – the whole shebang! NUTS mare) She’s an AMAZING mover… but you cannot touch her face while riding… her head is so high up, tried a martingale on her, they do nothing! She has he neck up so high, BUT her nose is tucked, so martingales do nothing! Right now she is being ridden in a Broken Sequnda Hunter D-Ring Snaffle Bit - this is the best bit we've found for her, she listens in this better than any other bit was have tried. Does anyone have any ideas if another bit would work for her, to bring her head down some? I mean when you ask this horse to canter her neck is (no lie) less than 4 inches from your face. Draw reins work on her well! But I can’t ride her everyday in them. It’s not fair…
    Get the chiropractor out ASAP and check her withers!!!!
    Dislocated withers- which can happen from anything really- even rolling the wrong way... will make them VERY uncomfortable...
    after that, I'd really get a dentist... we had a mare at a sales barn come in and she had wolf teeth in as a 9 year old... don't ask how nobody ever noticed till then... and the mare was doing the high A/Os... not exactly back yard type!!
    Good luck
    Proudly living in my "let's save the world bubble"!



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep. 15, 2002
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    997

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    I absolutely agree with the poster above. I had the same issue with a lovely mare I own. She was most disagreeable to having a saddle put on her back, no matter how gently or how many soft cushy pads were added. This horse was not mean spirited in any way, shape or form however the withers and the shoulders in general were the problem. I did chiro work on her, lots of hot epsom salt towels before riding to make her more comfortable and slowly (albeit VERY slowly) she came to realize she was in less and less discomfort every time out. It took a lot of patience and a lot of work and now is just lovely and soft in her mouth and her neck carriage. And NO horse is nuts....this mare is telling you something...she hurts. And it sounds like she has been this way a long, long time. Good for you for trying to get to the bottom of it. Don't give up on her yet, give her a chance.



  16. #16
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    Jun. 17, 2001
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    down the road from bar.ka
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    Gotta say it...horses are not born nuts because they are red headed females.

    That is a convenient dumping ground for all sorts of behavioral problems created by conformation, bad training, PAIN and just being the square peg in the round hole-wrong horse for the job.

    If this mare, at 16, cannot drop her head and "round"? She CANNOT do it. Either she is built uphill and upright and cannot physically arrange herself that way or she hurts. Being "nuts" has nothing to do with it. If she is nuts, why are you riding her? That would be most unsafe.

    Unless you have a complete work up, including rads and blocks, done, you cannot say she is sound...because you, and your vet, have no idea.

    I get so sick of the cliches coming up when far easier and sometimes fixable things are at fault.

    Teeth, saddle fit, pain somewhere else, bad/incomplete/improper training and, yeah, BASIC CONFORMATION can create high headedness. Horses do not deliberately become "nuts", they REACT. Look to what is creating that reaction you interpret as "nuts". Solve that, solve the problem..although the solution may be she needs a different job.

    For all we know, nobody ever bothered to lunge her in side reins, ground drive or otherwise teach her to go properly-just yank and hope for the best. After 16 years of this, she has no topline or balance and may hurt to boot.

    But she is not "nuts" and deliberately resistent because she is a red headed female. She either does not know, is not built to do it or she hurts. Investigate each...or just put a bigger bit on her and tie her head down to "make it work".

    Recently known TWO TBs with issues blamed on TB temperment and soundness. WRONG. Kissing spines on both-they were in constantly moving and sometimes great pain.

    Off soapbox but...it's not the horse in 99.999% of cases. Pain or operator error.
    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.



  17. #17
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    Sep. 8, 2007
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    2,899

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    Chiropractor and then a bit search. Most horses have a "magic" bit, too bad it's usually the 1,000,000th bit we have tried on them. I got lucky with my young guy and hit the "magic" bit jackpot when I tried a hard rubber mullen mouth pelham. He acted like a different horse the moment I mounted up with that pelham in his mouth. He just plain loves the thing. Your mare will make it very clear when she likes the bit you are trying, and she is trying to make it clear that she does not like the one you are using now.



  18. #18
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    Mar. 5, 2007
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    Sweden
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    I know most people here are not big fans of the draw rein but if she accepts a little work on the draw rein it might be a good tool for you.

    If you can use the draw rein to make your horse understand that she can work comfortably in a lower frame you might just be able to make both of you happy.

    I don't normally reccomend using the drawrein the most common way, which is attached to the girth between your horses front legs. In this situation I think it may be helpful for you to use the draw rein this way though. I think you mention that your horse looks to "frame up" but with a high head carriage. I take it that she doesn't really evade the bit, she has either just become used to a higher head carriage or she it built in a way where carrying her head higher comes more natural to her.

    Use the draw rein not to pull her head down but as a tool to show her where hear head can be. Once she carries herself in the desired position make sure the drawrein is no longer in play.

    The reason is simple and can be demonstrated easily. If you have not yet had anybody ask you to do this, please try it.

    Find a doorway and stand in the middle of it with your arms along your sides and your palms facing in. At the start of the task, lift your arms out to press the back of your hands towards the frame/so9des of the doorway. Press the back of your hands firmly against the door for 60 seconds. I know you will get tired but please keep pressing your hands up against the frame.
    After 60 seconds, relax your arms ever so slightly but do no0t bring them in towarss youer body, keep0 them in place. Once your hands stop having contact with the doorframe take a small step back. Do not move your arms, hold them in place. Waith 5 to 10 seconds and then (without moving your arms, you should still hold them out like when you pressed them againssa the frame of that same door) take one big step forward. (if you have not tried this before, please do so now before reading on).

    You will notice that your hands have floated out and up and you can now no longer pass through the door way. Once the resistance goes away your hands will keep moving in this direction.

    It's a crude example but very useful when it comes to demonstrating or explaining the adverse effects of improper use of for example the draw rein.

    In this case however I think that the horse has learned to work in a certain way and the draw rein can help her find a different "venue" to work in. The key is to let the draw rein show her that she can work in a lower longer frame, the moment she is in that frame the drawrein should not influence anymore but she should rather be encouraged to take a feel on the real rein.
    Mind you that the draw rein should be purely educational. If it helps her understand that she can work comfortably in a lower frame it's good. If it forces a frame it will do the same as the doorway excercize. It will build resistance that will carry over and reinfoirce and undesirable behaviour.

    It is always tempting to work too much in the draw rein, horse feels smooth and goes super. Never forget thuugh that the drawrein is an educational tool and if you can make your horse work well in the drawrein she might use some brand new muscles for her. Give it 5 min max and then let her walk on a loose rein for a bit, then go back to regular work, knot the drawrein and drop it altogether if you have to. Do five minutes on the drawrein everyday for a week, just for learnig purposes. Then perhaps increase to two five min sessions with a break between if your horse still needs more time.
    Again, and I cannot stress this enough, the draw rein is an aid same as all the others, use the draw rein to show your horse that it's possible to work in a different frame, once she does it right, let her carry herself. If you force it you will only build the muscles that resists. Give her some time to develop the right muscles and if it's at all possible for her she will get there in time.

    Good luck!
    Last edited by DancingQueen; Oct. 3, 2009 at 02:06 AM. Reason: lots of spelling errors
    Timothy, stop lurking



  19. #19
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    Mar. 9, 2004
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    Seriously...check her back. My 9 year old TB always went around like a giraffe, for five years actually. He would go on the bit, but was very resistant...just hated it. We atributed it to all sorts of things...many of the same that you're using...... Crazy, high strung, quirky...in actuality he had back/si issues. A lameness vet diagnosed it when he started refusing fences on XC and refusing to go on the bit at the canter. I had him treated with si injections & mesotherapy and he's a completely DIFFERENT horse. He was telling us something, but we didn't speak the language. In retrospect, I feel terrible that I didn't figure it out sooner.
    "You can't blame other people. You can't always say what happened wasn't my fault, and you know what? Even if you have an excuse, shut up. "Bruce Davidson Sr.



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