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Runaway Mare, WWYD??

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  • Runaway Mare, WWYD??

    Ok, so I have this mare... well she's not really mine, but I consider he to be. She likes to take cold of the bit, raise her head and just GO. I can get her collected, but she won't stay. She is perfectly fit to be lateral, so I know she's not in any pain. Her mouth has been checked, teeth floated.
    It doesn't matter if I'm running barrels & poles, going over ground poles, doing flat work, arena work or just on the trail. She holds onto that bit with everything she has.
    The old trainer that used to work here liked to teach the horses to get off the bit by, and I quote, "putting a narrow twisted wire o-ring bit in their mouth and tying the reins behind the saddle with their nose to their chest." He would leave them like this ALL DAY LONG!!
    Right now she is ridden in a D-ring snaffle for english, and a colt training snaffle bit for western.
    Any suggestions on a bit change? I have ordered her a low port kimberwick as I had luck with one of those and my old stud I used to have.
    I do work her in side reins and she does great at the walk and trot... when you ask for a canter she grabs the bit and stretches out.
    There is a video link of her posted below.
    **Note: My husband is riding her and he does not ride english...

    [link removed]
    Last edited by Moderator 1; Jan. 22, 2009, 10:14 AM. Reason: no links to horses for sale
    Head em out, Move em up, RAWHIDE!!!

  • #2
    I would put some draw reins on the top ring of whatever bit you have. Attach the reins to the sides at the girth and she will pull against herself instead of you. She will have to flex her neck instead of grabbing and stiffening up. I had a horse that was sold to me as a runaway foxhunter and he did the exact same thing. No bit, no shank could stop him as soon as we left the ring. Draw reins brought him right back to me. As he relaxed, i let him have his head more and more so that he could go on a loose rein. However, I always had them on when we went trailriding just in case.

    Comment


    • #3
      May I ask her age and her breed? My Arab when he was under 6 thought it was just "fun" to take off.
      He wasn't being mean, its just what he was bred to do (racing Arab stock).He grew out of it, but it was a part of his youth. Well, he still loves to take off, but not when I am on board. (Thank heavens).

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        She's a 7 year old foundation bred quarter horse
        Head em out, Move em up, RAWHIDE!!!

        Comment


        • #5
          Not sure if you do this (didn't see it in the video), but doing steady work on circles can help the horse learn to carry itself in a more balanced way. It doesn't look in the video like she's really terrible, just sort of unbalanced and fast.

          I don't mean to put her on a circle and work-work-work her, but rather to make patterns of circles and changes of direction part of each session, first at the walk and trot, and then after a few weeks (or longer) trying adding the canter too. Make the circles big at first, then do a big one, then a smaller one (10-12 yards across or so) then back to the big one. Not something to do endless times, but if you start making it part of her daily exercise it might help her develop more flexibility and balance and she'll be able to and want to keep her head down better.

          Another exercise that might help is when you are walking and trotting around the whole arena, pick up on just one rein at a time, so she gives her head a little (so you can see her eye) to the inside for 15 or 20 steps, then to the outside for 15 or 20 steps, then straight 15 or 20 steps, then repeat. Again will help her be more responsive to the bit and flexible and soft in the neck. Do that at the walk and trot only, maybe when you first start out riding, and then take a break and do it again a couple more times during her session, to remind her about being softer.

          You are right that tying her head down with a sharp bit isn't going to help anything, just make her sore and frustrated and teach her new ways to try to avoid the bit.

          Comment


          • #6
            She looks sore. Feet and back, or both, would be my guess. She does NOT want to use herself, she is inverted throughout the video, and she looks uncomfortable.

            Maybe not the opinion you wanted, but I had a horse that came to me looking like that and he was very footsore and subsequently, backsore.

            Biting her up is going to create all kinds of interesting evasions, so I'd definitely avoid the kimberwicke. In fact I wouldn't be putting anything with a solid mouthpiece in the mouth of a horse that likes to grab the bit and go.
            Find something double jointed... french link or loose ring with a bean.

            I would go entirely back to basics with her. Seriously! Walk, trot, whoa and lots of circles, spirals, figures, etc. No cantering, no jumping, no barrels, no lateral work. A little ground work yes, but ride her, 20-30 minutes 5-6 times a week with a quiet rider and keep it simple and soft.

            Really though I wouldn't be surprised if there is a pain issue somewhere. In which case it needs to be corrected... after such she may still act goofy like this since she will still be anticipating pain.

            So check for pain, then start her over.... it will pay off in the long run.
            We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.

            Comment


            • #7
              Once the mare learns how to properly carry herself, her head will naturally come down. Please do not try to 'fix' the problem with a stronger bit and/or draw reins. If you do a search on the Dressage forum, there are a ton of threads on this very subject.

              Comment


              • #8
                Ditto Flashgordon comments. In the still photos at the end you can see she toes out in the rear. Can't tell if she is unbalanced in the rear hooves (shorter on the inside) or has a hind limb conformation flaw, or a bit of both.

                She appears built downhill a little bit. Still, I'd start with the hooves making sure they are perfectly trimmed and balanced. Have a equine chiropractor adjust her and check the saddle fit. Anything short of a Bates adjustable gullet or Passier wide/extra wide tree isn't going to fit a classic foundation built quarter horse. I noticed she never liked being on the left lead so put that in the roledex of "why".

                Othwerise, wow, what soft ears and nice try the little mare has, especially if something is out of sorts with her.

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  She was just shod about 2 weeks ago. All 4 are level and the shoes are still tight.
                  She has no signs of pain when I run the hoofpick along her back. (I use the hoofpick because I don't have any fingernails, plus weak fingers..)
                  She is cowhocked slightly and yes built downhill. These horses were originally bred for cutting. If you look at the other video I have posted titled "foundation bred quarter horses and paints for sale," you will see this conformation is just about all of them.
                  This behavior only started about a month ago. She used to be "perfect."
                  She used to have a severe issue with bucking, but I quick fixed that with 2 weeks of work with an overcheck. She's only bucked once and that was because I lost my balance, threw her off balance and she got scared. That was about 6 months ago.
                  At liberty, she walk, trots, whoas and backs.
                  On Halloween (last encounter) a gelding bred her. Turns out the gelding had a testicle that never dropped. We don't know if she's bred, but she has been very touchy with her stomach. Not her girth.
                  Off the top of my head, I don't know what the english saddle is. It is one given to me by War Admiral to use. It does fit her very well. The western saddle I use is just a Cirle M (local made) barrel saddle. Full QH bars. Fits her like a glove.
                  Head em out, Move em up, RAWHIDE!!!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by goldseeker View Post
                    This behavior only started about a month ago. She used to be "perfect."
                    This nearly always means the horse is in pain, IME.

                    Get her to the vet and get her checked out for lameness and possibly repro issues.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Agree that she looks sore.

                      Your flash is not adjusted properly in that video. At the start of the video, you can see it is behind the bit, instead of in front of it. That is probably pinching the corners of her mouth when the reins are pulled.

                      When her head goes up, don't pull down with your hands (husband), but raise your hands. Pulling down pulls on the bars of the mouth. If someone weren't bouncing on her back, swinging their lower leg and pulling on the bars of her mouth, she might not be so inverted. It's sweet of your husband to want to ride, but he isn't doing her any favors, in terms of training. The swinging/bouncing is probably encouraging her to bolt.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        well, if this only started a month ago, then I would also guess some type of pain issue. Get the vet to come and do a preg check on her while you do an evaluation...That would make a huge difference.

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          The reason she looks worse going to the left than the right is because she drops her shoulder and my husband was trying to hold her up. She picked up that bad habit by the person that trained her for barrels.
                          She used to do really good at roping, until she bolted riderless. Down the driveway, down the road and up the neighbors driveway straight into a tree. That's why she has a scar on her head. She completely destroyed all the tack too.
                          Head em out, Move em up, RAWHIDE!!!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by goldseeker View Post
                            She was just shod about 2 weeks ago. All 4 are level and the shoes are still tight.
                            Just because they are level doesn't mean her feet are balanced and the trim is good.

                            Originally posted by goldseeker View Post
                            This behavior only started about a month ago. She used to be "perfect."
                            She used to have a severe issue with bucking, but I quick fixed that with 2 weeks of work with an overcheck. She's only bucked once and that was because I lost my balance, threw her off balance and she got scared. That was about 6 months ago.
                            If she used to be "perfect" where does the severe bucking issue fit in. Was she checked for pain before you tried "quick fixing" it with a overcheck?

                            Originally posted by goldseeker View Post
                            At liberty, she walk, trots, whoas and backs.
                            So she'll do it at liberty but not quietly under saddle? That says a lot as well.

                            Look I am not trying to pick a fight or be contrary. I understand too that sometimes there are just training issues that aren't always tied up in a physical cause.... a lot of folks want to scream PAIN for every tiny thing, when sometimes the horse is just a bonehead.

                            In this case though, after watching the video and reading your commentary here, I guarantee she is in pain, somewhere. I really would look closely at her feet.
                            We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Well, I just got done riding her, and even tho she was tacked western, she moved along very quietly and willing. Absolutely no issues today.
                              I checked her back... no flinching. I checked her feet, with a gage and both are level and the same angels. I also checked her with a hoof tester. No pull back, no flinching, no pain.
                              Part of this could also be a disposition issue. While I state she has a good disposition, it wasn't always like that. Her mom has the illest disposition ever and passes that on to all of her offspring. From the moment she has them, she teaches them to stay away from us and if we get too close to get deffensive. They all have the, "i hate you" attitude. They have all tried their best at some point to avoid the whole riding issue. They buck, bolt, rear, bite, strike... etc.
                              She's past most of these points because I baby her, and just spend a lot of time with her out in the pasture letting her realize I'm not going to eat her.
                              About 9 months ago, you couldn't get within 20 feet of her in the pasture. Now, she runs up to me... happy to see me and hoping for a cookie. Plus she loves to be groomed and have her main (literally) pulled. She just closes her eyes and relaxes.
                              Head em out, Move em up, RAWHIDE!!!

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Originally posted by FlashGordon View Post
                                If she used to be "perfect" where does the severe bucking issue fit in. Was she checked for pain before you tried "quick fixing" it with a overcheck?

                                The severe bucking was an issue when the old trainers were here. Before I started working with her. They did everything old west cowboy style... and this mare detested.
                                I knew of her "issue" and I had seen her get pretty rank, so when I first started working with her I automatically put the overcheck on her. Only ever had 1 problem with her bucking since, and it's been 6 months since I took the overcheck off. It was my fault she bucked, not hers.
                                Head em out, Move em up, RAWHIDE!!!

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Any chance your western saddle fits better than the english one...? That could explain it.
                                  "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."

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Originally posted by jetsmom View Post
                                    Agree that she looks sore.

                                    Your flash is not adjusted properly in that video. At the start of the video, you can see it is behind the bit, instead of in front of it. That is probably pinching the corners of her mouth when the reins are pulled.

                                    In the video, she wasn't wearing a flash at all. Just a caveson.
                                    Head em out, Move em up, RAWHIDE!!!

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by Ibex View Post
                                      Any chance your western saddle fits better than the english one...? That could explain it.

                                      It's possible, but War Admiral said it fit her good. I'm not great at fitting english saddles.
                                      Head em out, Move em up, RAWHIDE!!!

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by goldseeker View Post
                                        On Halloween (last encounter) a gelding bred her. Turns out the gelding had a testicle that never dropped. We don't know if she's bred, but she has been very touchy with her stomach. Not her girth.
                                        I would definately get a vet to look at her and check her out. My mare was mounted by a gelding and within a few weeks was sore on her back and stomach, started bucking in her canter, and was just not herself. A few weeks later, there was discharge. This actually went on for several months because I thought she was just in season. Her cycle had been getting goofy, and the discharge looked normal in color. The vet said she had one of the worst uterine infections he had seen. He also said she was probably infertile from the infection. Once the infection cleared up, she was back to her normal moody mare self. I felt so bad that she suffered for a couple of months, but her infection took at least two months to really show symptoms. Please get a vet to look at your mare.

                                        Comment

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