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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Apr. 14, 2008
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    NY
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    2,460

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    You should contact the person you bought him from (or whoever was most familiar with) and ask for suggestions before you take suggestions from people who have never seen him. If your trainer who is in Aiken is familiar with him, call him/her - and see if she can help.

    I second the riding forward part - it sounds like he is too worried about his head; switching the bit could help, but you have to remember this is most likely a TRAINING issue, not a bit issue - switching the bit would probably only somewhat alter his performance and not address the training -- which is something that needs to be rectified before you spend money on bits or other training tools.

    Riding him forwards to the point of engaging him would make him pick up his head, as it's very hard for a horse to "drive forward" with a curled head placement. However, applying leg to a horse that is trained using leg aids is a little counter-productive - you have to use your seat to drive him forward, not your leg.

    @ MERRYGOROUND - I would add, you DONT want to sit the trot -- as this is concussive depending on how polished your independent seat is, and would encourage a horse to "curl" more -- using expressive, elaborate posts is better -- sitting the trot is more for "collection" training, or actual collection -- which is something you are not striving for ATM - if he is curled behind the bit, sitting the trot is only going to further supplicate his attempts to be behind the vertical, as he is going to feel more inclined to be in a 'constrained' position.

    It sounds to me he was trained in a more classical manner - that is "put the leg on, accept the bit" -- this is something that can be perplexing if you're not familiar with the training method behind it - so, at this point, "squeezing" him forward wouldn't delineate his curled neck. To rectify this, you would need to hold the outside rein steady - as this is the contact rein - when he curls you would "vibrate" the line (not the flossing of the teeth) to correct him. If he was trained in the method where leg means round, he would understand the outside is a "check" aid used to reinforce contact, not curling. To have him slow down (without getting him BTV/curled) you should be able to squeeze your inner thigh muscles in a short reprieve - to the horse that is trained by leg aids, this is typically the precursor to a halfhalt -- which would in turn bring him a little closer to being "on the vertical".

    Either way, I suggest calling his old trainer and your own trainer before following the advice of us on here -- just because we all have a different perspective and likely do not know the horse or the issue as well as your familiar trainers may. Good luck.

    EDIT: Some exercises that will help him get in front of the bit - and help YOU develop a feel for him:
    RIDING THE BROKEN LINE -
    This is my favorite and oft overlooked exercise, as it requires a degree of planning ahead of time - on the rail, start to move towards X at a trot - all the while subtly changing your bend so that your horse is now looking 'in' towards X - at X, start to ride back to the rail. This is a great introductory exercise that can be incorporated to include leg yield and eventually lateral movements like a half-pass. The change of bend in the middle of the ring will encourage the horse to engage himself and carry himself correctly - eventually with minimal aids from the rider.

    FIGURE EIGHT or 3 LOOP SERPENTINE:
    This is another overlooked exercise because it's boring - but it's very rewarding and can be done at any gait - though I suggest the trot as it requires a certain degree of coordination on the horse's part. In the median, you simply change bend - doing this several times over encourages the horse to "think ahead" and do the work himself - and eventually promote a degree of self carriage. The three loop serpentine will follow the same protocol: remember, these are BASIC exercises that truly promote a better understanding of self carriage without "BTV" contact.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7KG44BNxGc
    ^ Above is a good example of a broken line


    SHALLOW LOOP, CHANGE OF BEND:
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...e_quer.svg.png



  2. #22
    Join Date
    Feb. 6, 2003
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    Deep South
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    14,870

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    Quote Originally Posted by JWB View Post
    Have you contacted his previous owner/seller to find out if you're doing anything different, or what they were doing to combat the issue? Sounds as if it has escalated since you got him home. I'd get as much info/wisdom from the folks who were riding him last. It's possible that they may know his tricks and how to ride through them. Save yourself a ton of experimenting and a ton of $$ in new bits and equipment if they already know what works for him.
    They probably caused the problem.
    ... _. ._ .._. .._



  3. #23
    Join Date
    Aug. 25, 2005
    Location
    Northeast
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    10,809

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    Quote Originally Posted by Equibrit View Post
    They probably caused the problem.
    Yes!
    Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.



  4. #24
    Join Date
    Jun. 1, 2002
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    11,379

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    Quote Originally Posted by merrygoround View Post
    Yes!
    I'm going to say, maybe and probably but possibly not!

    I think that curling horses are born not made, horses always start out as either curlers or star gazers and they will default back to that when poorly ridden or upset even after they are trained out of it.

    It's possible that he was born a curler and his previous owner worked very hard at getting him to stop doing it, but something about the change in venue and change in rider and possibly riding style has triggered a flashback.

    Talking to the previous owner should give you a good idea, either it's a problem that they've worked very hard on or it's something they ignored as they stuffed him around.



  5. #25
    Join Date
    Sep. 14, 2002
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    Azle, Teh-has
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    7,803

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    Quote Originally Posted by Equibrit View Post
    They probably caused the problem.
    I was going to say the same thing.
    http://kaboomeventing.com/
    http://kaboomeventing.blogspot.com/
    Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!



  6. #26
    Join Date
    Sep. 7, 1999
    Location
    Tuscaloosa, Alabama
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    11,209

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    Quote Originally Posted by rollonhighway View Post
    I recently purchased a 8 year TB gelding (as in exactly a week ago today) - He settled in wonderfully and i've had the chance to hop on him several times.

    His record:

    Started U/S late and started eventing at almost six years old, moved up the ranks quickly - BN to Training in a year and a half (with many top 4 placements, two 1st places at training, etc). He just had several months off for a very small strain to his annular ligament in his left rear (evidently a pasture injury - his PPE ultrasounds looked great) - owner is moving across the country for school & couldn't take him along.

    Anyways,
    I have found that he is very sensitive - more so than any horse I have ever ridden. You pick up the reins and he just curls, put leg on and he just keeps the curl - even when his hind in is engaged - he just keeps almost zero contact.

    His teeth were done 3 weeks ago, saddle is a custom fit, etc.
    I just ordered his very own Micklem bridle & BOT sheet a few days ago so they should be arriving soon, i'll be very interested to see how he goes in the Micklem after seeing how these first few rides went.


    Anyone have suggestions, ideas, exercises, etc?

    I've dealt with sensitive horses before but nothing like this.



    (Incase anyone is wondering - I do have a trainer but she is in Aiken for the next three weeks, so I'm kind of on my own for a little bit.)
    Does he curl/stay BTV on a long rein? If not, lengthen your reins until he finds the bit and stays steady there. You can then (eventually) reel him back in to the most forward connection you can maintain - the one in which he is steady, relaxed, and authentic.

    I also like 3 short steps 3 big steps at trot and LOTS of variation in pattern, gait, direction, etc., to get them to step into the connection.
    When blood is the beverage of choice, the sharpest fangs feed first.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Aug. 21, 2012
    Posts
    638

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    Give him time. I usually just gently hack new horses for at least 2 weeks as I build trust and confidence. He maybe overwhelmed.
    I also use food treats from the ground as a bit exercise. From the ground, I will turn his head to the side on contact and reward him. It teaches them to accept the bit in a quiet relaxed way. The key being I make it very simple and easy for them to succeed. They learn this simple thing without having to deal with a rider. I think sometimes it is too many things for them to deal with at one time when you are teaching everything from the saddle and they get frustrated and resistant. I realize he is not that green, but often I find teaching them as if they have never done anything before helps to identify what the real issue may be.

    Sometimes we expect too much from our horses when we put them in new situations with new riders.



  8. #28
    Join Date
    Feb. 10, 2010
    Location
    Joppa, MD
    Posts
    564

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    Has he been ridden excessively in draw reins? A lot of times that seems to cause it. And they do tend to score well at the lower levels.



  9. #29
    Join Date
    Apr. 11, 2001
    Location
    Tennessee
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    6,620

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    Quote Originally Posted by Robby Johnson View Post
    Does he curl/stay BTV on a long rein? If not, lengthen your reins until he finds the bit and stays steady there. You can then (eventually) reel him back in to the most forward connection you can maintain - the one in which he is steady, relaxed, and authentic.
    This +1.

    In fact even if he doesn't do this, accepting steady contact on a long rein is the first place I would try to get to. Once you get the horse in a "neutral" frame--neck almost horizontal, mouth accepting and softening to the bit (but not face necessarily on the vertical--teach the horse to stretch down. Yep, you can actually teach one to stretch BEFORE you teach it shorten its frame. Repeating the lesson of stretching as you progressively over time ride in a shorter and shorter frame gives you a tool and an aid to correct on the occasions he starts getting BTV.

    I would not continue to ride the horse curled on the contact just trying to push him forward to fix it. If he's curled most likely the back is hollow, so while you might start getting him to uncurl your still developing the horse incorrectly--inverted back and all the wrong muscles. Fix the hind end and the back and your neck problems will solve themselves--that's what riding a horse back to front means.

    Personally I hate this problem (and I have fixed it on multiple horses) because it takes months and months if not years to truly fix and get the horse's whole body going correctly. You have to start over at the beginning.



  10. #30
    Join Date
    Oct. 20, 2008
    Location
    Sunshine State
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    2,215

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    But OP said that she had ridden the horse several times (prior to purchase) and the curling has gotten worse since she got the horse home, which leads me to think that something has changed with how the horse is being ridden if the problem is getting worse.

    That's why I suggest asking the previous rider.
    The rebel in the grey shirt


    2 members found this post helpful.

  11. #31
    Join Date
    Sep. 7, 1999
    Location
    Tuscaloosa, Alabama
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    Quote Originally Posted by JWB View Post
    But OP said that she had ridden the horse several times (prior to purchase) and the curling has gotten worse since she got the horse home, which leads me to think that something has changed with how the horse is being ridden if the problem is getting worse.

    That's why I suggest asking the previous rider.
    Well then let's state the obvious:

    "Stop cranking on him."
    When blood is the beverage of choice, the sharpest fangs feed first.



  12. #32
    Join Date
    Apr. 15, 2008
    Location
    Orlean, Va
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    2,060

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    Is his back hurting? Does the saddle fit?
    Intermediate Riding Skills



  13. #33
    Join Date
    Sep. 25, 2012
    Location
    Blythewood, South Carolina
    Posts
    98

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    I have a TB as well, and when I got her I was told I was the perfect match for her because I had soft hands. I didn't understand this until I tried her and realized that she was REALLY forward and engaged, but she would NOT take the bit what-so-ever. It was quite aggravating. I'm not sure what bit her previous owner used, but I used a rubber snaffle and now I use a happy d-ring snaffle. She's still really hard to teach to take the bit, but when I REALLY engage her, she starts to accept the bit, and ALWAYS if I start with flat, she's soft on the bit, but once I start doing transitions or over-fences work, she starts to take hold of the bit (Sometimes more than I wish.) Believe it or not, after almost owning her for 2 years, I still have figured this little mare out.

    Best of luck to you and the new boy!
    Save The Date 08-15-2011



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