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Andalusian Contact/Mouth issue about to lose my mind. Help!

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  • Original Poster

    #21
    My horse was very similar except he plotted around like a rabid giraffe. After his TMJ issues were resolved, and PSSM resolved, he was put to work. no more excuses. go forward to my hand. It took about a month to get him going fab, and i employed the help of a gogue to teach him that forward to my hand did not mean forward knock mommy's teeth out with your poll.[/QUOTE]

    Luckily she is not that bad. But your comment about the the TMJ makes me wonder. I had her biopsied for EPSM a few years back when she was developing some strange bulky muscles that turned out to be the instruction I was getting. Biopsy came back negative. Assuming PSSM is Poly Sacaride Storage Myopathy....same thing.

    Using a gogue is way above my skill level and there is no one here or within hours of here that could help me with that. Luckily she does not ever come anywhere even close to knocking my teeth out.

    Thank you for your thoughtful response.

    Comment


    • #22
      Originally posted by Baroquecoco View Post
      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!
      hands-- look here link2 page 1
      http://www.chronicleforums.com/Forum...d.php?t=178116

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #23
        Originally posted by Kyzteke View Post
        What a timely post.

        I am reading a book called "Lessons in Lightness," by Mark Russell. I'm sure you could get it used from Amazon.

        A whole slew of exercises to "lighten" the contact needed, both in hand and from the saddle. He also points out the need to start from the jaw and that tension in the jaw will cause tension through-out the body.

        Also mentions TMJ.

        You might try it.

        But be aware he is more from the Port./French school and would never advocate the kind of "contact" you usually see in the current competitive dressage ring.

        It could be you simply asking for more contact than your Andie is comfortable with. Horses DO have difference thresholds. Again, tough to say without seeing, but it's a thought.

        Also, someone asked about lunging. What does your horse do when lunged with side reins?
        Another great suggestion. I really am beginning to wonder from what folks are saying if it might be a TMJ or spinal issue. This mare is so darn agreeable in every other way. As a young horse just under saddle she was afraid of everything. If I just told her that it was ok to look and not to not worry about it and keep going forward she did. So I assumed with enough patience and going forward she would just get over this and she has not.

        Thank you so much everyone for taking the time to respond.

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #24
          A couple people have asked about lunging.....she does the same thing on the lunge as she does when I ride her. I am thinking some kind of TMJ or spinal thing at poll or neck that I plan to investigate. I have checked all over her middle and lower back already. Thanks everyone.

          Comment


          • #25
            Up front: have not read posts completely, including OP's original.

            Just a thought: I did have one horse who did something similar. X-ray of his mouth showed teeth that never broke through the gum. Apparently, contact with the bit on the gum caused pain at the location of those teeth. Once the teeth were extracted, the problem went away.

            Comment


            • #26
              Originally posted by Baroquecoco View Post
              This sounds pretty sensible. I like the idea of "keeping" your pinkies. I have a grab strap on the saddle so I can set my hands by looping my pinkies on the grab strap.

              Would you inch up a little each time you ride....meaning inch up to one place and stay there. Or inch up little by little each time you ride until she objects?

              We have done a lot of long and low work on the buckle this summer and she will carry herself quite nicely, lifting her back, at the trot.
              Thanks, I love the strap idea too! The inching is like walking her into a real collection, pushing her while your hands inch up the reins, like left hand-inch, right hand-inch , collecting as much as you can get, then with each push, let the reins slowly slip out where her nose follows the bit down with contact. I usually start collecting as I head into the short side of the ring, and once I'm on the long side, I start to lengthen the reins. I usually do this about 3-4 times.

              It's just like long and low, but sortof like an accordian, so you get a real good long and low with the horse still in contact with the bit.

              Comment


              • #27
                Originally posted by Kyzteke View Post
                It could be you simply asking for more contact than your Andie is comfortable with. Horses DO have difference thresholds. Again, tough to say without seeing, but it's a thought.
                If your horse is moving and carrying herself correctly, and there are no mouth issues (the one about unemerged teeth is worth considering), then I'd think about this comment. I have one who has taught me a tremendous amount about what contact is and how light it can be. It's the qualities of contact that are important, not what it feels like in your hands.
                "One person's cowboy is another person's blooming idiot" -- katarine

                Spay and neuter. Please.

                Comment


                • #28
                  Originally posted by meupatdoes View Post
                  Have you had a professional get on her?

                  Sometimes clever horses train their owners to back off the contact by getting fussy the second the contact even comes close.
                  MEUP, really you need to be careful dispensing this kind of info.... next thing you know there will be 3-4 seconds of horrid looking riding where the horse protests - and you know as well as i do that that is the worst thing that can ever happen and must be avoided at all costs!!! LOL!!!!

                  Comment


                  • #29
                    on a more serious note, while we cant tell much without a video etc, i will say that some horses are VERY particular about their mouths and wont tolerate a heavy contact.

                    If this were my horse i would a) get teeth/jaw checked... then i would get teh best trainer i could find and have them work the horse for a while and see what is what.

                    most ammies (including me) have a tendency to be too nice and too giving in the wrong way when riding. many horses will put up wiht this bumbling, but some will not.

                    the problem is that once a horse learns to avoid contact it can be ugly trying to get them honest into the bit. and you will have to go thru some ugly looking rides where horse says "i have never had to do this before and i am NOT starting now!!!" rider/trainer needs to be good enough to work thu this in a humane and correct manner.

                    Comment


                    • #30
                      Ruling out physical issues....Have you tried a drop noseband instead of a cavesson/flash? One of my horses is much happier and developed better connection with the bit when I switched to a drop. Lunging with sidereins is also good, as is being more dilligent about the quality of throughness of connection, and your own equitation.

                      Contact should not be considered as pressure (to be "released") but as a consistent communication.Don't keep giving away the contact as a "reward". Try not to fall into the trap of bending the neck instead of achieving a correct flexion, and don't stress if at first the horse feels as though she is longitudinally overbent, as long as her topline is not contracted and her gullet is open. (When dealing with contact problems, it is important not to throw the baby out with the bathwater in search of a correct "frame").

                      Remember that if you change the parameters of what your horse considered to be acceptable, it will be very hard for the horse, physically and psychologically - as connection is closely related to submission and trust. You will need to go back to short periods of work, simple lines and basic transitions - always insisting on a good connection, and making it a nice place for the horse to be.

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #31
                        I do so appreciate every one's insights. While I can always improve every aspect of my riding I am NOT heavy handed and I do not hand ride. I also must concede that my seat and legs are MUCH better than my hands because I have had the good fortune to have lot of lessons on the lunge line with a really good instructor.

                        Isn't incremental improvement what what dressage is all about? I am absolutely willing to consider this a training issue once I rule out the possibility of a physical issue.

                        I first need to investigate the possibilities of a physical issue or issues. My mare has some unusual physical things that I already do know about and had not considered before so many thoughtful replies were posted here. She has a tooth sitting right below her right ear and embedded in her skull. I have pictures. This in itself is not remarkable with Andalusians. I am not sure that does not mean that she has other tooth issues that have not been identified. For instance I don't think her teeth have every been evaluated to make sure she has the same number on the left as as on the right. At least I have never asked the question of where should the tooth that is sitting in her skull be if it were sitting in her mouth? So maybe there is a reason that she wears her teeth unevenly and gets a heck of a wave mouth. I need to rule out the possibility that she might have TMJ, could have something going on in her poll, neck etc. I want to be as sure as I can.

                        This mare is such a good girl, tries her heart out and wants to please. Before this summer she had never been ridden outside of arena. In just a few short months she has tackled water, wind, cars, a bear sighting, a train, other horses misbehaving in a tight spot, sinking in mud, a herd of deer running, etc. The first time she had to walk through a creek she was absolutely terrified but did it when I asked her to. This is not a horse that argues. This horse is willing. This is also a horse that the most discipline that is ever needed is to tell her "No" or "Stand" in a raised voice. From the day she was born she has wanted to please. From the day she was born she would stop or plant her feet if she was worried, angry or scared. Flinging her head is not her natural way of expressing anything.

                        I am in the habit of checking out my horses backs with a hoof pick before I tack them up. I run it down the length of the back from withers to tail with a bit of pressure, also rub it on their bellies and make sure they can lift their backs to identify any issues. I do this with her every time I ride. But I have never checked from her poll to her withers.

                        Yesterday, I rubbed my hands all over my mare from her poll to her withers, applied a some pressure as I did with a bit of a shaking movement. She flung her head violently in the air when I hit two distinct spots. I tried it again this morning and she did the same thing in exactly the same places. Later today I have a friend coming by to try the same thing and see what happens. I want to make sure that I am not doing something that causes a reaction in those spots since I have a titanium rod in the wrist of my right hand and I probably am applying unequal pressure from one spot to another.

                        So first off I am trying to locate someone in my area who might be able to help figure out what might be going on with her. My regular vet says she is not an expert in TMJ or muscle/skeletal issues and has only seen TMJ in vet school. She suggests finding someone who is and getting an MRI done.

                        Thank you everyone for trying to help.
                        Last edited by Baroquecoco; Aug. 10, 2010, 12:23 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #32
                          My guy has a short mouth....does yours?

                          He's very fussy in the mouth...I don't know if that is from the bit sitting a little funny due to the short lips, or due to a funky tooth and the fact that he is different on both sides of his mouth....or what.

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #33
                            I don't know if she is short mouthed. But she is small mouthed which I had not considered. I dug out the original KK loose ring she was started in and it is smaller than a 5". I put it in her mouth this morning (did not ride in it) just to see and it fit as it should. I have been using Myler 5" since and thought they looked big. But Mylers always seem big to me. So that is one thing I might also need to consider.

                            I did not have a reason for switching from the original KK. From the best I can remember she was off for a couple of months over the winter. Tack was cleaned for all horses and the bit went missing. I assumed it was a 5" and grabbed another 5" bit with a similar mouthpiece and put it on her bridle.

                            Comment


                            • #34
                              For my guy the TMJ issues were a side effect of the PSSM
                              he got massage therapy to his face (which i learned how to do and did for 5 minutes before bridling) and the chiro attended to his atlas.
                              When i put him back into work, I used bach flower sleep remedy spray to chill him out and keep him level headed. he had a tendency to panic if I asked him to flex his poll, do the bach flower helped him deal with his fear and work past it.
                              If you can ride with 2 reins (snaffle and curb) you can learn to ride with a gogue fwiw.
                              www.destinationconsensusequus.com
                              chaque pas est fait ensemble

                              Comment


                              • #35
                                I would ride her without bit altogether for a few months (while you are goofing off on the trails) and start her from scratch. Back to the basics ! Make sure she stays rythmic and relaxed and has fun being ridden.

                                Comment


                                • #36
                                  This might indicate a problem in her neck i had a friend with a horse that was fine until sh asked for any contact but reacted violently when put on th e bit she had the equivalent of kissing spines in his neck.

                                  Yesterday, I rubbed my hands all over my mare from her poll to her withers, applied a some pressure as I did with a bit of a shaking movement. She flung her head violently in the air when I hit two distinct spots. I tried it again this morning and she did the same thing in exactly the same places. Later today I have a friend coming by to try the same thing and see what happens. I want to make sure that I am not doing something that causes a reaction in those spots since I have a titanium rod in the wrist of my right hand and I probably am applying unequal pressure from one spot to another.

                                  So first off I am trying to locate someone in my area who might be able to help figure out what might be going on with her. My regular vet says she is not an expert in TMJ or muscle/skeletal issues and has only seen TMJ in vet school. She suggests finding someone who is and getting an MRI done.

                                  Thank you everyone for trying to help.
                                  Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                                  EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.

                                  Comment


                                  • #37
                                    read this link its relevant
                                    http://www.chronicleforums.com/Forum...d.php?t=223453

                                    Comment


                                    • #38
                                      One more thought: it may not be the bit at all. It may be that your bridle does not fit this horse properly. How tight is the browband? Also, there are pressure points in the hollow area that is behind each ear of the horse. Gently press on each hollow area to see if one or the other is sore.

                                      Comment


                                      • #39
                                        Originally posted by Baroquecoco View Post
                                        I do so appreciate every one's insights. While I can always improve every aspect of my riding I am NOT heavy handed and I do not hand ride. I also must concede that my seat and legs are MUCH better than my hands because I have had the good fortune to have lot of lessons on the lunge line with a really good instructor.

                                        Isn't incremental improvement what what dressage is all about? I am absolutely willing to consider this a training issue once I rule out the possibility of a physical issue.

                                        I first need to investigate the possibilities of a physical issue or issues. My mare has some unusual physical things that I already do know about and had not considered before so many thoughtful replies were posted here. She has a tooth sitting right below her right ear and embedded in her skull. I have pictures. This in itself is not remarkable with Andalusians. I am not sure that does not mean that she has other tooth issues that have not been identified. For instance I don't think her teeth have every been evaluated to make sure she has the same number on the left as as on the right. At least I have never asked the question of where should the tooth that is sitting in her skull be if it were sitting in her mouth? So maybe there is a reason that she wears her teeth unevenly and gets a heck of a wave mouth. I need to rule out the possibility that she might have TMJ, could have something going on in her poll, neck etc. I want to be as sure as I can.

                                        This mare is such a good girl, tries her heart out and wants to please. Before this summer she had never been ridden outside of arena. In just a few short months she has tackled water, wind, cars, a bear sighting, a train, other horses misbehaving in a tight spot, sinking in mud, a herd of deer running, etc. The first time she had to walk through a creek she was absolutely terrified but did it when I asked her to. This is not a horse that argues. This horse is willing. This is also a horse that the most discipline that is ever needed is to tell her "No" or "Stand" in a raised voice. From the day she was born she has wanted to please. From the day she was born she would stop or plant her feet if she was worried, angry or scared. Flinging her head is not her natural way of expressing anything.

                                        I am in the habit of checking out my horses backs with a hoof pick before I tack them up. I run it down the length of the back from withers to tail with a bit of pressure, also rub it on their bellies and make sure they can lift their backs to identify any issues. I do this with her every time I ride. But I have never checked from her poll to her withers.

                                        Yesterday, I rubbed my hands all over my mare from her poll to her withers, applied a some pressure as I did with a bit of a shaking movement. She flung her head violently in the air when I hit two distinct spots. I tried it again this morning and she did the same thing in exactly the same places. Later today I have a friend coming by to try the same thing and see what happens. I want to make sure that I am not doing something that causes a reaction in those spots since I have a titanium rod in the wrist of my right hand and I probably am applying unequal pressure from one spot to another.

                                        So first off I am trying to locate someone in my area who might be able to help figure out what might be going on with her. My regular vet says she is not an expert in TMJ or muscle/skeletal issues and has only seen TMJ in vet school. She suggests finding someone who is and getting an MRI done.

                                        Thank you everyone for trying to help.
                                        Although I think you are (in all likelihood) dealing with a physical issue here, "light" hands can be a problem too with some horses. The fact that (sometimes) "light" hands do not give steady, consistant contact and this can be more worrying to the horse than so-called "heavy" contact. Just an FYI.

                                        But from everything you described, my $$ is on a physical issue. For diagnostics, I would haul the mare to a vet hospital or reputable clinic and ask for x-rays of her jaw/teeth, an exam to rule out TMJ, and an exam of her spine from poll to withers. This sort of stuff is best left in the hands of the academia-type vets, rather than your local guy (or gal) or a chiropractor, etc. While chiros CAN be great, I would not depend on them for diagnostics. They don't do xrays, MRI's etc. so you could end going down the wrong road and spending alot of $$ needlessly.

                                        Expect to spend $1000+, but then you will KNOW and can proceed from there.

                                        Good luck -- let us know how it goes.

                                        Comment


                                        • #40
                                          I have a TB mare with almost similar issues. Except for contact she's marvelous, willing, cooperative, joy to be around. I did spend the $$ to have her evaluated. I wished I could say it only took one vet, but it actually took 3 plus a chiro and massage therapist. Her body was definitely out of alignment, including her neck, poll, and jaw. All of this has made an amazing difference on her ability to accept contact and bend. Trust your instincts. And realize it won't be a one time fix.
                                          Susan B.
                                          http://canterberrymeadows.com/

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