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Leaning on the bit

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  • #21
    Don't go away, rtph. Some of us welcome input from other disciplines! Several of us made replies without all the facts!

    The use of a standing martingale explains things even more. Poor mare! She's wearing a device that ties her head down, ridden in a harsh bit. Frankly, I'm surprised her evasion isn't to curl up behind the bit!

    I'll bet she has a well-developed underneck and very little muscle on the top of her neck. Also bet her back is undermuscled, too. Am I right?
    Last edited by ThreeFigs; Dec. 26, 2012, 02:43 PM. Reason: additional comments.

    Comment


    • #22
      Originally posted by cu.at.x View Post
      1. I was taught to push with the leg also in this situation, but that isn't working and I'm afraid the mare might actually be uncomfortable which is why I posted this thread.

      2. Also, I think you might be misunderstanding me. I don't expect/want her to stop seeking the hand. On the contrary, when I try to get her to seek the rein downward, she does not. It's like she would rather hold her neck in a certain position. So, not being able to convince her to stretch her neck down (during warm-up), I just maintain the appropriate level of contact where she wants to be. I never pull my hand back. I try to still my seat first, and when she doesn't quite respond to that, I close my outside hand and she's good about that right away.

      3. "Dropping" is a good idea, but again I'm afraid this may be a physical problem (i.e. pain.) If she were mine, I would get a good chiro/vet workup. Is it possible that she can jump 3 ft fences and yet have some kind of issue going on? One thing I've noticed that may or may not be related is that she never wants to hold up her left hind foot for me to pick out. She lifts it up, but wants to drop it down again right away. The other feet are no problem. Yet I've never noticed any offness under saddle..

      4. You gave lots of good ideas there. Unfortunately, shoulder-in is the only one I could try. I have not asked the owner about doing in-hand work or lunging. I am not even sure how to approach this to her. I don't want to come across sounding like I think I know something she doesn't. Not only is she the horse's owner, she's also a trainer. Nor do I want to make it sound like I think the horse is not being cared for. She IS very well taken care of--I just think that because the trainer/barn is hunter/jumper rather than dressage, the focus is on jumping rather than flatwork. And like I said it's not like the horse is lame, so it wouldn't necessarily be a glaring concern for the owner. I'm not sure where to go from here, since she isn't my horse. It doesn't seem like she is in distress--no ear pinning or tail swishing when I ride--just unable to work the way I am trying to. I guess I can continue to exercise her but not ask her to use herself like I have been.
      I want to address one thing first before I get started with the rest of your response. A horse that is leaning on a bit designed to inflict pain (twisted snaffle) has chosen the pain in their mouth over the pain in their hind end. Either she REALLY doesn't understand what's expected of her, or she's got something really painful happening in her hind end. Think about putting the twisted snaffle in your shoe and then running on it. that's similar to the amount of pressure she can exert onto the bit. That has to hurt!
      1. The problem with pushing a horse more into the bridle that's already on the forehand is you get more of the same. Think of what would happen if you were running down a hill and someone pushed you to run faster? Chances are you wouldn't instinctively rock back and take bigger steps, youd take a gazillion tiny choppy steps. Horses are no different as the physics of the situation is the same.

      2. I think I understood you correctly, but perhaps my response was unclear. Upon my first reading of your inquiry it sounded like you may have thought the lack of reaching over the back could be a byproduct of incorrect transitions. On second reading I realized it was multiple issues A. leaning into the hand B. lack of longitudinal reach/suppleness. You have to go after the balance issue before she can relax and supple her back. Think again of the person running down a hill. Ability to maintain rhythm is rooted in body control and balance.

      3. This could very well be a physical issue that only presents in this manner. If that were the case she would probably be reluctant to go deep to a fence, and would be sloppy in roll backs. If you are not experiencing these, then you can use her balance brain connection to jumping to help her with transitions. Even just doing some low fence (I'm talking teeny) equitation type courses could help her. Even something like the wheel of death, or cavaletti on a curve could help her sort things out.

      4. I don't know the full story of what's going on, but it sounds like taking a step back in a few ways could help solve quite a bit.
      Why are you riding this horse? Have you been commissioned to train her to dressage? just hacking her? leasing her?
      The answer will help guide you to how to best socially solve your dilemma.
      www.destinationconsensusequus.com
      chaque pas est fait ensemble

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #23
        Originally posted by NOMIOMI1 View Post
        Ah yes a schoolie will many times root because of hands that are learning

        Please save her from the twisted and give her mouth a break :/
        I'm sorry, I don't think my hands are bad at all. I doubt my trainer would be letting me ride on my own if I had rough hands or needed them for balance.

        My only mistake is that I did not know about twisted snaffles, having never used one. My trainer never told me not to use contact, in fact in one lesson she told us to have the feeling that we were "holding the bit" for our horses and even undid the cheek pieces for a bit for emphasis.
        I saw the angel in the marble and I set him free. - Michaelangelo

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #24
          Originally posted by ThreeFigs View Post
          Whoops! I see a bunch more info posted while i was composing my reply!

          OK, she's 20, she's been a H/J all her life -- I think at this point she is what she is. As long as she's obedient, safe and happy in her work, there's probably little you can do. Likely she's got some arthritic changes (maybe very small ones) somewhere.

          If you are exercising the mare on the flat in between her jumping lessons, could you ask the owner if she has a plain snaffle that fits the mare? She might be more willing to stretch down into a smooth bit. You may sacrifice some "brakes" at first, so be ready to stop her in a corner. I think she'd soon adjust to the new bit and she may be more content in her flat work.

          She may still need the twisted for jumping. Agree with the other posters, though, it's not the sort of bit you ask a horse to maintain steady contact with, or seek to stretch into.
          Yeah, I could do that. I feel bad for not knowing about the twisted wire. I just assumed she might get a little strong jumping-hence the more severe bit. I had no idea it was prohibitive for contact. The price of ignorance, I guess.
          I saw the angel in the marble and I set him free. - Michaelangelo

          Comment


          • #25
            Originally posted by cu.at.x View Post
            I'm sorry, I don't think my hands are bad at all. I doubt my trainer would be letting me ride on my own if I had rough hands or needed them for balance.

            My only mistake is that I did not know about twisted snaffles, having never used one. My trainer never told me not to use contact, in fact in one lesson she told us to have the feeling that we were "holding the bit" for our horses and even undid the cheek pieces for a bit for emphasis.
            This whole thread is becoming a twist and turn over this twisted LOL

            I didnt mean your hands were learning. She is a schoolie you said? I was saying because a lot of people ride a school horse they learn to root because of learning hands

            Happy holidays !
            ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~
            http://www.off-breed-dressage.blogspot.com/

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #26
              Originally posted by ThreeFigs View Post
              Don't go away, rtph. Some of us welcome input from other disciplines! Several of us made replies without all the facts!

              The use of a standing martingale explains things even more. Poor mare! She's wearing a device that ties her head down, ridden in a harsh bit. Frankly, I'm surprised her evasion isn't to curl up behind the bit!

              I'll bet she has a well-developed underneck and very little muscle on the top of her neck. Also bet her back is undermuscled, too. Am I right?
              In my defense, I did not choose the bit nor the martingale. Nor was I about to question the owner/trainer on her choices. She never advised me not to use contact. I knew it was more severe than a smooth bit, but I assumed that would come in to play with someone PULLING on it, not gentle contact. As I said previously, one lesson was focuses almost entirely on CONTACT. Excuse me for my ignorance about specialized bits and training devices. I never rode with anything other than a smooth snaffle, nor did I ever use any martingale that I recall. Maybe I should have done research earlier in the relationship.
              I saw the angel in the marble and I set him free. - Michaelangelo

              Comment


              • #27
                A schoolie will be defensive with ANY rider if she's been used as a "motorboat" for green riders to "waterski" against. It has nothing to do with YOUR hands, but with how she's learned to cope with her job.

                Trainer probably has plenty of faith in your ability to ride. However, you're dealing with a horse who's been ridden a certain way for many years, many of them probably in a rough bit.

                Next question: what are your goals with this mare? What are your trainer's goals with the two of you?

                Lots of simultaneous postings going on here! C.U., I understand YOU did not choose the tack for this mare -- someone else did. I also understand you did not know how severe a twisted wire snaffle can be. A soft, following contact on such a bit is much more comfortable for the horse than either intermittent pulling or out-and-out hauling against it. I'm not accusing you of either!

                You are learning something about tack that you did not know before. It's all good and I'm sure the mare appreciates the fact that you are a sympathetic rider trying to to the right thing!

                Comment


                • #28
                  Originally posted by cu.at.x View Post
                  I'm sorry, I don't think my hands are bad at all. I doubt my trainer would be letting me ride on my own if I had rough hands or needed them for balance.

                  .
                  I think NOM was referring to the lesson students creating the problem, not you.
                  www.destinationconsensusequus.com
                  chaque pas est fait ensemble

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #29
                    Okay, I think I'm getting a little flustered because I'm upset that I may have inadvertently caused the horse discomfort because of my ignorance regarding the twisted snaffle. I assumed contact was OK in any snaffle--apparently dead wrong. The last thing I would ever want to do is hurt ANY horse. Please excuse my tone in my previous posts. You guys are just trying to help.
                    I saw the angel in the marble and I set him free. - Michaelangelo

                    Comment


                    • #30
                      Well lucky for her you care enough to find out! We ALL learn along the way and hopefully save a bunch of schoolies while we are at it! lol

                      You should have seen the bits this last guy Im riding started in and I didnt have a head stall to fit him so he had to stay in them for a week or two! I rode gentle contact but I still felt bad
                      ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~
                      http://www.off-breed-dressage.blogspot.com/

                      Comment


                      • #31
                        You're fine, C.U.! Your concern for the mare shines through your posts!

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #32
                          Originally posted by Petstorejunkie View Post
                          I want to address one thing first before I get started with the rest of your response. A horse that is leaning on a bit designed to inflict pain (twisted snaffle) has chosen the pain in their mouth over the pain in their hind end. Either she REALLY doesn't understand what's expected of her, or she's got something really painful happening in her hind end. Think about putting the twisted snaffle in your shoe and then running on it. that's similar to the amount of pressure she can exert onto the bit. That has to hurt!
                          1. The problem with pushing a horse more into the bridle that's already on the forehand is you get more of the same. Think of what would happen if you were running down a hill and someone pushed you to run faster? Chances are you wouldn't instinctively rock back and take bigger steps, youd take a gazillion tiny choppy steps. Horses are no different as the physics of the situation is the same.

                          2. I think I understood you correctly, but perhaps my response was unclear. Upon my first reading of your inquiry it sounded like you may have thought the lack of reaching over the back could be a byproduct of incorrect transitions. On second reading I realized it was multiple issues A. leaning into the hand B. lack of longitudinal reach/suppleness. You have to go after the balance issue before she can relax and supple her back. Think again of the person running down a hill. Ability to maintain rhythm is rooted in body control and balance.

                          3. This could very well be a physical issue that only presents in this manner. If that were the case she would probably be reluctant to go deep to a fence, and would be sloppy in roll backs. If you are not experiencing these, then you can use her balance brain connection to jumping to help her with transitions. Even just doing some low fence (I'm talking teeny) equitation type courses could help her. Even something like the wheel of death, or cavaletti on a curve could help her sort things out.

                          4. I don't know the full story of what's going on, but it sounds like taking a step back in a few ways could help solve quite a bit.
                          Why are you riding this horse? Have you been commissioned to train her to dressage? just hacking her? leasing her?
                          The answer will help guide you to how to best socially solve your dilemma.
                          I don't jump, so I can't answer your question about how she handles jumping. I do still believe she may very likely have a physical issue/s that she is masking somehow. In answer to your other questions, I am riding her because the opportunity was offered to me. Trainer is a very nice person and knew my parents from their business. I told her in the beginning that my interest is in dressage, not H/J, but our main goal at the time was to get my confidence back after being out of the saddle for 2+ years. I'm making strides (no pun intended toward that goal, but I have to admit I feel out of place at the barn. I tried to get interested in jumping and it is OK, but my real passion is dressage. I say that not only because of being a timid rider but because I really AM obsessed and in love with the art of dressage. Hence why I tried to apply some of its basic, what I thought, innocuous principles to my riding. She never asked me to train the horse, nor have I ever claimed to be a trainer. However I think all riding is training. In my lessons, we've talked extensively about riding inside leg to outside rein and the importance of contact, so I knew my trainer was on board with the way I ride. I think even though I appreciate my trainer's kindness in allowing me to hack her horse but maybe the best thing to do is to find a dressage barn so I can really enhance my education. I have been CRAVING lunge lessons to help my seat, and if you knew how much I fear the lunge you would understand how serious I am about my riding.
                          I saw the angel in the marble and I set him free. - Michaelangelo

                          Comment


                          • #33
                            OK, good for you! It's an opportunity for you to ride and it sounds like the trainer is not pressuring you to jump if you don't feel like it. As an aside, I'll say that if you can jump a little, it will help your confidence and boldness as a rider. Even though there's no jumping in dressage (there used to be, back in the day...) it's a good skill to have. Jumping or cavalletti grids are used all the time to help develop dressage horses. Try to do enough of it that you'd be comfortable setting and riding grids for dressage horse gymnastics. Ask your trainer friend about this. She may be happy to help.

                            Would your current trainer friend give you lunge lessons? My very first teacher lunged me. He was an all-rounder, and although my passion was dressage, he believed every rider should be able to jump, ride cross-country AND do dressage training.

                            If that's not possible, look around for a dressage teacher, but don't burn any bridges. You have a chance to learn a lot in your current situation until you find the perfect barn.

                            Comment


                            • #34
                              Originally posted by cu.at.x View Post
                              Do you guys have any suggestions for working with a horse who leans on the bit, especially during downward transitions? I am starting to ask her to use herself more and that is what I'm getting. Now I'm starting to wonder if she doesn't respond to my trying to get her to stretch f/d/o, not necessarily because she doesn't know how, but perhaps her back is stiff and she simply can't. She will bend laterally very well, but when it comes to getting her to stretch over her back, and engage her hq...it's nearly impossible. I hesitate to even ask her to use herself much anymore because I don't want to hurt her. She's such a sweet, willing mare and I know she wouldn't just "evade" for the sake of it. Any suggestions would be appreciated. FYI: I do not own this horse.
                              Does she longe well? Maybe you can see how she moves without a rider in order to figure out what she's comfortable doing on a regular basis. Then maybe you can longe her with a rider on to determine if there's a soreness or stiffness, etc, associated with weight on her back. Just a thought. I might go with a thinner bean-center type of snaffle than a twisted snaffle. That can help prevent leaning, along with half-halts, etc. etc.
                              Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation

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