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Young Horse Behind The Bit


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#1 Zoe84

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 11:06 PM

What do you do in this situation? It's not a huge problem at the moment (just started actually) but would like to nip it in the bud before it gets worse.
Horse is green 3yo WB gelding, under saddle for close to a year but only recently started really doing flat work. It seems to happen towards the end of a ride, like he's getting tired & evading the contact; therefore harder work. Today i pushed him into the contact, at a walk only until he was working correctly then finished on a good note. I was reading in Dressage In Harmony by Walter Zettl: 'the rider should not push the horse so much forward that the horse rushes & the rider is forced to catch the horse on his hands. Then the horse repeats the problem as he slows down, over flexing behind the vertical & dropping the contact. Therefore the rider must carefully drive the horse, paying attention to a steady rhythm, moving his hands slightly forward only as he succeeds in getting the horse to stretch his neck and head forward onto or slightly in front of the vertical. The rider's hands move in the direction of the horse's mouth without giving up the contact.'

Is this best done at the walk a first?
Should I finish the session 10 minutes earlier, before it happens? Seems to be after I give him a walk & stretch out, then pick up the reins again. Like he thinks he's done for the day?!
My instructor is overseas at the moment, any ideas/exercises you have would be great.
Ps. It feels worse than it is, my friend videoed us today and it doesn't look half as bad as what I thought it would.
Just a green horse thing, also?

#2 hero 'n ponie

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Posted 12 August 2012 - 05:34 PM

Edited.

Edited by hero 'n ponie, 13 August 2012 - 07:24 AM.


#3 nick

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Posted 13 August 2012 - 07:08 AM

i'm surprised to hear that a 3 year old warmblood has already been under saddle for a year. here in germany they don't even get on until after the third year, and then they head OUT riding forward up and down hills, around trees, over natural obstacles, through water to help the horse learn to find his balance with someone on board. mental and emotional collection/contact are not even introduced--just activities calculated to build a horse's confidence with stretching, using his back and learning where to put his feet.

warmbloods vary, but i think you can safely say that they do not mature as quickly as say a quarter horse, so you can shatter their confidence pretty easily if you're in a hurry and the horse isn't ready. if i were in your shoes i'd go trail riding with another rider (who has common sense) who has an older, experienced, calm and confident horse to "show him the ropes" (let him do the work!!) for at least six months to build his fitness and confidence BEFORE you ask him to start thinking. (what you're doing now is a little like asking a third grader to solve a geometry equation.)

FYI, if you don't have a decent walk you don't have anything. i think walter mentions that somewhere in his book.
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#4 Zoe84

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Posted 13 August 2012 - 11:00 PM

Nick,
He is late 3yo. He is Australian Warmblood, which is not pure. His dad is WB/Quarter horse/Australian stock horse. Mother TB. I have posted about him on here before, with pics, as I was concerned about starting him too early. The resounding answer was yes, he is fine. Does the training vary in germany also, my friend in Stuttgart was jumping her gelding at 4yo at least 1.2m. Plus regular flatwork lessons 3-4 times per week.
He trail rides every morning. We go over varied terrain, thru puddles, he gets ponied, goes around the trotting track, even started on cows. His flatwork sessions last for 10 minutes, 20 minutes max.
I have not read the entire book, but I'm up to his walk section & he says how it's the most neglected gait & the one that needs the most work. Very interesting book, I like it a lot.

#5 nick

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 05:23 AM

it's odd what people are terming "warmblood" these days. there was a poster who called her 1/4 percheron 3/4 TB cross an "american" warmblood. neither of these breedings qualify in any way as a warmblood in the registries of germany, holland or sweden.

i remember the pictures of this horse now that you helped me out, and i remember thinking he is VERY handsome. physically he looked sturdy enough in those photos, and with that kind of a quarter/tb/austrialian stock influence, it's absolutely possible that he is mentally fairly mature for a 3 year old (late).

i don't remember if walter talks about in his book, but in german the goal for contact is "ahnlehnung", translated literally it means the horse is "leaning" on the bit. in practice it means the horse is "searching" for the bit, wants the contact, and uses it to help himself be more in balance from front to back. it does NOT mean he is pulling your arms out of your sockets, just that he, of his own volition, is searching for the contact with the riders hand. now comes the art of creating "lightness" of contact from the horse's mouth to the rider's hand. i think walter addresses that issue too.

if you look around, most people are trying to FORCE the contact. horses ain't dumb, so they start to make a game out of AVOIDING the contact by either getting very heavy (pushing back by pulling your arms out of your sockets and developing serioiusly overdeveloped thoracic muscles), or just evading which in the long run isn't good for the 7th and 8th vertebrae. neither is roll-kur by the way.

if your horse is behind the bit he is "evading", which means you have to rethink your flatwork strategies and what you are doing with your hands. your overall program sounds WONDERFUL, just what every young horse needs to build confidence and atheleticism (working cows is the BEST), but i would start putting some challenges in your flatwork to make it fun and interesting and give it a purpose. thats why i think playing with cows is a fantastic thing, because the horse gets to have a job that is fun and interesting (he starts to think) and goal-oriented, and skills and confidence start to just happen naturally.

google the terms "stick and ball" (related to polo), "working equitation", and "gymkhana" to get some ideas and help your creativity. forget about "getting it right" for now, and concentrate more on "making it fun" for both of you, and you'll be surprised how quickly things will start to come together naturally. you're building a partnership, and that takes TIME to "get it right".
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#6 Zoe84

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 06:23 AM

Yes aren't people flippant with the term warmblood, I guess with me it's coz I've got "the Arab", and "the thoroughbred", so he is "the warmblood", ha ha. I was super surprised that he could be registered WB, his sire is only half, so he is a quarter, but it's the same with the Arabs, only a small percentage of Arabian blood and they can be registered as such.
Thank you for your advice, luckily it has only happened the once, and it was after I'd ridden for 5 minutes, let him have a stretch/walk, chatted to my friend, then picked the reins up again. Perhaps he thought he was done for the day. Usually I finish on a good note and often unsaddle & unbridle him where we finish & he has a pick in the field. He never gets sour, is always keen for work and seems to be very happy. I love him to bits.
And I will finish the rest of Walter's book!

#7 PMJ

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 02:36 PM

Even late 3, isn't 4, and the horse has it's lifetime to be a dressage horse. Even taking it slow, you've got an entire lifetime if you aren't pushing for the FEI YH.


People who breed are actually pretty serious about the term Warmblood. The only American registries that accept are the American WB Registry or Society, not the European sponsored ones--and one of the two will not accept QH I think--I don't know much about them--they are more "created" and inclusive registries here in the US. Most of the WB registries I've dealt with have affiliation with the Euro sponsors & do not accept QH breeding. The TB and Arabian are strictly scrutinized and rarely brought in to refine the breed with the European registries--not just anything that is offered up. I've seen several presented and turned down at keurings. The examiners are very serious when it comes to the stud books.

Training is going to vary anyplace you are. You need to take care of the horse and how he develops. Dr. Deb Bennett has a wonderful chart on how young horses develop and you should really look at it. I agree (although I have no cows, nor any desire to work with them--just not a cow fan, lol) with nick in that a young horse needs to get out and experience as much outside the ring as possible, especially a horse like yours who has been under saddle that much time at that young an age. Sure, he started young, perhaps younger than most dressage horses who are not high performance. It's now up to you to keep his mind fresh and not worry so much about how the dressage is at this point. There is so much time to be spent doing wonderful things to have fun and develop the mind of a wonderful mind, a wonderful body.

My young mare wasn't even started until she was 5, and even now she goes out of the ring to do trot sets, hill work, and work in fields. She (as well as my older gelding who loves his gallop sets) loves her work. They are not afraid of small jumps, stay fresh and I hope they will stay way. For me, I figure that it's my job to look for all types of ways to keep them fresh and keen in their work. My gelding started as a 4 year old, but he had long periods--up to 2-3 months off in the summer and winter off--and he also did the outside work. So these periods of time off to let the horse mature are also very important.

#8 Zoe84

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Posted 15 August 2012 - 06:07 AM

PMJ here is a link to his sire
http://www.bellaequu...m.au/apache.htm
You be the judge on his "Warmbloodness".
If you read the previous post I trail ride all the time. He rarely does flatwork. I ride around the trotting track, lead him in hand, ride him bareback everywhere. I don't think I'm rushing at all. Yes he was started around 2yo (2 & 3 months to be exact) then had a break, then more work, then a break etc. He hasn't been consistently ridden the entire time. Where I come from, people are competing 2year olds. I don't agree with that at all. But I started my Arab at 3 & he's still going strong 11 years later & I bet for many years more.

#9 3DayEventer

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 01:53 PM

Sounds like you should do some hacking out. Light contact. Evading is such a PIA to fix...I'd much rather have a horse above the bit instead of a horse that goes BTV. Perhaps you should cut your sessions short...from what I can gather from your first post is that the horse starts to evade as he gets tired. I see no harm in walking a 3yr with light sessions of miniscule work. The walk will be your best friend...
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#10 Zoe84

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 09:20 PM

Hi yes if you read my posts I do hack out. We call it trail riding. Like I said I rarely go in the arena. Since I posted this it hasn't happened since so I'm hoping thats the end of it!

#11 LassieLu

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 09:37 AM

Can I hijack for a minute? This reminded me of when I was recovering from an injury and unable to ride. A so-called trainer offered me a deal to ride my mare several times a week. I liked to be there to watch. I found that she was having my mare behind the vertical, and when I mentioned that she was, she said oh that can be fixed later.

I said I didn't want her btv and that seemed to end it. I am just curious, because to me that just seems to be a wrong way of doing it, and I am not a dressage person so to speak.

Is that a legitimate training thing?
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#12 nick

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 10:18 AM

in the dressage world (we MUST win at all costs) professionals will do it on purpose, and it's called rollkur or "hyperflexion". it's been banned by the FEI since 2011 as a training method but enforcement, shall we say, has been non-existent. you could see it all over the olympic equestrian events this summer if you had a pulse and weren't blind.

i had an interesting conversation with a western trainer who was telling me about a horse she was given with instructions to "take the buck out of him". how'd she do it? hyper-flexion, because it's the easiest and fastest way to get a horse to "give up" and submit. in his case it worked, and didn't do anything to dampen his enthusiasm for his work (turned into a real dressage contender and a very nice ride), but in many, many cases it literally "breaks" the horse mentally turning it into a very pliable but spiritless animal--not good. physically it can also cause massive problems down the road in the 7th and 8th vertebrae creating a significant reduction in performance also not good AND counter productive.


in zoe's case, however, the horse is doing it on his own so will not manifest any of the problems inherent in forced hyperflexion, but she still needs to put a stop to it through many of the tips already given here.

good for you for putting a stop to that trainer riding BTV.
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#13 LassieLu

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Posted 24 August 2012 - 06:39 PM

Thanks for the info Nick :)
When you're young and you fall off a horse, you may break something. When you're my age and you fall off, you splatter. - Roy Rogers

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#14 PMJ

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Posted 29 August 2012 - 10:05 AM

The information you give in your secondary post to me is fairly different--I started him and then gave him time to be turned out then hacked him out without much ringwork until recently is significantly more information, but it certainly sounds like you have a handle on things and are a excellent trainer since you've had such success with your other horse. Good luck! :smilie:

I don't make the rules for the registries, so don't get frustrated with me or take it out personally on me. I have nothing against your young horse--in the end a nice horse is just that, a very nice horse.

#15 Zoe84

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Posted 02 September 2012 - 08:40 PM

PMJ no not taking it personally at all! I just thought you might be interested in his breeding, like nick & I were saying about the WB registration, how it differs from each country etc in terms of registration. In Australia I'm not sure if you're familiar with our horses or not, we don't have much in the way of amazing bred horses, as far as warmbloods go, and we are very far behind in everything really. Expect Australian Stock horses! My boy is so lovely I wouldn't care if he was half donkey, I just love him to bits & want to do the best thing by him by trying to ride & train him correctly. My instructor is coming back from overseas in a few weeks I'm hanging out for a lesson like crazy!
Not sure if you were being sarcastic about my other horse or not, do you mean my CB filly? Yes I know I'm not going well with her & it's doing my head in but I'm trying hard to overcome our problems :(

#16 nick

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Posted 03 September 2012 - 04:59 AM

:huggy:

*tibetan monk's* philosophy of horse training (i'm not kidding); "stop yearning for signs of progress".

in other words, take the pressure off both of you, and you might be pleasantly surprised at what happens. i've seen your pictures of that girl--she looks like she has VERY strong opinions and is a horse i personally wouldn't bother "fighting with" with because it's usually a road to nowhere. there are other FAR MORE EFFECTIVE strategies than trying to show her "who's the boss". i hope your trainer has enough savvy to help you execute them.

just a tip through personal experience, this is the kind of horse who wants to know "what's in it for me?"
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#17 *BurgundyBlankets*

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Posted 10 September 2012 - 08:59 PM

Nick, do you have parelli tendencies? ;)

#18 nick

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Posted 11 September 2012 - 07:34 AM

don't know what parelli *tendencies* are, but i got that tibetan monk quote from a book called "Horse Heaven" which was set in the horse racing industry. i've found it has applications everywhere in *my* life.

i do like the classic philosophies, especially when it comes to dressage. guys like xenophon, gerd heuschmann, tom dorrance, rainer klimke, oliver nuna, jean claude-dysli.
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#19 sandra063

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 08:32 AM

haha googled gymkhana!

#20 PMJ

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 08:47 PM

No, none of it is meant sarcastically, and sorry if you took it that way. I was not even aware you had a second horse, and as to that, I've found that my mare is very different to ride than my geldingtoo . I don't know if it is the gender, or if it is them being just individuals. They do have many similarities as they are related, but very different too. I am sorry to hear things are not going well with your girl. I hope they are soon better.

I've found, like nick described, that although I set goals, I try and make them flexible goals. You never know when a horse will get hurt or how long something will take to train. I don't let that keep me from a good balance with training, but I try to keep that balance w/in my goals, within the monthly goals, and in how I plan my week.

That is very neat about your horse's breeding. I know a number of Event riders import sport horses from Australia--do you know if the horses they import are the Australian WB or crosses w/the Australian WB?

#21 Smilie

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 01:01 PM

I am just going to talk about horses in general, concerning getting behind the bit. I am no expert in dressage, and just took some elementary lessons one winter, because that is the trainer they had at the stable that winter where I rode at.
Horses get behind the vertical as a means of self protection and bit evasion, and is common is disciplines where relatively strong and constant rein pressure is used.
If the horse never gets bit relief from the rider, then the only solution for him is to try and get for himself in two ways-pulling, or dropping behind the vertical
Behind the vertical is considered a serious fault in the disciplines I ride in, because once a horse learns to drop as far , so that his nose is at his chest, then there is no where left to go, and might as well throw your reins away., as they have become useless.Sure can't pull any further!
Nick, I am surprised by any western trainer suggesting to use over flexing behind the vertical as a means of stopping a horse from bucking.
The cowhorse trainer that my son rode for, would have booted that trainer out the door!
My son, while going to University, rode colts for a very well known and successful working cowhorse/reining trainer.. My son is a very good rider, having started colts for many years. He rode one young stud that for awhile wanted to buck each morning. The solution was to spur him forward. A horse can;t buck hard if you keep more forward motion, plus spurring lets him know that bucking isn't part of the program
The last thing you want to teach a horse is to drop behind the vertical. In fact, when a horse really goes to pitch and gets his head way down and behind the vertical, the horse has very much control, as your reins have become non functioning
That trainer you mentioned would have a black mark in my books!
At any rate, the solution to fixing a horse that wishes to drop behind the vertical, is to ride him with fairly loose reins and push him foreward with your legs, every time he want to drop and suck back
Behind the vertical often happens when head set is concentrated on too early, versus correct movement from behind. I agree-ride him out and giv ehim some bit release

Edited by Smilie, 21 March 2013 - 01:05 PM.

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#22 nick

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 01:08 PM

if you read her posts he has a really nice young horse training regimen. LOTS of cross training including trail rides and a little cow work, but if i'm not mistaken he's been having some navicular issues lately :( . he's her heart horse.
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#23 Zoe84

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 12:37 AM

:) to you nick. I've done everything right by this horse. I've come to realise that I have a hex on me-don't know why, don't know how it got there or who put it there but I want it gone!! I'm not an evil person & my horses (and dogs for that matter, but that's a different story!) don't deserve this! Combined with the navicular we now have sacro problems & sticky hocks. Gah he is only 4!! By a good stallion throwing excellent progeny.
PMJ I'm not too sure about the import question, a friend of mine who rides for NZ & is based in England would know...although in saying that his best horse (bronze in last olympics) is a full TB. But he's got plenty of WB & WB crosses in his stable. One of his 4yos by Vivant is heading there shortly from here, she is just stunning & out of a solid NZ TB mare. Bloody nice horse!
Nick you'd be interested to know we were going to start team penning (with cows). Talk about cross training, love it!!


#24 nick

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 02:35 AM

team penning with your navicular horse? :o it can get very rough and tumble, and you're hitting the gas and the brakes intermittently fairly frequently. you need a horse that is SOUND.

Edited by nick, 05 April 2013 - 04:50 AM.

nick

#25 Zoe84

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 06:47 PM

Ha ha we WERE going to start team penning :) obviously with all of his physical problems that is now not going to happen. He's on a strict rehab program at the moment. I'll use my trusty Arab :)

#26 nick

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 09:23 AM

oh good. clear communication with your teammates is #1 priority. so is a good plan b,c,d,e,f,g... :lol:
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#27 PMJ

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 10:07 AM

I wish you were closer. My gelding was injured as a younger horse and had some SI issues. I've got a wonderful vet who is tops with his protocols, and did miso therapy on his back as well as injected the SI actually a couple of times--he was pretty bad. Too, thinking about you with the navicular. I had a horse who initially had it dx'ed but had a second opinion that said it was not really navicular but just a change in the palmar angle and just good to know(?). Both vets were lameness vets. While the horse did get Tildren (great drug) after that treatment the horse was fine and worked up the levels. I hope everything goes well. There are more options today for navicular and I hope you can find some relief for you guy.

#28 Zoe84

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 03:34 AM

Thanks PMJ. What is miso therapy? Did your horse come completely right? I had acupuncture done on him last Wednesday. He's going to have 3 treatments & re evaluate with the vet. Vet & acupuncture guy are close so it's good to work together with them.
I'm so torn in my research-work or rest? Lateral exercises or not? Vet says any sacro problems needs rest. So he's out in the big 5 (?) acre paddock with my older Arab. But acupuncture guy suggests a lot of lateral/strenghtening exercises. Possible when he's feeling better, but for now just rest?
Glad you said that about navicular. He was the only horse I was paying top dollar for a 'professional' to trim his feet; all my others I trim myself. Figured I had all my bases covered & was setting myself up for having a successful riding horse by having by best horse trimmed 'correctly'. Well lo & behold; her trimming is the reason he is lame. Vet said we have caught it so so early & most people (especially those that have their young horses shod) wouldn't have noticed the very slight lameness. Vet also said all his angles were wrong. He was also landing toe first quite severely which I had noticed but thought that the professional was doing her job, why should I butt in? Hindsight is a wonderful thing :)
Since the diagnosis I have changed to a very good trimmer and since she's touched his feet he hasn't taken a lame step! I'm overjoyed. (Except, of course, we now have these other issues to deal with.) he's such an awesome horse, I don't want to give up on him but I really can't understand why all this is happening. I've just had to retire my TB gelding at the ripe old age of 7 due to bone spurs in his hocks! Next time I get a new horse, I'm doing NOTHING right by it, that seems to work with other people doesn't it :(
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