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About ShamlessDQ

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    Northern Virginia
  1. Beyond Girthy

    Well, there was no way we (and I wasn't working this alone) were giving up on her when this was/is almost her only fault - her other flaw is that we don't think her previous owner ever taught her to stand to be mounted, but we're close to having her good on that too. Now that she's back in shape, she's enjoying work again - and I mean, she perks up when she sees her tack, puts her head in the bridle. She listens well to her rider. Her first canter under saddle was hooves flailing in all directions, but now she's remembering how to do it it's slowly turning into something beautiful...she has a nice canter. She's affectionate without invading your personal space, whickers to everyone...she's just gorgeous. Which is how I figured it was something physical going on. She doesn't have any temperament flaws - she can be a little pushy/dominant, but settles down pretty quickly if you make it clear you aren't taking any crap. Nice wrapper, too. Now if we could just...we've decided we're hiding her companion behind the barn. He shed out...and right now the old guy has patches of winter coat, patches of summer coat and patches of no coat! He's a disgrace .
  2. Beyond Girthy

    So, update: Crossing my fingers, the mare appears to be cured! I believe Dancin's theory was correct and there was some kind of conformational issue with nerve placement. We switched her to a girth that's about half the width of the previous one and the problems went away rapidly after that. So, note: No wide girths on this horse. Most horses prefer a slightly wider girth, but clearly she's got something physical going on that makes them uncomfortable for her.
  3. Beyond Girthy

    I don't think this is normal arena sourness. She did it the first time she set foot in that arena ;). And no, she doesn't get to dictate terms, don't worry. She does what she's told. She just grumps about it.
  4. Beyond Girthy

    In this specific instance, the saddle was definitely coming into contact with her spine. Even if it wasn't the cause of the problem, it needed to be fixed. And yeah, I've dealt with the spooking to get out of work, taking off to get out of work, kicking out and half-bucking (we fixed that one, although we discovered what she was actually saying was "I hate indoor arenas" - she pins her ears and grumps in the indoor and acts like a sane, happy horse outside ;)).
  5. Beyond Girthy

    Well, also, all of your horses are the same breed and probably not that far from each other in size. And you can only ride one of them at once (Presumably your husband has his own saddle). All of the horses in this barn have their own tack (and they range from a 9 hand pony up to a couple of 16 hand plus sport horses, rather than being a bunch of Appys). This mare will have her own once she stops drastically changing shape. But every time a horse acts out, they are trying to tell us something. They're communicating. Sometimes it's something you have to tell the horse to just deal with, like the Paint we have who hates being ridden inside. Sorry, girl, it's raining/snowing/dark outside, you have to deal with it ;). Sometimes it's something you can fix for them, and if it is, you should. I once had a horse start tossing his head violently, and when I looked, I'd failed to notice that some of his forelock was caught under his bridle and wrapped around the base of his ear. Apparently it was really annoying him.
  6. Beyond Girthy

    She was clinically obese and close to morbidly so. She is still overweight. Also, Smillie, English saddles do have to be properly (not necessarily custom) fitted to each horse. They're closer contact with the horse than western saddles and a lot more unforgiving in fit. A well made western saddle will indeed fit a wide variety of horses. English is different. In this case, when we fitted the saddle it was fine, but when I checked after she started showing attitude again, it was coming into contact with her spine at the back. I think we have a horse who is going to tell us unequivocably every time anything, anything is not right and/or not to her liking ;). And no, she's not pregnant.
  7. Beyond Girthy

    She got better. Then she got worse again. Quick inspection: The saddle that fit her the previous week no longer fit her. Time to change it again. So I'm putting that down to her telling us "Hey, this saddle ain't quite comfy right now" rather than attitude. It's not like she can talk. A shorter girth is definitely something we can consider once she's not needing her saddle changing every 3-4 weeks.
  8. Is This Guy Sick In The Head?

    The US is one of the few countries that expects expats to pay US income tax as well as the tax paid in the country they're living in. It's ridiculous.
  9. Inside Leg, Outside Rein

    Well, at that level you have to split the competitors somehow, right? ;)
  10. Inside Leg, Outside Rein

    Right. When I said it was easy to teach, I'm talking about the horse learning what it means and moving off of it. Which is as much as you need with an otherwise English-trained horse when your goal is to make it easier to ride with one hand when you need to and retain the ability to control and steer the horse. Obviously it's a lot harder to master - just as it takes a lot of work to get a dressage horse up to the higher levels.
  11. Inside Leg, Outside Rein

    Nope. What I mean by outside rein here is holding the contact on the outside rein and pushing the horse into it. Neck reining is using the rein on the neck only, without the bit involved.
  12. Inside Leg, Outside Rein

    I get the impression that with a really well trained cutting horse the rider has one job: Tell the horse which cow they want ;). One thing I've found is that when I grew up in England, most people taught their horses to neck rein. In America, English riders are soooo above that and it drives me nuts because it's useful. Even if you only do it when you need to on the trail and ride two handed most of the time, it's just a handy thing for a horse to be able to do. It's easy to teach, too. You can direct rein with one hand, but neck reining is so much easier if you're, as Smillie mentioned, leading a pack horse, or opening a gate, or getting something out of your saddlebag, or taking a picture... I just don't get it. It doesn't mean your horse forgets how to direct rein! Sheesh. But it really is what works. The differences in styles for various purposes are things people have worked out work, but each horse is different and you need to adjust things. I once rode a horse that was trained to be ridden by a rider who had very limited use of his legs. That horse went entirely off of rein and voice. It was a very strange experience and I think I confused the poor guy more than once ;).
  13. Do NOT constantly reuse the plastic bottles bottled water comes in. The cheap plastic they use contains a carcinogen which will eventually leach into the water :/. Recycle them instead. Please.
  14. Inside Leg, Outside Rein

    Behind the vertical is a fault in English too. And as Smilie says, it can be a result of constant bit pressure, which brings us right back to the original point and what I was saying about "giving" the inside rein. Holding on constant bit pressure - holding a solid contact with no release - can result in behind the vertical/behind the bit, above the bit, head tossing and leaning on the bit - none of which you want your horse to be doing. My trainer teaches to give the inside rein if the horse starts doing any of these things, and add pressure on the inside leg to reengage the hindquarters. All of these can also be signs that you are using the wrong bit. Correct English contact, correct, is not pulling on the horse's mouth or yanking the head in to the chest, it is merely resisting the forward energy to redirect the horse into a more elevated frame. The elevated frame positions the horse better, biomechanically, to jump a large obstacle, perform the advanced dressage movements, etc. Again, I'm no expert on western, but the western horse's energy is directed lower, and I suspect that positions the horse better biomechanically to turn after a cow, perform advanced reining movements and do the things we expect a western horse to do. Additionally, you don't ride a horse on contact on the trail, because doing so also directs the horse's vision. I actually suspect the dressage vertical headset has something to do with where you want your horse to be focused on the battlefield (remember that dressage comes out of cavalry training) - that is, where he's putting his hooves. YOU are looking at the big picture, and you want your horse to be worrying about not tripping, not stepping on a wounded man, etc. When jumping, the horse's attention is directed to the going and then the contact is released - if you watch a jumping horse, you will see the head go up and down) three or four strides from the jump to permit the horse to assess the height of the jump. They have to move their head quite a bit to do that because of how their vision works. On the trail, you ride on the buckle unless you're asking the horse to do something - for example if they're getting spooky/anxious and you need to give them something to think about other than what they're spooking at, even in English tack, because you need your horse to be paying full attention to their surroundings. Which is another reason western people don't ride on contact - your horse needs to be watching the cows, right? ;). Could some western people weigh in from their side of the equation and correct anything I've got wrong?
  15. Four Main Reasons A Horse Does Not Accept A Bit

    Yeah, it is in England too. I just have a personal dislike of putting the same bit on every horse without thought - when growing up in England it was single jointed eggbutt unless the horse didn't like it, and then it was twisted bit or a freaking kimberwicke! VERY few people thought to change to another mild bit (and when they did it was rubber snaffle). If the horse had mouth problems, 90% of them would bit up. Ugh. I'm glad to be out of that environment.